Elder Zachary Brandon Brown
England Leeds Mission
Lister House, Lister Hill
England LS18 5AZ

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Most Amazing Lesson of My Mission

Hi mom and dad :) .  I'll report first that I passed my driving test!  Finally, it's done with.  I like my new companion a lot--I was excited to have someone here who could really put something into the work going on here, and we've seen an astounding stream of miracles this week.  I'm absolutely going to do my best to pass on all that I've learned, and I'm confident Elder Bowen will do great with it all.  God hears your prayers for specific people, because the ones I asked you to pray for are the ones with whom the miracles happened.  Thank you so much for those prayers.  

To start off the miracles, I was baptized and confirmed this weekend!  That was fantastic, and he's really made very good progress.  I'm proud of him and the pace he's learned at; what a great guy :) .  Church attendance this week was the highest we've had since at least June of last year, reaching nearly 60 people total and about 45 Slovaks.  It felt so good to sit in a room much more full than it's been in long time.  There have been some hard stretched, but we and the members pressed onward with faith, and we're now seeing some beautiful things happening.  There's a core group of strong members who are showing wonderful signs of personal growth and faithfulness, rising up to things that they've never done before.  The recent converts are strong ones as well, also making similar progress and putting down good roots among their fellow members here. 

The investigators we've been able to schedule for baptism this week are already showing incredible faith and are pressing strongly forward towards their goals, which brings me to my next miracle:  O and his whole family are now scheduled for baptism!  That's him, his wife D, their son R and his children A, M, and R Jr.  The lesson where that happened was one of the most amazing lessons of my mission, which is honestly saying a great deal.  The day I picked up Elder Bowen and brought him to the area we had this appointment set up with them, and I knew days earlier that I wanted to set a baptismal date with them in this lesson.  I put a lot of thought into in, used a training model in district meeting to get some ideas, and went in with the expectation that amazing things were going to happen.  The Spirit guided that lesson in the most powerful of ways, changing words just before they left my mouth, prompting me to share key scriptures at just the right moment, and sending our message deep into the hearts of every person there.  When the baptismal invitation was given, it was with all the testifying might that God's Spirit brings, and first D, then O, then the girls accepted.  I didn't challenge R because he was previously living with a girl without being married, but O himself asked R, and we found out that his partner is no longer living there with them.  He accepted baptism as well, brought his son in, and had a side conversation with him as we were speaking with O.  R Jr. then asked us if he could be baptized as well.  Absolutely amazing, truly.  The all attended I's baptism, thoroughly enjoyed it, and then O and D made it to church and loved it again, even more than last time.  R was stuck at home with a searingly painful toothache with his son, but we gave him a blessing Sunday evening, committed to either re-arrange his work shifts or find new work to allow church attendance, and set a new goal for baptism with his son.

We also re-scheduled M (M's wife) while Elder Diaz was on exchange with me just hours before Elder Bowen arrived.  This was a huge miracle, as she was thinking previously that June or July would be a good time, and now she's scheduled for the end of this month with one of their sons (M Jr.).  Their daughter, D, was scheduled for the first time as well, and will be baptized the week after her mother.  We also re-scheduled R, J, and A, the three Elder Williams and I had a miracle lesson with.  We ended up with a total of 12 people scheduled by the end of last night, whereas we'd started the week with only Ivan, who's now been baptized.  It's amazing, isn't it?

There were more miracles than just these, and I couldn't go into as much depth with conveying to you the stunning nature of those I shared in this e-mail as I would've liked, but I'm so grateful to God for his hand in our work this week.  We've seen some of the greatest miracles yet, but they're just beginnings and we'll see some amazing finishes to come.

I love you so much and am so grateful for every bit of effort you put into sending off those prayers.  They are heard and answered.  More miracles next week!

Elder Brown

I's baptism!

Me with a few of the zone leaders who are in the same going-home group as me (taken at last MLC

Last is me with an addition to a weekly planning session we went to to make it more interesting. Ha.

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