Here we go.
So I finished up my first week and a half in Decatur. I like it here. Our apartment isn't as big as my last one and smells a lot more like weed than my last one did. Riding MARTA is nice because I get to talk to a lot of people, but it is frustrating having to wait for it to come pick you up. This morning was the end of this transfer. The AP's called us and we found out that I am staying in Decatur and Elder Rainsdon is moving to Dallas, GA. That means that I will be area leader... So I am suppose to know the area and bus routes and so forth... I haven't had much time to get that all down yet, oh well. I will have had four trainers/companions in less than two months. That must be some kind of record.
Elder Hansen goes home tomorrow, and I am extremely sad to see him leave. He has truly been like a father to me and has been such a great friend. I hope that when he returns back to Utah my family will try to gain contact with him. I can't wait for my mission Dad to meet my real Dad. They are so similar sometimes it is scary.
Okay, now time to get to the good stuff. Glovia got baptized on yesterday! It was absolutely fantastic. She is such a great lady. She wanted to have two people in the font out of fear that one wasn't going to be able to lift her back up. I guess if you were going to drown, a baptismal font wouldn't be the worst place for that. Luckily she made it out of the water. I love Glovia so much. I am so glad that I get to stay in this area with her. After the baptism she came up to me and said "Elder Ramara (She can't pronounce my last name), I want you to know that even though you only were with me for a short while before this occasion, you played a big role in what happened today. Thank you." It made me so happy that it almost brought tears to my ears. She has such a big heart and is going to be a great member of the Church. She always speaks her mind and is not scared to stand up for what she believes in. She was also exposed to anti, but yelled at the person trying to give it to her and said "you don't know the Mormons!" Glovia is quick to call us every morning and see how our day is going. It is clear as day to see the change that the Gospel has brought into her life.
Glovia and her son after her baptism. Elder Rainsdon has red hair and Elder Schneider is the other one.
That was just one of the highlights of my recent Sunday. The other part of it happened later that evening. Saturday we were going to the ghetto part of Decatur/Atlanta (my area covers a large area of Atlanta) to see a less active member. On Saturday the buses run less often so you have to be smart with your scheduling. It took us about one and a half hours to get to where we needed to go. Then about another 5 mile walk. We finally get to the person's house and we knock and they weren't home. It was extremely disappointing. Not to mention that it started to rain.
On our way back to the bus stop we came across a man walking out of his house. We went up and talk to him about the LDS church and asked him if he'd be interested in talking more with us. He said "yeah, sounds good. I'll see you guys tomorrow." He was a very shy man, and we kind of just thought that he was being nice. We didn't really expect him to follow up on his commitment, but we stopped by Sunday afternoon anyways. We knocked on his door and he opened right up and invited us in (I was very surprised that he let us in because a lot of the time they just talk to us through the screen door).
So we walk in and start talking to him and learned a little more about him. I told him a little about my background and he told me a little about his. He has had a very rough life. He has two kids that live in Texas. He told us that they are the most important thing in his life, and he rarely gets to see them. After talking to him for about 10 minutes I grew such a love for this stranger. I knew that the gospel could change his life. I imagined him giving priesthood blessings to his children before they go off to school, and giving them one when their sick. I imagined him getting married in the temple and being sealed to his family for time and all eternity. I knew that there was a reason for us to be there and that he didn't just agree to meet us out of kindness, he truly is searching for something.
We started to ask him questions about his religious backgrounds and his expectations for meeting with us. He said that he wanted to know how the Book of Mormon came forth. We told him about the restoration, the first vision, and the translation of the golden plates. The whole time he could not take his eyes off of us, or the pictures we showed him. After, we asked him how he felt, and he said, "Words can't describe" and I said, "Is it good?" and he said "Yes, it is warm." I told him that is the Holy Ghost and he is a testifier of truth, a comforter, and a guide in your life. I told him that he has the opportunity to have that feeling with him always and it can be a constant companion in his life. I invited him to be baptized, and he accepted.
I began to tell him that he is taking the first step to changing his life, and that we cannot take these steps for him. We told him that he has to find out for himself if this is true. We shared with Moroni's invitation at the end of the Book of Mormon to read, ponder, and pray. He said that he would.
The best part of the lesson came at the end. We asked him if he would say the closing prayer, and he said, "To be honest, I can't. I don't really know how." We taught him how to pray, and how his father in heaven always wants to hear from him. He proceeded to say the closing prayer. To simply put it, I have never heard a more sincere prayer in my life. He told God that he wants the feeling he had with us to stay with him forever, and that he wants to know if this is true. It was a short prayer, but I have never felt the spirit so strongly during a prayer.
I don't know if this man will end up being baptized or what will happen in future lessons. I just know that the spirit guided that lesson, and that we did not convince him of anything. It was the Holy Ghost testifying to his heart that our message can bring peace and love into his life. Even if something happens to him in the future that makes him unwilling to progress. I know that we both cannot deny what we felt in that one hour lesson.
There is not a more rewarding work in this life than missionary work. I can't wait to take the things I've learned here and apply them to my life back home. I can't wait to have a future family and have the gospel in our lives. I know that God has a plan for me, and for all the people that I meet out here. I know he loves me as well as all of his children.
I love you all and miss you dearly,
-Elder Ryan Romero