This was a great week. I saw a bunch of people progress in the gospel of Jesus Christ, it's great to see. We were visited as a mission by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Burton of the Presiding Bishopric, Elder Claudio Costa of the First Seventy, and Elder Matt Eyring, who is our Area Authority. Sorry for those who are not members and are reading this, I'm sure none of those titles made any sense. Basically, some great leaders in the Mormon Church. We listened to them for 2 hours, and most of it was question and answer with them. It was spectacular!
I wanted to include some experiences from my mission for all of you. One of them came a few weeks ago when I was on exchanges with another missionary in my area. We had just left from an appointment that had been cancelled, so we had some time before our next set appointment. I decided we could go try to visit some members of our ward. The first person we tried wasn't there, and I checked for who else we could meet. There was one lady on the list that had a note "Doesn't like the missionaries or the Church", but I thought we could go see her anyways because i had never met her.
Instead of finding her home, a man answered the door. He introduced himself as Peter, her brother, and explained that he was visiting from New York. He said we were lucky that it was only him at home, because his sister would have kicked us out. He invited us in to chat for a little bit, and we found out that his sister had been hurt by a member of the LDS church and it had gotten to her. He wasn't a member, and didn't know much about the Church.
Talking to him more, we learned that Peter had recently witnessed a miracle in his life after asking God for help, even though he was an atheist. He had grown up Catholic, but at the time no longer believed in God. He said he didn't know who or what he was praying to- he just looked up at the ceiling and asked for help, wondering if there was anyone out there listening to him.
Peter was amazed that the thing he had asked for really did happen- he was able to get some prescription drugs (for his back- he's had 10 surgeries for herniated discs and other problems) 4 days earlier than he should have been able to, because it was 4 more days until his 30-day refill on pain medication. Since Peter had lost some of the medication, he no longer had any, but should not have been able to get any more. Yet somehow he was able to, which he said was impossible: his doctor couldn't prescribe more medication for him due to a strict contract that the two of them had both signed, he himself couldn't sign for additional meds, and the pharmacist couldn't allow him to pick up his next refill early. Not only that, the pharmacist's computer should have spotted the error and raised a red flag- if not, then the drug company's computer would have picked it up.
Peter said that many of his friends and family members had dismissed his miracle as a glitch, but he alone knew that it was impossible. The guy was so passionate about it; I was amazed at the power and strength of his character. He's a smart He said that he had continued in praying and asking for different things, willing to make changes if necessary, and his prayers had been answered over and over. One thing he said that stuck out to me was "I don't have a name for this Being I'm talking to. I don't know who I'm worshiping." We asked him if we could be the people he was looking for, and he said he believed it could be true. We taught a simple lesson about God and prayer, and we'll keep in touch with him because he was headed back to New York.
There are many reasons why we shouldn't have been able to meet with him. The only reason we were there was because our appointment (which was usually a solid one) at that time had dropped, and we had chosen to go see a member that we knew didn't want to see us. Peter was there because a friend of his was over an hour late in picking him up from his house when we got to him, he was visiting from New York for just a few days, and was heading out the very next day. And his sister just happened to be out of the house when we met him. There was no way that it would have all happened without help from a loving Heavenly Father who wanted us to help Him answer the prayers of someone who has finally started to turn his life around.
I love the mission, and I am grateful for the many experiences that I have been blessed to have. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ, and that the authority of God is once again on the earth. I know for myself that miracles happen.