This was quite the whirlwind week as a missionary in Russellville and it ended with a baptism! To begin with, missionaries are always walking a fine line because there are two subjects of discussion you are never supposed to bring up over a meal or in casual conversation: religion and politics. Well, not only do we bring up one of those topics nearly every time we have a meal with someone but we search out people every day so that we can discuss that topic in detail. In walking this fine line, missionaries must know how to be respectfully assertive while trying to help people along in their progression in the gospel and also knowing when it is time to walk away from a situation or individual and stop pushing the message.
Well, we definitely walked that fine line this past week. We have been teaching an individual for nearly 2 months now and we have been walking that line nearly the whole time. She is an amazing person. She knows the Bible inside and out. She is super open, inviting, and very in-tune with the spirit. All of her attributes made her an incredible investigator because we were able to have real doctrinal and spiritually based discussions with her. Well, this past week we had set a tentative baptismal date with her for Saturday. We weren’t too confident that she was going to be baptized that day because she was still struggling with believing that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and at the beginning of the week it seemed like she had reached a limit in terms of discussing these issues with us. She invited us to join her one morning later in the week for breakfast and we seized it as an opportunity to discuss whatever obstacles were keeping her from baptism. To make a long story short and to preserve the sacredness of the moment, she had an extremely strong spiritual experience just after that breakfast as we spoke to her and she agreed to be baptized! We were so overjoyed! Little did we know that this situation was soon going to change.
The next morning we got a series of text messages essentially telling us that she didn’t want to pursue a future in the church and that she wasn’t interested anymore. After calling her and discussing what happened between yesterday and today, we got her to agree to give us one more hour to discuss her concerns. Again, to make this long story short, we went and spoke with her that night and after another extremely spiritual lesson, she was ready to be baptized again. She was then baptized the next day and confirmed the day after that.
First of all, I know that this church is true and that God answers prayers. Secondly, I know that even though we may sometimes step on toes, we as missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ need to be more politely persistent and confidently bold with the message we carry. I believe that more people will practice the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives, than won’t, if individuals close to them begin to practice or continue to practice persistence and boldness in sharing their testimonies of the wonderful message we have. We saw this demonstrated this past week. I am so grateful for all of the lessons that I am learning in the mission field and how I continue to grow each day. I love and miss everybody back home and hope everyone has an amazing week.