I have felt this week the way the sons of Mosiah did: “Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.” It was devastating to me that our investigator, Rosa, decided to cancel her baptism. It’s been a hard week in a lot of ways, and I feel like I’ve had to look to God more than any other time in my life. I’m so grateful for the Atonement, and for it’s infinite and eternal power to cleanse us, heal us, and to allow us to carry on. In the darkest and hardest moments of life, I know that I can turn to my brother and Savior, Jesus Christ, for respite. I’m beyond grateful for his priceless gift, and his eternal love for all God’s children. I only hope and pray that I can do everything on my part to be an instrument in the hand of the Lord in this marvelous work of saving souls. I’ve taken solace in Alma 37:7, which says “And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.” Though sometimes I feel small, the Lord uses small means to confound the wise and bring about the salvation of many souls.
Monday: When we were at Wal-Mart getting groceries, a woman came up to me and began crying asking for help. She had been addicted to drugs, and made a lot of poor decisions in her life. As I began to give her suggestions of places she could go for help, things she could do, she turned them down one by one saying she had given up on God. I shared a scripture with her, D&C 121:7-9, and told her to hang on and have faith, and to do her part. She disagreed and then walked away. She had talked to missionaries for four months, as they were trying to help her overcome her addictions and lifestyle and get a job, but had to stop because she wasn’t willing to do anything to help herself. She had had help from numerous Bishops, from Welfare Square, from homeless shelters and government aid, but the fact of the matter was she was hardened to change and was unwilling to help herself, in which case the whole world wouldn’t be able to give her what she needed. It was an extremely sad moment, to see this woman at the depths of despair asking me of all people for help. As I pondered on that experience, I learned two things:
1.) That I am truly a representative of Jesus Christ, the son of God. I have been called by him to serve His people, and as such am expected to do as He would do. The fact that my nametag carries His sacred name is incredible to me, and the fact that people often come to us looking for guidance and help is so humbling, but also an amazing opportunity. It makes me desire more than anything to live up to my calling and to be ready and able to do as Christ would in every situation, and to bring people unto him through His restored gospel.
2.) That living the principles of the gospel and the things that Christ taught truly is the happiest way to live. It doesn’t mean we will be wealthy as to the things of the world, but we will always have sufficient for our needs and be rich as to the blessings of peace and full happiness that the gospel has to offer. All we have to do is our small part, and then Christ by way of His Atonement does the rest.
Tuesday: We taught Destani’s great Aunt, who is Catholic. At Destani’s baptism we asked if she’d like to learn about our beliefs, and she said she would. We taught her, had her read a part of the Book of Mormon, and she said she believed everything we taught. We asked her to be baptized, and she said she had already been baptized, so taught her about the proper authority and asked her to pray about it and left.
Wednesday: We taught Rosa about the commandments and helped her understand why we have commandments, and how keeping the helps us be happy. She was ready and excited for her baptism on Saturday, and promised to give up coffee. We taught Destani’s great aunt again, and she had read and understood all of 3 Nephi 11. She kept saying Joseph Smith was a disciple of Christ and it seemed like something just wasn’t clicking… Elder Firpo carefully explained that we weren’t Catholic, and she said the whole time she thought we were Padres, or Catholic Fathers. Hehehe, that was interesting… We clarified our purpose and religion, asked her to read and continue to pray and let her know that we were there if she had any questions or if she desired to learn, and that was that. It was a bit of a friendly reminder to Elder Firpo and I to make sure that people really understand who we are, why we’re here to teach them, and the message we have. It also gave us a pretty good laugh!
Thursday: We taught Rosa again, about the Plan of Salvation. She seemed to understand everything and really loves and believes what she’s learned and wanted to change, but expressed her concern about what her friends at work and her boyfriend who’s in Mexico would think. We talked to her about Ether 12:6 and how sometimes we need to take those steps of faith when we feel they are right and good, and God will take care of us. They key thing is the courage and faith to walk through a sometimes dark room to get through to the other side where there is the light of testimony and the blessings of the gospel.
Friday: Rosa had her interview with our Zone Leader, which took an hour and a half. She was ready, willing to make the baptismal covenant and keep the commandments, understood everything, but was just afraid. She expressed desire to move her day back to have more time, which was a huge bummer, seeing as she’s ready and procrastinating the day of her repentance is only going to hurt her at this point. She really needs the blessings of the gospel so badly right now, she’s getting evicted and doesn’t have money for gas or for her phone, and is a single mom of a six year old and two year old.
Saturday/Sunday: Rosa cancelled her baptism, unfortunately, and didn’t show up to church for the first time. Please pray for her as she goes through hard times, she really needs to find a new place to stay and needs to have the courage to press on, despite what others may think. Also, Lupe didn’t show up to church with her two kids either, Natalie and Jalynn, all of which have a baptismal date of the 19th! We saw so clearly this week the way that Satan tries to stop of everytime we are about to do a good thing. The situation with Lupe is that she’s been dating a member of the church for a few months, and the week before their baptism they broke up. He told her that she can’t come to “his church” because he doesn’t want to see her. Not only that, but the temple square missionary, Sister Rosema, who she has had a lot of lessons with and is really close to, is getting transferred “outbound” (to another mission, all temple square sisters go for two or three transfers) two days before Lupe’s baptism. It seems like Satan is doing everything he can to stop her from taking this important step. Thankfully, Lupe is determined and wants to get baptized despite all this, and knows that this choice she and her daughters are making is for themselves, and that the church does not belong to her ex boyfriend in any way whatsoever. Despite that, please pray for her as well as she makes the final preparations for her baptism on Saturday.
Although this week was kind of a crazy one in some ways, I’ve never felt closer to my Savior. I know without a shadow of doubt that He lives and loves me, and that He suffered and died for me personally, so that I could overcome my sins, get through trials, and strengthen my weaknesses. I know that when we do our part and adhere to the principles of the gospel: faith, repentance, baptism, heeding the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, that we will have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and our families throughout the eternities and grow and live in peace and happiness for all time. I can testify with all my heart that He loves us so much that His gospel has been restored in it’s fullness through Joseph Smith, and that we have a prophet today who leads and guides us back to Christ. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the incredible truths it contains, and the additional witness alongside the Bible that it provides of Jesus Christ. I know that it is the word of God, and that we can draw closer to God by reading and abiding by it’s precepts than by any other book. I’ve grown to love it so much more as I’ve carefully studied and read it throughout every day here. I love Elder Holland’s testimony, and feel the same way about the book: “Testimony of the Book of Mormon” I love you all so much! I miss you, but I’m so grateful to be here serving the Lord.
Love, Elder Hoffman
First off, here’s one of my favorite bible videos. Trust in God, put Him first, and all things shall be added unto you. Seek Ye the Kingdom of God