Sunday, August 5, 2012

30 July 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

This week has been one of learning so much. We got to see the baptism of Renzo Vallejos! He is really just amazing. His baptism was 12 days after we came to know him for the first time. He's quite famous. He and his twin are dancers who are known by almost all young people in the city of Tacna. He is so famous in part because he represented all of Tanca in a dance contest that was held in the capital of Peru, Lima, a few years ago. Quite a few members have asked us if he is the same one they saw on TV those years ago. Haha. He's a natural at sharing the gospel too. Just like converts do, he talks about the pure joy of living the Gospel.

He came to church where we met him 15 days ago with a friend, who also is a recent convert. He said she talked about the church with the same passion and love that he frequently talks about dancing. That really suprised him, that someone could be so passionant about church, so he went. He loved it. We visited him that night and invited him to be baptized for the 28th, and he realized he was feeling the spirit so he said yes! I'm going to read a ton of this book. I'm going to go to church next week, and Ill be baptized the 28th. He teaches dance classes in a gym and he had the oportunity to invite his students to his baptism. Three came! His dad came. He also anounced it by facebook to his doubtlessly many, many facebook friends. Saturday turns out was a stake activity, so we pushed it up to Friday. It was very pretty [a spanish-ism]. He testified of the truth of the gospel for the first time. 

In the stake activity, we did a tour of the chapel for the investigators who were there. We coordinated with the family history buffs, Sunday School buffs, and had a part in the chapel. We gave them DVDs of Finding Faith in Christ. It was a cool tour, but we had less help from the members than we thought we might get... we are gearing up to do it again with more coordination so that all the members can invite and we can have a crowd of hundreds of investigators! Everyone just has to talk like Erika Hurtado, the friend of Renzol (featured in the picture on the far right of the camera. He is the second person that she has invited to church (of the many she assuredly invites) in her few months of being member who has been converted.

My studies in general are becoming something so special. This morning in particular. I finished up Ether and went into Moroni. I don't know, but never have I really understood the situation in the which Moroni was in. Elder Uceda when he was here mentioned a little about Moroni's life and I realized when I finished Ether, that Ether had lived a very similar life. Reading Moroni 1 - 6 was really interesting, remembering all the Elder Uceda taught about it, and then Moroni 7 just hit me like a train. It was a very spiritual experience. I love the Book of Mormon. It is such a special book. When I read it, I often feel like the pages shine with celestial glory as I read and understand God's plan for us and the direction he is willing to give us. I wish all the people in the world could learn that reading the Book of Mormon generates spiritual experiences. How can I do that better? How can I help the people to do so?

We talked with some missionaries of another faith for a while two days ago. We helped them clear up their doubts about a closed canon and testified of the truth of the Book of Mormon. What made me sad was that they decided to go right then, and that right before leaving, they expressed a doubt that I think is common to most protestants here: All the other churches have members who also say that God directs them there.... how can you know then? I simply said: "Ask and you shall see." But he didn't get over that wall of faith. I don't know, but I hope he can remember the testimonies of my companion and I and put Moroni's promise to the test. It always proves true. I ask every day after my feasting of the Book of Mormon. I love doing that so that when I teach in the day, I don't have to say, well you see when I was 8, I asked and the Lord responded 13 years ago.

After reading Moroni 7 this morning, with the spirit burning in my heart and mind, I knelt down to give thanks to the Lord for that holy book. I told him how thankful I was for being in the mission and for Him having woken me up to the things of God, and then I asked that by the Holy Ghost he might confirm unto me the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and in that moment, the Spirit that I was already feeling was amplified and clarity was added to what I was feeling. The heavens passed close in that moment. I know the Book is true, and that it brings us to Christ, because it brings me to Christ, and I will share that with all the people I can today.

Love Elder Johnson

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