Tuesday, July 5, 2011

BAZINGA! Family Friends and Fans --

Happy Birthday America! (And Happy Birthday Dustin, tomorrow! :) We have had an excellent week, despite our water being off for 3 days now and ringworm still eating away at our skin ... we can't complain!

We're always broke at the end of the month, so it was great to have a little payday and be able to get some delicious chinese food and restock our house - not to mention celebrate the 4th of July with a real American meal at Burger King, haha. The Elders are joining us for a BBQ at Sis. Heath's this afternoon which should be epic, if my digestive system can quit sucking ... I don't know if its from a year of eating too much curry or what, but everything I eat makes me sick. It's a bit frustrating. But boy, how we've been blessed this week.

RHUEL GOT BAPTIZED! WOOT WOOT! It's been 5+ years in the making with a whole heap of missionaries, but he finally took the step and decided to give his life to Christ, as they say. The members came out, supported him like crazy, and we got to watch The Other Side of Heaven for Friday Night Activity afterwards. It was completely epic in every sense of the word ... one of the best days of my whole mission. The Spirit was strong, as it was in testimony meeting yesterday as well. People are crying left and right, everyone wanted the meeting to just keep going. We had an investigator, Sharon, who we assumed was kinda less effective, randomly show up at church last week, apologize profusely for not making it the week before, and we taught her the restoration lastnight and it was AMAZING! Spiritual powerhouse after spiritual powerhouse. I love bearing testimony of the restoration, because I know its the truth that so many are seeking but don't know where to find it. I'm privileged to be a messenger of Christ's restored gospel. We've had some great lessons with members present, which has made all the difference in the world. In fact, Rhuel's main turning point was when we had the branch president and his first counselor come teaching with us ... they just brought the Spirit with their testimony and from Jamaican to Jamaican it really does make a difference. Chris, our former investigator, has been talking about getting baptized to all the members but he still wasn't talking to us ... apparently he wanted to "come as he is" and just get baptized, but he learned it doesn't work like that. In an inspired event from the Lord, we ran into him on the street and he talked to us just like old times. Hopefully we'll see him take that step before we leave here. We also met taught Codner, whose brother just died, and Errol, a humble older gentleman who just wants a church family to help support him so he can sort out his life before its too late.

Highlights of the week include Sis. Speakman calling a random number in our phone, assuming it was an investigator, and it turning out to be a member ...

Speakman: "I've been there every Sunday, where have you been?"

Biggs: "Where have YOU been?"

It was priceless. One of those "you had to be there" moments.

I've learned a lot, as always. I'm in Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. I never thought I'd make it through 1 Kings! But I've gained some good insights about how God truly is the same yesterday, today and forever ...

check out 2 chron 26:18 -- totally talking about priesthood authority! and 2 chron 36:15-16 - totally describing the apostasy cycle! and 2 chron 32:31 is my favorite - talking about how the Lord isn't always going to lead us by the hand, sometimes He tests us and tries us just to see what we'll do -- i reread that one a few times... I read through Job this morning - there's some good stuff in the Old Testament, man! You just gotta get through all the geneology and random jazz to find it.

I got a chance to read out of a J-Dub bible this week - everytime in the Old Testament that it says Lord, theirs says Jehovah. A couple verses I looked up were totally changed - not even the same as in the King James Bible. I guess its easier to further your religion if you just change God's word to suit your own needs ... ridiculous. That is the one denomination, I would say, that has been the most antagonistic/prideful toward us missionaries ... strange, considering they're also the only ones that go door to door like us. You'd think they'd have some Christian fellowship understanding or something for proselyting and trying to get out your message ... but they don't. I digress.

I talked to a pentecostal guy that believes in "getting in the Spirit" and "speaking in tongues" and all that stuff. I busted out scriptures in the Bible about the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and about tongues being other actual languages and that there always has to be an interpreter ... he straight up looked me square in the eyes and said "God made the Bible for all nations - those verses are what you take out of it, and that's good for you .. but they're not for me" ... .... ... I was dumbfounded. Moral relativism if I've ever heard it. I didn't even know what to say. Crazy.

Had a great experience though lastnight, doing roleplaying with the Morrisons for Tasamo's mission prep. Pres. Morrison pretended to be Hackman (lol) the angriest scariest door approach ever. And you know what? The Spirit was present! We shared a scripture, bore testimony, and he agreed to take a tract ;) It was a neat experience, to see how the Spirit really can work in any situation if we let it.

The love of God is the greatest love there is - it literally makes the world go round. I've pondered about love over the past week ... charity, real pure eternal love that never ends. I want more of it. I have felt greater love from God than from any other source, and that's because He is perfect. Consequently His love is perfect too. I'm beginning to understand for the first time how charity envieth not, seeketh not her own, is not puffed up ... etc. Any other source of love has flaws -- the love may not always be present or be felt ... it may fade over time or it may be motivated by unrighteous desires ... but REAL love, God's love, is deeper than that. It has no flaw. If we can find constant access to that kind of love, to the point where we're feeling it everyday, our love for those around us will grow exponentially along with our confidence, our righteous desires and choices, and our commitment to follow our Savior.

I know that this gospel is true. I know it with all my heart. Jesus Christ always pleaded with us -- "come unto me" ... we come unto Him by following His gospel. It is that simple. And of course, it's hard. It requires we humble ourselves, put aside selfishness, work through fears and anxieties, sacrifice comforts, and move forward with faith. Of course it's hard for us, because it was hard for Him. "The Son of Man hath descended below all things - art thou greater than He?" I love Jesus Christ. He is my Redeemer and He is yours. I know He loves you because I have felt His love for me.

All the best until next week,

Sister Payne

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