This week, we finished up the second half of Zone Conferences in the Columbia, Baltimore, Harbor, and Annapolis Zones! Once again, I love being able to hear all of the miracles that are happening between the boundaries of the Maryland Baltimore Mission. I would love to share a few of them:
The first one I'd like to share actually comes from 2 weeks ago in the Martinsburg Zone. A few months ago, President Christiansen decided he wanted to put missionaries in this small college-town called Keyser. Missionaries had been covering that area, but they lived 45 minutes away and never really got over to it, but he felt prompted that if missionaries were to live in that area, there would be people that would be baptized, and eventually his goal is to start a branch in Keyser. So, in November, Elder Chisholm and Elder Roundy, 2 very young and hard-working missionaries, got put into Keyser together. When they got there, their area book had no pages. Their phone had no numbers. They had absolutely no idea what to do! They felt overwhelmed, upset, and just completely at a loss. They managed to make it through the first few days until Sunday came around, where they introduced themselves to all of the members of the Cumberland Ward that Keyser is a part of. They were asked to give talks, which helped to gain member trust. That day, a member came up to them and told them that he had somebody for them to teach named Samantha. Only a few weeks later, Samantha was baptized. They started to gain trust in themselves that they really could work hard and find people in Keyser. Well, it is now their 3rd transfer together and they are about to have their 4th baptism! They have seen so many miracles, and it was amazing to see that President had a prompting to put them there and they have seen the results from it!
The next one came from the Inner Harbor Ward in the Harbor Zone. Each Zone Conference, we have one recent-convert give his/her testimony of their conversion. Delijah, a 24 year old that grew up in Baltimore, just got baptized in October. His story was amazing and I'd like to share it with all of you: A few years ago, Delijah was searching for truth. He grew up not really going to church, but he believed in a God. Around the age of 18, he decided to move to Las Vegas for a job opportunity, and there he made friends that weren't the best influences. Yet, he always was made fun of because he stayed away from all of the drugs and violence, and read the Bible often. 2 years ago, he moved back to Baltimore, still searching for truth. His dad told him that if he didn't find a job, he would kick him out of the house. One day, him and his father got in an argument about this while on the metro. Delijah got pretty upset and decided to go to the back of the metro away from his father. He went and found a spot towards the back. In front of him, there was a man reading something in Korean, but the man didn't look Korean at all. This confused Delijah a little bit so he asked "What's a white kid like you doing reading Korean?" This man, which just so happened to be a return missionary that had served in Korea, began to tell Delijah about missionary service and how this letter was from one of the people he had met while serving. Delijah was so interested in it that he wanted to learn more and got the contact info and a Book of Mormon from this member of the church who had "coincidentally" decided to take the metro that day. The next few weeks went along and Delijah got kicked out of his house and started to stay in an abandoned house. After a few weeks of that, the police caught him and arrested him for having stayed in this abandoned house. They had pictures of him out on the porch reading the Book of Mormon!! After being put on probation, he was able to meet with the Elders, and continued to learn more and more about the Book of Mormon. His testimony grew. In October of 2015, Delijah was baptized! He has an incredibly strong testimony, and I'm pretty sure he knows the Book of Mormon better than anyone I've ever seen. He stayed for the entire Zone Conference and participated just as the missionaries would! And the best part about all of this...Delijah will be serving a mission this October!
