Another week has flown by, and of course there is always more to say than can fit in a short email. Even still, here are some of the highlights.
Ines and Gaja this week started the process of moving into a new house. One of Ines’ relatives owns the house, and told her that she and Gaja are more than welcome to live there. The house needs quite a bit of work though… We went over with the Johnsons to see what sort of stuff needs to be done – painting, installing a new kitchen, yard work, etc. and got to work! We started with the yard by turning the soil and creating a place for a garden. We don’t get a lot of service opportunities here, and being able to work on the house a little bit this week was a blast. It’s weird how much I miss home improvement projects!
In addition to working on their new house, we also continued to teach Ines and Gaja the lessons for new members. They are both doing wonderfully!
This week we also continued to meet with one of our long time investigators, and on Thursday had a great lesson with him. I’m not sure how much it touched our investigator, but it was definitely a converting experience for me personally.
Here’s the background – the investigator has been meeting with us for a while and has come to church many times. He feels the Spirit when he’s with us and likes it a lot. But, he was raised Catholic, and really loves that aspect of his life as well. And then to make things even more confusing, he decided to attend an evangelical church to see what it was like, and said that he really enjoyed it there as well. That now leaves him in a “Joseph Smith” type situation – out of the Catholic, Mormon, and Evangelical churches, which is God’s church?
We spent a while talking about that and about finding answers through the power of the Holy Ghost. And then we did something I’ve never done before with an investigator – we knelt down and prayed, not just about the Mormon church, but about all three of those churches. We figured that if we truly believe in receiving answers to prayers, it can’t hurt to pray about other churches as well.
We started by praying and asking God if the Catholic church was His true church on the Earth today. I didn’t feel anything negative, but didn’t feel anything overly positive either. We then prayed and asked if joining an Evangelical church was the right thing for people today. Again, nothing negative, nothing positive. And then we prayed about the Mormon church. As soon as the question was asked, I felt a feeling of peace and “burning in the bosom” that is nearly impossible to describe with words. I don’t know how the investigator felt, but I can say that for me, that this was a wonderful experience in which my conversion was deepened and strengthened. It also reminded me that no matter how long we have been members of the church, we can always ask God for a reassurance that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His true church today.
The rest of the week was spent doing our normal missionary things, like tracting and contacting. We had a good time doing it and were able to teach a number of people about who we are and what our message is. It’s fun to meet people who really know nothing about Mormons – it’s like working with a new, clean slate.
On Sunday we had our district conference (our equivalent of stake conference) in Ljubljana and it was wonderful to get to see some of the members from other branches. The church here is still small enough that everybody knows everybody, and it’s fun to be a part of that “church family”, even if just for a short amount of time. Most of the leadership was reorganized at the conference, and a new branch president was called in Maribor. That means I’m off the hook as a counselor! In all seriousness though, I’ve loved the chance to serve in the branch, and am sure that I will have plenty of opportunities to continue serving.