I’m sorry I haven’t written a post in a while! Things have been busy up here in Richmond.
Elder Corrigan and I have been praying for an opportunity to help someone take the step of being baptized ever since we became companions 6 weeks ago. Unfortunately, about a week ago, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen during this 6 week period. We are working with a lot of amazing people, but none of them were ready yet. Or so we thought.
One of the most important and frustrating aspects of missionary work is that no matter how much we do as missionaries, people have to make their own decisions, and use their own agency to obtain personal conviction of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to act on that knowledge.
Lehi explains this better than I can. He said:
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”
This week, a man who has been coming to church for a long time, decided to start choosing liberty and eternal life by being baptized. We got word on Friday that things were in order for him to be baptized, and we organized it in two days. Last night he was baptized by his nephew. We all cried. They have waited so long for that day. It was a wonderful service.
As I reflected on the experience, I was filled with gratitude for being able to participate in that event.
Elder Corrigan and I didn’t do anything that extraordinary. We did our jobs as missionaries, but his conversion can’t be explained by our actions. He felt the holy spirit whisper to his soul that he ought to enter into the fold of God, and that alone led him to be baptized. There was no dramatic surge of emotion or brilliant sales pitch that could have produced the feelings we felt last night as he was baptized. It was a missionary dream, but not because we deserved it. It was a gift.
I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through Him we all have all the hope in the world of living forever in a state of happiness, if that is what we want. If you find yourself thinking that you have lost that privilege or that you are just not cut out for such a thing, I would kindly remind you that you are wrong. “The Son of Man hath descended below all things, art thou greater than He?” Who are we to limit the reach of His infinite sacrifice? I would also tell you that I have been there before. If I could send myself a message from that time, I would probably tell myself that help I didn’t deserve was on the way.
I testify that he loves us and wants us to come home, and deep down, that is what we all want too.
I’ll be in Richmond at least another 6 weeks with Elder Corrigan!
Love you all!