During Zone Conferences, one of the things that we focused on was how people that are going through change in their lives are always the most accepting of the Gospel. The brainwaves change and they come out of their homeostasis, and they are the most willing and able to learn at these times! Because of this, we talked a lot about trying to find those people: asking questions such as "Who just moved in? Who just changed jobs? Who just had a baby?" to be able to know where to work. The Elders in Brooklyn Park shared a pretty cool miracle of just this. They were walking up to contact a man that was walking out of his house. Elder Fisher had this weird prompting to ask a specific question, so he said "Hey, do you know anybody that recently had a baby in the area?" Obviously this caused a little bit of an awkward situation! The guy kind of gave him a weird look and said "Umm...that's kind of a strange question....I don't really know. But my wife is 6 months pregnant!" Well, now they are teaching this young couple about the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Now here are some of the miracles that are happening here in our area, Ellicott City! First, we had an amazing miracle with our neighbors Tyler & Jessica. They fit perfectly in this whole idea of finding those that are going through change, they just moved in a few weeks ago and just had their first baby! We helped them move in and they have liked talking to us since. Anyways, we were sitting in Columbia Zone Conference on Thursday, and both Elder Lawrence and I kept getting a prompting that we needed to invite our neighbors to have us in to learn more. We had built a good relationship, but we really hadn't made an invitation. Well, after Zone Conference we had to run to the apartment to grab something. It just so happened that Jessica pulled up at the exact same time as us, so we got out and started talking to her! We told her a little bit about the importance of the family and asked her if we could come and teach her and her husband and she said "I will definitely ask him when a good time is!" Well, the miracle continued because we ran inside to get something and when we came out, Tyler had just pulled up! So we had almost the exact same conversation and he said "I will definitely ask her when a good time is!" It was so great! So now we will be teaching them and they are going to be the best members!
That same night, we were driving to pick up the other Elders in our ward, and we passed the street where Fred lives, the one armed man that helped us with the generator back in January. I immediately got an impression we should turn down his street and go visit him, but for some reason I ignored it! It might have been that we were going to be late to pick them up, I'm not sure. But it kept coming back and finally I looked at Elder Lawrence and said "Hey, we need to visit Fred because if we don't I'm going to regret if for a long time." We didn't even have any of our scriptures or pamphlets with us because we were in a different car! But, we drove over there and within seconds, he walks out of his house and kind of looks at the car, wondering who we are. I got out and he recognized who we were, but he was on the phone. I said "Hey Fred, we just felt like we should come by and see when we can come teach you!" and he said "Well I'm on the phone with my girlfriend, but hey if you come back on Tuesday you can have my full attention!" and with that, he went back into the house! So...tomorrow we have an appointment with him! I definitely learned that I need to follow promptings as soon as they come!
We have made some great progress with Eric as well, he wants to be baptized! We have an appointment with him on Thursday. He kicked his girlfriend out of the house because she wasn't a good influence, and he told us that he is trying to make all the necessary changes to become a member of the church! Also, Sydney came to church this week, she is doing well!
Lately we have been teaching so many Nigerian families! I don't know what it is, but the people from Nigeria are just so humble and willing to learn! It's been a miracle to see how many people from Nigeria are interested in the Gospel!
One last miracle from the Ellicott City Ward, the Spanish Hermanas are now teaching Roger's wife and daughter!!! Irma has been pretty against the Church but now that she has the Spanish missionaries teaching her, she is growing so much! So we are hoping that soon Roger will be able to return to activity and that Irma and Mariah will be baptized!
The hastening of the work is so apparent here in the MBM! The Columbia Stake, where Ellicott City resides, had a total of 22 baptisms in 2015, which was the lowest of all the Stakes in the mission. Well, it's February 22nd and the Columbia Stake has already had 11 baptisms! We've already reached half of what we did last year! The mission is definitely on pace to double the baptisms and it has been so amazing to be a part of.
I love my mission! The experiences just continue to shape and mold the rest of my life. I'm so grateful for everything that has happened. Thank you for your support!
- Elder Leavitt
I received this text from Sister Christiansen this week:
"Your son is amazing. He is a natural leader and is so very respected by all who know him - the missionaries, senior missionaries and ward members across the mission."
She also sent some Pictures to both our family and Elder Lawrence's family and prefaced them by saying;
We sure love your sons and appreciate all their hard work in furthering not just the work in their area, but also in the whole mission. Here are some pictures I have taken over the past few months. I apologize that most of these are at lunchtime at meetings or at the airport. It surely is not reflective at all of what they spend most of their time doing, but hopefully they are fun to look at anyway:)
|Elder Michael Teh & his wife of the Seventies.|