I had an incredible week. First of all, a miracle occurred. A girl named “L” started attending church with her friends in Young Women's. She is good friends with a lot of the Young Women in our ward, and she went a couple of times to Mutual with them. She happens to be the daughter of an inactive member in our ward. Her grandmother however, is fully active in another ward in Auburn. She told her friends that she wanted to take the missionary lessons! She said that she has memories of going to Primary when she was little, but she was never baptized. We got in contact with the missionaries from her grandmother's ward. They are going to teach the first lesson at her grandmother's house. I am amazed at what the Lord can do. I know that our God is a God of miracles.
Yesterday, we had our visit with Elder Lawrence of the seventy. It was an amazing experience. I absolutely loved his talk this last conference, "What Lack I Yet?" He came and told us that we NEED to baptize more people as a mission. He said we can do it. Together, with the mission leaders, he set a goal for 40 baptisms throughout the mission this November. He said that in order to do it, we would need greater faith, greater obedience, and greater sacrifice. It's doable, because we already have over 80 people committed to baptism as a mission. Now, we need to focus our efforts on finding more people to teach and commit to baptism. Please pray for our mission's goal. I know that if you do, our collective faith will work wonders. I am thinking about it constantly. Elder Lawrence used his experience in the medical field to give an analogy. He said that investigators committed to baptism are like ICU patients in a hospital. They need the most critical care. He said we need to contact them EVERY day. Our greatest efforts should be directed toward them, because Satan will be working hard at them.
His wife, Sister Lawrence, gave an amazing talk about the election of the House of Israel. She taught us, using the scriptures, how the people of Israel were elected to be the Lord's covenant people in the pre-mortal existence, based upon their faith and obedience. All of us, because we were born in the covenant, qualified to be Israelites by blood. We were chosen by God. She talked about how Israel was scattered among the Gentiles so they could be a light to the Gentiles. If it were not for the scattering of Israel, the world would be more wicked than Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord has revealed the Book of Mormon to be the tool for gathering the lost tribes. We are literally fulfilling prophecy. The Book of Mormon is the greatest missionary tool. These Israelites are lost "among the heathen." They are the elect of God. When we are praying to be led to the "elect," we are praying to find people with Israelite blood. Sister Lawrence explained that gentiles, without any Israelite blood are not likely to accept the fullness of the gospel, even though they too have a fair chance. She said they are usually the ones that slam the door in our face. It's interesting. Even though they are not likely to obtain the fullness of salvation, because they ultimately chose to follow God's plan and receive a physical body, they will at least inherit a place in the terrestrial or telestial kingdom. When you receive your patriarchal blessing, you are told from what tribe you originate. When gentiles do happen to receive the gospel, their blessing states that they are "heirs of the blessings of Abraham," even though they are not Israelites by blood and do not originate from one of the twelve tribes. So they have a chance for the fullness of salvation. Even though we are the elect of god, we can fall from His grace if we break our covenants and forget the commandments. It doesn't guarantee a place in the celestial kingdom. In order to obtain it, we must perform the necessary ordinances of salvation and keep the associated covenants. When we are sealed in the temple, we receive the greatest blessings promised to us through the Abrahamic covenant.
I am so excited to baptize more people. I know that we can do it if we get the ward excited about missionary work. The future of missionary work in this ward rests with the youth. They are strong and valiant. We have so many youth that want to prepare to serve missions. I am really concerned because one young woman has a less active father. “M D” wants to serve a mission, but the only real support she gets is from her mother and younger sisters. She is a sophomore in high school. Her older brother and father aren't active in the church. Their home teacher Brother “L” says they went less active because they admitted that they don't have a real testimony of the restoration. I will be praying really hard to help the “D” family.I love you and can't wait to hear from you next week!