Dear Family and Friends,
9Believe in God ; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom , and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
I can’t believe we have two missionaries in our family now. I heard Elder Rackleff was set apart last night! I am so sad I won’t be able to see him, but I know he is doing what the Lord has asked and he will be eternally blessed.
This week was a good one. Sister Johnson keeps us working hard. She is one of the most diligent missionaries I have ever served with. She has already called almost everyone possible in our areabook/mobile areabook while we have been driving, and now we have a print-off of all the referrals from about 2011 that we are working on updating. Energizer bunny. All transfer we have been praying that the Lord will bless our areas with someone prepared for baptism, that we will be able to work with another person who is progressing towards a date for baptism, and that we would be able to help someone come back to church.
Guess what, there was a baptism this week! It wasn’t in our area, but it was in my old area with someone I used to teach. She is amazing, and is one of the most Christ-like people I know. The last couple transfers Sister Atkinson had taught her and helped her prepare for baptism and miracles happened this week! 1 miracle…she was a chain smoker, and she isn’t anymore! (that one happened a while ago).
So not this past week, but the one before, I told you about how I got to go back to my old area. We had a lesson with this investigator. I was so excited because I love her and she had already passed her baptismal interview, but was having a hard time making the decision to be baptized. We were going to have a lesson with her at McDonald’s and really try and help her. When we were praying in the parking lot, the Spirit told me to call a family that I know and love from that area. They are so amazing and helped so much with missionary work there. We needed to have a lesson where the Spirit could be unhindered, and McDonald’s was not the place. I told Sister Black, but was kinda nervous to call this family who hasn’t seen me in months and ask them if we could come to their home and have a lesson in 5 minutes…Aaaaah scary, but we called them. They had just finished dinner and said it would be fine. We had a great lesson, and Sister Black invited her to be baptized the next week! I did not see that coming haha…we left and were both kinda worried if we had done or said the right things, but we knew we had felt the Spirit.
The next few days I believe were really stressful for the Sisters there. I am not sure what all happened, but I know they are great missionaries and the Lord was guiding their efforts as they prayed continually to know how to best help her take this step. On Tuesday we got a call from the Sisters asking us to pray for her. They were planning the baptism for the next day. Sister Johnson and I were trying hard not to call them every hour asking what was happening haha. We prayed a lot, and the next day we heard from the Sisters that everything was planned for the evening and that She would like me to give the talk on baptism.
I was so nervous, but so happy to go. The Spirit is so strong at baptisms. That hour was one of the sweetest tender mercies I have received on my mission. I was able to watch someone I love make a covenant with God that will bless her and her family forever. I was also able to see the people who have helped her along and supported her–the people from my last area whom I love and will never forget. I am so grateful for the long time I had to serve in that area and learn from their examples. I have seen how to really live the gospel, and how I would like to live. I love the Lord. He knows where, when, and why. Sometimes it is hard not to ask those questions. But we can trust Him.
Another miracle in our area:
We had four investigators at church yesterday. One in the UCLA ward and three in the LA 1st YSA. Before the YSA began we attended ward council. Yesterday was the day that the bishopric was going to take the 3rd hour of the 5th Sunday to have a class on how to create a culture of dating within the ward. Although that would’ve have been very entertaining as a missionary, Sister Johnson and I were worried about the three people coming to church. We asked if we should have them attend that class, and the Bishop and Ward Council laughed and said that we should probably take them to the Visitor Center. So…here we go. Our first investigator we had met on the street and is from Indonesia. He had never been to a church before and was super nervous to come. His English is pretty good, but you can tell there are things lost in translation. Our 2nd investigator is a friend of Bishop’s friend who has been investigating the church for a year in Hong Kong–we had never met her. Our 3rd investigator was a girl from Brazil who had gone to the fireside (the one with David Archuletta and the youtube family) and decided to talk to missionaries. She already had a baptismal date and was being tansferred to us in the YSA and we had never met her before either. 3 countries, 2 strangers, and 1 lesson! It was insane…The girls from Brazil and Hong Kong helped testify to our other investigator of God’s love for him. He is having a hard time and I know he needed them there. The Sisters who gave our Visitor Center tour were amazing. Luckily they had already given a tour to our investigator from Brazil and knew her. Oh and did I mention…Sister Johnson is waiting for her Visa to Brazil and is going to have great practice with her language?! Oh and the week before a member from Brazil came up to us and told us how much she really really really wanted to go to lessons with us. We were praying that we would find an investigator she could help teach….wow. perfect.
We believe the girl from Brazil will be baptized this transfer (one baptism this transfer), and we have an investigator who is progressing towards baptism (in UCLA–she needs our prayers), and We have a couple people we are working with to help them come back to church.
Prayer works, especially as we seek the Spirit and to know God’s will.
The girl from Hong Kong is amazing. She talked to us about how she found the church and was so grateful for her friend who invited her. She said something like “What if she had never invited me?!” Her friend was a pen-pal from Alaska!
Another time this week we contacted someone on the street. He said he had a friend that he had known for 30 years who was a member of our church and only ever talked to him once about it. He told us that we were doing a good job. He told us he wants to feel close to God, and he wants his friend to share more. He was so sad that his friend didn’t talk more to him about what he believes, and now his friend is far away.
I think maybe I am having these experiences to help me know that my mission is not ending in 3 weeks. There are people who are searching for the happiness you have. They don’t know where to find it! Help them!
I am so amazed at the miracles the Lord is letting me witness towards the end of my time in LA…I can’t wait to see what these next few weeks hold! Keep praying.
Elder Rackleff, you are about to embark on the greatest experience of your life thus far. Take. in. every. minute. I love you!!!!