"Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone's life for eternity." - President Dieter F Uchtdorf
I absolutely love this quote from President Uchtdorf! I'd like to begin my email this week by sharing the testimony I have of sharing testimony with others. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share what we know with others. To share experiences, insights, thoughts and feelings with other people and to be able to feel the Spirit testify o f the truth. I know that our words, the things we say, can truly affect someone's life for eternity.
Well, as the last few weeks have been so crazy, I didn't get to even send an email last week! So I will try and think back and remember everything that has happened!
For starters, this last week we had transfers! On Tuesday, we got to go to the airport and pick up the brand new missionaries! While we were waiting for them to come off of the terminal, there were 2 missionaries serving in Idaho that got home from their missions and we got to see their reaction of seeing their family for the first time in 2 years! It was my first time getting to pick up the new missionaries, and it brought back so many memories of coming into Baltimore, getting picked up on my very first day in the field. That feels like just yesterday! I remember how much I looked up to the assistants that picked me up and how they affected my mission because of their example. I don't feel like nearly as much of an example as them, but it was so cool because a few of them started proselyting and talking to people and passing out cards WHILE in the Airport! They had just entered the mission field seconds before and already started working! That was a true testimony of me of their desire to work and it taught me quite a lot! That night, we got to spend the night getting to know them while President did interviews with them. It was fun and we got to play some games and have a testimony meeting with them. They wanted to know everything about the Mission, so we told them about how obedient and hardworking they would have to be to help the mission double the baptisms!
The next day was Transfer Meeting. Transfer Meeting is always such a cool experience. All of the missionaries getting moved to an area all come into Columbia, and it's cool to get to be able to see them, see some of the members from different wards, and get to have that meeting. It's also a time for the new missionaries and departing missionaries to bear testimony. The newer missionaries also get to meet their trainers! This Transfer Meeting was one that I will always remember because of the strength of the testimonies that were given. There were about 13 missionaries coming in and 8 leaving, having finished their missionary service. Out of those 7 leaving, 6 were Sisters and 1 was an Elder. The Sisters after finishing their testimonies, sang a song called "Savior Redeemer" and I have no doubt everyone there felt the Spirit. Out of those 6 Sisters, 5 of them had served as Sister Training Leaders, they had trained a total of 15 Sisters (who had also gone on to be Sister Training Leaders or train other missionaries) and they all had a major influence on this mission! It was cool because as I was serving as a District Leader and Zone Leader, they were Sisters that I had gotten to work with and knew how hard they all worked!
That night we got to have dinner with President and the departing group, and since their flight was at 4 in the morning, everyone just stayed awake while they did interviews with President. At 4, we drove everyone to the airport where they were off!
CHRISTMAS BOX #1
The Mission is continuing to progress towards doubling the baptisms!! We've seen all of the productivity increase and miracles are continuing to happen! One that happened to us the last few weeks was we had a man named Brother Selby show up to church. He said he hadn't been to church in 4 or 5 years since he got divorced but wanted to start going again. He came up to us and told us that his 12 year old daughter, Sydney, hadn't ever been baptized because of the divorce and him going inactive. He also has a 17 year old boy and a 15 year old girl. So, he invited us to start teaching Sydney and to get her baptized! We got to meet Sydney for just a few minutes and she is the sweetest little girl ever! And then yesterday, we went over to Brother Selby's house (the kids weren't there, they are only there every other week) and had a good talk with him and got to know him more. This Sunday, we get to go and teach all of the kids! Brother Selby wants us to help refresh their memory of the church and then to get Sydney baptized, so we're super excited!
I do have some sad news, but I know that this story will end up happy!! So as you know, Roger, the recent convert here, has been doing really well and we have been teaching his daughter Maria and she wants to be baptized as well. But the past few weeks, things seemed a bit different and then all of a sudden on Sunday morning we were sitting in ward council and the Bishopric reads this email they had received from Roger saying he wanted to return to the Catholic church...we were so confused because Roger always told us EVERYTHING! But when we got ahold of him, we found out what happened. Roger isn't divorced, but they are not living together anymore because of some issues. But now, he let his wife, Irma back into the house, and she doesn't really want Maria to join our church and it's causing so much conflict that Roger just wants to be able to be with his daughter and spend time with her, and since Irma takes Maria to the catholic church, Roger wants to be with them. But Roger said "I will keep living the word of wisdom and do everything that I know is true." Please pray for him. I know that he knows this church is true, and I hope that his family situation can get figured out so he can return to our church with his family, and eventually have them for eternity.
This weekend, 2 of my previous investigators in other areas will be getting baptized, I'm so excited to get to see them again!
CHRISTMAS BOX #2
Christmas is this week!! I can't even believe it! Merry Christmas everyone! I'm so grateful for the opportunity I get to be a missionary over Christmas. As tough as it is sometimes, it is so comforting to know that I get to be a representative of Christ during this special time of year. I'm so grateful for our Lord and Savior. I'm so grateful for all that he does for us!
- Elder Leavitt