We have had a great week leading up to our Easter weekend. We were able to meet with nearly all of our investigators at least once, which was great. Normally someone will be out of town, or just too busy to meet up with us, but things came together for us.
Helen has been doing pretty well this week. We had a lesson with her and talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She has a hard time understanding the difference between our church and other Christian denominations, so we keep coming back to that. A couple weeks ago we got her a picture Book of Mormon and made flash cards to help her review what we're teaching. We've been praying really hard that she would remember, and this week she could tell us who Joseph Smith is! That's a huge step in the right direction. She told us that he was looking for the right church. And then he prayed. And Jesus told him that none of the churches were true. Helen is a trooper though, and she's working really hard to keep everything we're teaching straight in her mind. She came to church this Sunday though and really enjoyed herself. She loves the Bishop and said that if he tells her that she can be baptized again, then she's be up for it.
This week we also were able to meet up with Helena and Jobiana. We reviewed some of the conference talks and also the Book of Mormon reading that they've been doing. Especially Jobiana's reading. She has become consumed with the Book of Mormon and told us that whenever she has a free minute that's what she does. We've been meeting together for about 2 months now, and yesterday in Sunday School she opened her Book of Mormon and pointed at Alma 50. At first I wasn't sure what she was trying to say, and suddenly it hit me. "Are you at Alma 50??" She just laughed and nodded her head. She and her daughter blow me away every time we meet with them. This Sunday Helena was confirmed in Sacrament meeting! She asked me to perform that ordinance, and I was really excited. Confirming someone is one of my favorite spiritual experiences. Saying "receive the Holy Ghost" always brings a rush of the Spirit that everyone can feel. We've set a solid date for the wedding and baptism for Jobiana. She's getting married on May 10th and then baptized on the 12th. I think Jobiana is more excited for that than she has been for anything else in her life. She cannot wait.
Janelle is continuing to progress as well. She's planning on the 21st still to get baptized! This last week I brought my conference Ensign from May of 2011 to share an article with her, and she asked afterwards if she could borrow it. She's been reading from it, and really enjoys everything that she has come across. Her goal is to tell her parents this week about the baptism. She's really nervous, but has decided that regardless of what they say she's going through with it. I really admire her for that. I have no idea what that would be like, we can only encourage her to have faith and move forward.
Well I love you all! Thanks so much for the Easter package, and I hope you all have a great week.
Elder Kade Bartschi
These are some of the other pictures of the ball game that I told you about last week (David Ortiz hit a homerun, which is that picture of him jogging towards home plate). And then the other pictures are of Helena's baptism! It went really well, and she was so excited for all of it. Jobiana cannot wait for her own now.
Dear Sisters and Elders,
Happy Easter! In sacrament meeting today, we sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”. That combined with this beautiful day got me thinking about the words in that hymn. I began to think, “What do I LIVE for? Maybe we LIVE for our family, or soccer, or golf, or our music, or to be a missionary or whatever we love that brings us joy. In the hymn, it says that He lives “to bless me with His love, He lives to plead for me above, He lives my hungry soul to feed, He lives to bless in times of need. He Lives to comfort me when faint, He lives to hear my soul’s complaint” etc. He doesn’t just DO these things- He LIVES to do them. It brought new meaning to me about how much He cares for ME and for YOU. God loves you right now, right here, exactly as you are. We must all repent and improve where necessary, but as Sister Holland has said, “God does not ‘wait’ to love us.” Easter time is a reconfirmation of His love and His Atonement which not only provides a way for us to return to Him but also enables us to DO and Be so much better.
We all want to be good and do good and we can do so much more as we plead in faith and go forward in “the strength of the Lord.” In His strength we can do so much more than we could do otherwise. We are finding more PEOPLE. They are coming to Sacrament meeting, setting dates and being baptized. In His strength you can do great things. We must strive with all of our hearts to tap into this power. Preach My Gospel testifies:
“Faith is a principle of power. God works by power, but His power is usually exercised in response to faith. Faith leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service. .. By faith you are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will. Your faith will be manifest through diligence and work. Through faith you receive answers to your prayers and personal inspiration to guide you in the Lord’s work… (PMG p 116)
Preach My Gospel also reminds us that “No effort is wasted.” If we want to make a difference in this world, we must be different than the world. Jesus Christ atoned for every person who ever walked the earth. He did it because the ‘worth of souls’ is great in His sight. The thing that we can do that is of most worth to Him is to bring souls to Him.
The Mormon.org Easter campaign boldly testifies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is our Savior and our Redeemer. We proclaim His teachings and witness His divinity. Florida Tampa Missionaries also boldly with faith, power and authority proclaim and witness this truth as we FIND, TEACH, BAPTIZE AND RETAIN. We go forward with faith in the ‘strength of the Lord’. I love Him. I love you and I believe in you.President Summerhays