Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week 58 Surrounded By Miracles

This week was another great one! It still seems crazy to me that it's 2016, but the new year has brought new miracles, and I'm so excited for the months to come!

I'll start out with a miracle that happened in the Savage Mill Ward, a ward that is about 10 minutes away from me in the same stake that I am currently serving in. Savage Mill hadn't had a baptism in over 3 years...until yesterday when Jennifer Castillo was baptized!! The story behind Jennifer is what is truly a miracle:

The story begins a few months ago, with the two Elders who were at that time serving in Savage Mill. The Elders were walking along the side of the road, talking to people that were walking past and probably weren't too excited to stop and talk to two random missionaries. After about an hour of walking, a member from their ward drove past, saw them, and decided to take them out to lunch. They got in his car and drove to a Subway nearby. When they were at Subway, he told the Elders that they could order what they'd like and he would pay. The girl that was taking their order jokingly asked: "Why aren't you making them pay?" He replied with: "Well...they work for Christ." She gave a little laugh and said: "Well, don't we all in a way?" He laughed as well and replied "Well yeah that's true, but these two go out and teach everyone else about Christ! And you know what? On your next break, you should come out here and talk with them!" Well, they got their orders and it just so happened that her break was coming up, so she joined the two missionaries and the member for lunch. 

As time went on, the Elders passed her off to the Sisters that served in the same ward, and they continued to teach her, and she became more and more interested. Her parents noticed a huge change in her, and she was given permission by her parents to be baptized. Yesterday, on January 11th, Jennifer Castillo was baptized and her parents were there as well! It was amazing to see how something as simple as a member inviting a non-member to take the lessons with the missionaries ended up leading to Jennifer being baptized.

Celebrated President's Birthday yesterday
This week, we were able to find a few new investigators to teach! Their names are Francis and Brahm. All of our investigators are very diverse: Sydney, a 12 year old girl from a part-member family; Francis, a middle-aged man from Nigeria; Brahm, a scientist from India; and Michael, a 22 year old guy married to a member! Sydney is still doing really well, we got to see her and the Selby family yesterday, had a great lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation! Sydney's older brother Grayson will be ordained as a Priest here in a few weeks and will be able to baptize her! Francis was one of the ones that we met this week, he requested a Book of Mormon and we met him and started teaching him. He is going to Nigeria in February to visit his family for the month, so we are working with him and he is going to be baptized before he leaves so that he can teach his family and baptize them over in Nigeria! And then Brahm also requested a visit from Missionaries after visiting the Visitors Center in Salt Lake City. He is a scientist that came from India on a Rotary International Scholarship! It was really cool because since I was involved with Rotary back home, we got to talk a lot about it and he was very happy to talk about Rotary and Interact Clubs! He is the President of the Columbia Rotary Club here.  He grew up with Hinduism as his belief, but would like to know more about Christianity. And then Michael Stitchel was the Investigator that we were teaching a few months ago, we were able to see him again this last week and will be meeting with him again!

There has also been miracles with the members in Ellicott City finding people that have been prepared!! The Crandalls, a younger couple that met at BYU-Idaho had moved out here, and have a family friend that has been going through a lot. This past weekend, they invited him and his wife to the Baltimore Aquarium and have been doing an amazing job of trying to lift up their friend in his hard time. This next week we'll be having a dinner with the Crandalls and their friend's family as well!

I got to go on an exchange out in Shenandoah Valley for a few days, it was cool to be back in the area even if it was for just a little bit!

I love this quote that Brother Miller from my home ward shared with me:

"What you can vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon, will inevitably come to pass." 
- Paul J Meyer

A mission is all about vividly imagining, believing, and acting. I'm so grateful for my Mission and the wonderful experiences that are happening! Thank you for all the support!

- Elder Leavitt

Maryland Baltimore Mission

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