Tuesday: We taught A the plan of salvation and she loved it! She thought that after death, there was only heaven and hell, but when we taught her the truth, she exclaimed, "that's great because I always doubted that idea!" She's loving the Book of Mormon more and more. Bon, that is the only other thing I'm gonna share for Tuesday, because Tuesday night, the happiest moment of my life came.
I received a call from my old companion, Elder Ramsey, who's still in Lyon. He asked me straight off if I was sitting down. I sat down, and he preceded to tell me about a miracle, a wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles. When I was with Elder Burri, we started talking to a less-active member, named Brother M. He joined the church in his late teens, and served a mission in the Swiss Genève Mission. He returned home with Honor, and not too long afterwards was married, and was made a bishop. All was well. But a few years ago, things took a turn for the worse. He soon found himself divorced and inactive, and unable to use the priesthood. For a few years he lived in darkness.
I met him at a stake conference about 6 months ago. I introduced myself and asked him if he needed help. He was a little hesitant but said he would be moving soon, and he could use some help. For a few weeks, it didn't happen, but when Elder Ramsey came to Lyon, he finally fixed a RDV with us. And we started to spend lots of time with him, and we helped him most days of the week. At first we didn't try sharing spiritual thoughts, we didn't want to seem like "we are here just to reactivate you" but after a few times, he started asking us to pray over the food, and asked us to share a scripture with him. He started reading the scriptures a few times a week. Soon, he was reading each day. And he started coming to church. Soon, he was coming every week. He started working with his bishop to regain full fellowship in the church.
Elder Ramsey once challenged him to do something. His parents will come to France and pick him up in July, and Elder Ramsey challenged Brother M to come with him and his family to the temple in July. Excited, Brother M jumped up and said "let's do it!".
I digress, back to the story. Elder Ramsey calls me on Tuesday night and tells me that Brother M just had his priesthood blessings restored. He will be a home teacher. He will have a calling. He will be able to baptize his two 9 year old daughters who now have baptismal dates for May 6th. And he will be going to the temple with Elder Ramsey in July. When I heard this, I cried like a little child. I broke down and felt the most amazing joy, sweet above all that is sweet. I sat in silence on the phone with Elder Ramsey. We had no idea what to say. My journal says: "We thanked each other from the bottom of our souls, for loving Brother M enough to see a great change of heart. I am so grateful for Elder Ramsey's idea to buy a frame for a picture of the Swiss temple and give it to brother M. What a wonderful guy. What a man. Like President Brown counsels us, Elder Ramsey was more concerned about Brother M than our calendar. It didn't matter what the cost was, he was focused on people, on his purpose. Together, through us, the Lord loved Brother M back to activity and loved his daughters into the waters of baptism.
Tuesday night was the best moment of my life. I know that repentance is real. Forgiveness is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift. It is never too late to repent, it is never too late to be forgiven. My new favorite scripture expressed my feelings better than I can:
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;...
And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" ~DC 18
As I sobbed these words over the phone to Elder Ramsey, I heard him cry as well. We felt the spirit confirm to our hearts that this is true. It is all true. And that makes all the difference.
Well, after that, I don't know what else to share. Everything else from the week is almost insignificant by comparison. We did service a few times for members. Elder Eberhard is great! A prodigious pianist and French horn player. Really talented, good missionary, in his 14th transfer. Speaks great French. I love being with him!
I love you all. I know that God lives, that He changes hearts, He changes lives, He changes eternities. Because He loves us. I know that Christ lives, that He resurrected the third day. Let's love Him. Let's adore Him. Let's follow Him and walk with Him, always.
|On an exchange with Elder Hansen|
|View of Bordeaux from HLM|
|Forest walk on exchange|
|Working hard in the Lord's vineyard...maybe not the Lord's vineyard actually|