What a week!! This past week, 2 people from the Mission Office in Salt Lake City came to the mission. Brother Lee Donaldson, a former Mission President, came out with Elder Lawrence and I on Monday night to go teaching with us! It was an incredible experience. Every mission that has a new mission president gets a visit within the first few months. So that was why they decided to visit.
That night, we were visiting with Roger Bryant. Roger was just baptized a few weeks ago right before I came into Ellicott City. About a month ago, I had the opportunity to go on exchange with Elder Lawrence and meet Roger before his baptism. It didn't even feel like the same Roger! He has such a strong testimony and has been an amazing miracle. Anyways, Roger was supposed to get the Priesthood 2 weeks ago, but he started to receive some anti-Mormon material from friends and said that he wanted to wait until he got these questions figured out. Well, Elder Lawrence and I did all that we can to study and prepare, but when we got into the lesson, we were pretty unsure how it was going to go.
As we started the lesson, Roger immediately brought up this concern. Little did we know, Brother Donaldson was the perfect person we could've brought to see him. Brother Donaldson is incredibly intelligent and even speaks Hebrew! He explained the concept of how a Father wants the best for their children. Wants them to become like him. I've never felt the Spirit so strongly than when Brother Donaldson went through the scriptures and explained certain Hebrew words, and Roger could feel it as well. He said "Wow. This all makes sense now." Brother Donaldson went on to say: "Roger, I go out with missionaries like this about every week in a different mission. And for some reason, God always leads the missionaries to take me somewhere where I am needed. Tonight, you needed a logical explanation about this and I have that for you." It was absolutely incredible. He then said "Roger, there is a reason God needs you in his church. There is family waiting for you to do their work." We hadn't said anything to him, but Roger had always brought up how he wanted to do his father's work! Roger was amazed and felt the Spirit so strongly.
Yesterday, Roger received the priesthood and a calling in the church. I got the wonderful opportunity to be in the circle to ordain him and I am so grateful for that priesthood and the blessings that come out of it!
Life has been incredibly busy! A few days after going out with Brother Donaldson, we had a meeting with him and President and Sister Christiansen. Brother Donaldson said "I fully believe you can double the number of baptisms in this mission and this is how." Well, there were quite a few changes that seemed like they would be so hard to make! We knew that when we announced those changes to the whole mission, there would be quite a lot of different opinions. Well, Thursday came and we announced those changes to all those in leadership. There were many different opinions, but by the end of it everybody knew: These new rules are in place so that we can work even harder, find those that are being prepared, and learn the Gospel even more. I'm grateful that we have the opportunity to double the amount of baptisms in this mission.
Elder Lawrence and I got to meet with Michael and Bianca this week. Bianca is a member of the church, she is about 20 years old. She married Michael a few months ago, who is 23 and not a member. We met with them 2 times, and on the 2nd time, talked about the Restoration and Baptism with Michael, and he agreed to be baptized on December 12th! We are incredibly excited as we continue to meet with him for this special date! Also, Roger has a daughter that is 10 years old and she wants to be baptized. Brother Donaldson taught us that the best way to lead the mission is to work hard in our area and make it an example. Well, Ellicott City is an incredible place to serve and we are trying to make it an example for the mission with the Lord's help.
I love my mission, every part about it! Thanks for the support!
- Elder Leavitt