Monday, June 9, 2014

Faith Requires Action

Muy buenas tardes :)

Hey everyone! it has been another week! Can you believe it? SO FAST.

This week.  It was a bit pesado.  Meaning, heavy.

First off, we had our conference which was awesome! i learned so much about asking inspired questions and just following the spirit to figure out what questions to ask.  Also, during the practice, the President joined elder Hilton and I in our lesson! That was so cool and fun!  He is very very powerful.  We taught about our life hear on earth and the atonement, it went very well.  He gave us some very great advice about how to directly apply what we are teaching to the lives of the investigators.  I felt very good about how i taught with the President right next to me, it was a bit nerve wracking ha.  

Later in the week, is when it got heavy.  We had two baptisms scheduled for this friday.  So, i headed to work during interchanges with my district leader, Elder Jacome, he is from Ecuador.  We headed out teaching and had some great success.  But then we got to our investigators who were supposed to be baptized...Turned out they had changed their mind.  Elder Jacome and i took turns explaining doctrine of baptism and the atonement, we both felt that they are very ready.  One of them was worried, very worried about committing errors after baptism...That was his hold up.  And the other wasnt reading the book of mormon.  I have never realized the importance of this book before....until i started to really search the pages.  If this man had been reading and praying, he would not be able to deny the validity of this book nor the path that we all must follow, which is Jesus Christ.  So I poured out my soul in a testimony on two seperate occasions in a last effort to show they are very ready to enter into the waters of baptism.  

The next day, I was talking with my buddy, Elder Chappell, one of the zone leaders at another conference, he is from Mississippi, He and i both had a very strong desire to try again with these two investigators.  So we called the assistants and headed out of interchanges again.  Elder Chappell is a great Elder, he has 19 months, so i got some great advice.  We worked hard for the hours left in the day.  First off we headed to one of the investigadors who was supposed to be baptized...his name is Milton. He owns 17 miracles and has gone to church, prays like a machine, has seen great changes in his life with the church...but still didnt feel right to be, come on!!!!  So we headed over to talk, and after a long process, we finally got to chat with Milton.  The spirit was strong, and we felt like we needed to do the interview for the baptism.  Elder Chappell took him to another room and talked for awhile, so i had a great opportunity to teach a mom and her son during the interview. We read Alma 32. It was so fun just getting to talk and teach solo for once.  Anyways,  after the interview, which milton passed.....we shared our testimonies and told milton...."We feel you are very ready milton, you have a strong testimony, you have seen a difference in your life, and you know this is the path god has for you. We will be at the church waiting for you if you feel the desire to still be baptized this night at 8." he said ok...and we headed off.  We hurried through the fields, abandoned houses and garbage to the church haha.  

This is why this email is titled "faith requires action"....we felt that if we did all we could to have a baptism, we wouldnt be guilty of anything, we must USE our agency to benefit others and show our faith in God. So we did just that.  First, Elder Chappell and I kneeled in front of an empty baptismal font and poured our hearts out to our Heavenly Father...we prayed that through our faith we could help Milton find a better life and obtain the blessings of heaven.  After the very humble prayer, we went to work.  Cleaning the font (filled with crickets, big spiders and who knows what), filling the font, setting up the chairs and all. We had speakers arranged, Elder Chappell and i had the baptismals clothes ready and we had prepared a musical number too.  It was 7:45 when we we will just have to wait. we waited. and waited.  He didnt come.  

Now, what is the lesson here? there are many.  First off, the conversion process is a very large process that cant be rushed.  However, with a testimony of the book of mormon, no one can deny that this church is thee only true church.  secondly, When we have faith, we do not always get miracles, when we have faith and demonstrate this faith, we do not always get miracles.  But, when you have faith, demonstrate it through your righteous actions and desires, you will get more Faith.  At times, yes, we do lack faith. Everyone does.  But we must remember that it is we who lack faith, it is not God who lacks power or love.  Milton was also worried about committing errors after baptism.  If we have sufficient faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and show it through our actions, we will not doubt his love or grace.  The atonement is infinite.  In the humble prayer of Elder Chappell and i, we asked that through our faith we could help someone, but if it didnt work out, we would find comfort in knowing we did what we could.  We recieved both.  Elder Chappell and i helped one another this night gain a strong testimony, and more faith.  Also, that night as i knelt down to pray, i talked to god a lot about milton and how i felt after all this work, and no baptism.  I felt comforted.  I had no stains on my shirt that night, metaphorically, because i had done all i could, i had demonstrated my faith.  

Brothers and sisters.  Faith requires action.  Action requires faith.  Trust in the lord, and if it doesnt work out, its because He knows better than you do.  Thats just how it is, straight up.  Already, i am seeing blessings from that demonstration of faith in this week, and its only monday.  

i am happier than i have ever been, and probably more stressed than ever too.  How stressed? I had a dream all my hair turned grey haha.  Yeah thats the real deal.  I am learning so so so much out here. it is awesome.  

fun facts this week, we hit 107 degrees, and our air conditioner broke that same day haha.  We ran out of water for 3 days too.  :)  Life is so good.

Thank you for the packages, paintings, letters and all! Keep doing what you should and you will be blessed!

I love you all, hopefully this email makes sense, and pardon my spelling please.  

The church is very true, and YOU literally have a father in heaven who loves you and knows you personally.

Mucho amor,
Elder Westbroek

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