Monday, September 3, 2012

An investigator commits to baptism!!!

Hello family and loved ones!!!!
I'm happy to say that things have started to pick up quite a bit for me and Sister Johnson this past week!
I'll start with the biggest news first. Yesterday, we had two investigators at sacrament meeting, and one of them stayed for all three hours and we had a lesson with her and a member after church and she committed to be baptized when she receives an answer about the Book of Mormon!!!!
It was a much needed answer to our prayers and we are very excited and have another lesson scheduled for Thursday with her and the member again.
Her name is Rosa, an older woman, and she was a former investigator who had been taught all three lessons and she actually knew a lot of the members of the branch and was already friends with them. She had been to church but dropped off about two years ago because her family was against her getting baptized.
She hadn't met with the missionaries since but had been contacted and invited to church but hadn't come, so Sister Johnson decided to call her on Saturday and Rosa answered, asked what time, and showed up on Sunday morning!

Irina was the member who was on the lesson and they were already friends and remembered each other. We had visited Irina earlier this week because she had been sick and wasn't at church last week. We had also visited her a couple of weeks ago and she was still holding a grudge against the branch president who had offened her months ago. We had challenged Irina to study the atonement and to pray for the Branch President, and when we visited her this past week she said she had received an answer and that she realized that the church is perfect, but sometimes leaders make mistakes because they're not perfect. I think she might still have some pride issues, but we felt like things are much better with her, and we were very happy that she was so excited to help us with missionary work because she really is a strong, long-term member, who has a very sound understanding of doctrine and a strong testimony. She helped us reteach Rosa the restoration and she was very helpful, even when she went off on tangents. She asked Rosa what she had against baptism and what was holding her back, and Rosa said that she was worried about family. Irina was really wonderful and shared her own conversion story, and definitely helped Rosa. Irina also mentioned that she had prayed that she would be able to help teach a lesson that morning, so we were grateful for her help and that it also was an answer to her own prayer. Rosa in the end agreed to be baptized when she's ready and receives an answer, so we are very excited for her and know that she can be ready because she has a good heart and a true desire to follow Christ.

Originally, we asked Irina if she would help with a lesson after church with the other investigator who came, Evgenya, whose contact we received and contacted last week. Evgenya had been told about the church by a member and came by train over an hour to get to church Sunday. However, she has a three year old son who is sick and needs some sort of operation or medical care, and she came to church thinking that we would give her money for her son. She stayed for sacrament meeting, but once she found out the branch president wasn't there, she seemed to lose interest and left. She did agree to come next week when the Branch President Kazikov will be back, but I'm afraid that she isn't interested in the gospel but may just be desperate to find help for her son. We feel bad and are praying that everything will work out for her though, but also hope that she will be interested in the church. She did say that she enjoyed sacrament meeting though. We will keep contacting her and pray that things will work out.

This past week we also had success with English club and were able to meet with two young women, Lena and Katya, who came and wanted some individual English practice. We did 50/50 with them on Thursday, and after English we watched the Finding Happiness video and bore testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was very strong. They seemed very receptive and respectful, but may not be immediately intested. They did agree to come back next week and meet with us again, so we are praying that they'll remember how they felt and want to know more.

This past week we also met with a less active family and challenged them to eat together and pray together, and we also met with two active members in the branch. 
This past week we did a lot of contacting and were able to get a contact and hand out quite a few Book of Mormons, even after a couple of Jehovah's witnesses started trying to Bible bash with us. We told them we didn't want to fight, and in the process it caught the attention of a young woman walking by who noticed us talking and she ended up taking a Book of Mormon, and a restoration pamphlet. And I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't say that it gave me immense satisfaction that it happened right in front of the Jehovah's witness who had been trying to provoke us. 
This past week we actually had a lot of really intesting encounters with other religious groups. Something that I love about the church and that I've really grown to appreciate since being here, is that we don't bash on other people's religions or bully them into believing ours. We saw two Jehovah's witnesses in one day on Friday. They have their own version of the Bible and put the name Jehovah in place of anywhere that says God. So they're a little confused. The guy who was there when the lady took a Book of Mormon saw and asked if we were Mormon and immediately started going, well in Timothy it says blah blah blah. He was extremely rude and condescending and so Sister Jonhson just started testifying to him about the Book of Mormon, but he wouldn't listen. I know we're not supposed to Bible bash, but I quoted Amos 3:7 and had him read 2nd Nephi 29:5-7, which afterwards said he agreed with but clearly didn't understand, because it talks about the testimony of two nations supporting Christ and why should anyone have anything against receiving more of God's word?! Clearly, they don't have a true understanding of charity if they just go around trying to fight with people over the Bible and trying to make people feel stupid and tear down their religion.

Last night, though we met these other missionaries from another church that were reformed drug addicts and actually had some good beliefs, but weren't open to the idea of the restoration and the Book of Mormon which is a shame.

Me and Sister Johnson have been continuing to do all of our studying and striving to be completely obedient to all of the mission rules and schedule, and even though it's been a challenge, yesterday was truly an answer to my prayers. Things are going well in our companionship and Sister Johnson is very disciplined and focused and a hard-working trainer.

I hope that all is well and was very excited to hear about the new stake in St. Petersburg.
Love you all and please keep writing and emailing!
Sincerely, Sister Schmidt

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