Hello friends and family! Good to be able to write you again this week. Hope everyone had a good week, especially Elder Pierce on his birthday.
First thing´s first: we´re going to have a baptism this week! Man oh man, I love when that happens. Their names are Domingo and Suni, and they have an 11-year-old son named Marcos who will also be baptized. The baptism will be on Thursday. We met them through the family of a less active member. We went to visit him, and his parents were there so we shared with them. They liked it and told us how to get to their house (I was going to put gave us their address, but silly me, there are no addresses in Paraguay!), so we went to find them and we did. One time when we were teaching them, their other son (who is Domingo) was there, and we started teaching him as well. He´s a great guy. We met his wife Suni the next visit, who is also incredible. They have 3 kids, and Marcos is the only one old enough to get baptized. They came to church without us having to go to look for them the past 2 weeks in a row, and on Sunday the branch president announced their baptism for Thursday. We have to marry them first, which will happen the same Thursday right before the baptism. We´re extremely lucky, because apart from people in Paraguay never wanting to get married (which they had no problem with), it´s hard to marry people in this country. We´ve been extremely blessed to be able to find this familiy and teach them the Gospel. I´ll let everyone know how it goes next week!
|Old Guy who punched my companion!|
What´s next...OH YEAH! Remember when I wrote a few weeks ago about the old guy who punched my companion??Well, interesting story with that guy and where he´s at now. This man has had years and years of missionaries visiting his family, and never once has he let any of them talk to him about the Gospel or Jesus. He is verrrrrry Catholic. He drinks almost every night of the week, and every time he drinks, he screams "NEVER NEVER NEVER!! I´LL NEVER BE MORMON!!" and stuff like that. He´s a hardcore dude - check the photo I sent in an email a few weeks ago. Well last week, he about died. They said that he was standing up outside watching the family play out front, and his eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out. The older boys carried him into the house, and they splashed water on his face and tried to get him to wake up. When he finally came to, they gave him water to drink. He was very weak and it scared him and his family half to death. That day, we felt like we should go visit them even though we hadn´t planned on it. They told us what had happened to him, and we offered to give him a blessing if he would accept it. We walked with his daughter into his room, and he was laying down in bed awake, but resting. We got there and he welcomed us in. He only speaks Guarani, so his daughter asked if we could give him a blessing. That sweet little old man (he was not the old grumpy guy from before) sat right up in his bed with his hands in his lap and looked up at us waiting for the blessing. My companion did the annointing and I sealed it and gave him the blessing. We sat down and sang him a hymn. We asked if we could share a scripture with him. And he accepted. When we started sharing at his bedside, his daughter would translate for us and she started crying. It was the first time after years that he had ever heard the restored Gospel. As she was talking to him, he started shaking and breathing really hard. I thought he was having some kind of attack, but instead, he started crying. He had felt the Spirit. We taught him a few days later about the Gospel and about his drinking, and without having to even ask, he invited us to come back. He denied the invitation to come to church on Sunday with us and his family, but he said he would like to hear more. He promised us that he would stop drinking. We went back yesterday to teach him, and the guy hasn´t even touched alcohol in almost a week - something he hasn´t done in more than 40 years. For reasons like this, I am a missionary. It is just more evidence to me that this Gospel is true, and that it changes even the most hardened lives.
Article of Faith number 10
"We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory."
This Article of Faith has a lot of Biblical and historical doctrine in it. It is based upon prophecy and promises given to the House of Israel. A brief history on the House of Israel for those who are unfamiliar.
Abraham had a son named Isaac. He was commanded to sacrifice him to test his faith and obedience. He was going to do it, but God sent his angel to say that he had proven his faith and could keep his son. Because of the obedience of Abraham, God made incredible promises to him. He promised him that his posterity would number greater than the sands of the seashore, and that it would be through his posterity that God would work His great work in the last days and bring the priesthood to all nations. Isaac had a son named Jacob, and Jacob´s name was changed to Israel. Israel had 12 sons, known as the 12 Tribes of Israel. Israel thus refers to 2 things - Jacob whose name was changed to Israel, and also to all of his posterity (known as Israel, or the House of Israel). The blessings given by God to Abraham will be carried out through the decendants of these 12 tribes. Some years later, when the posterity of the 12 sons of Israel had grown into a large people in their lands, the Babylonian empire captured and conquered their lands, and carried away the children of Israel into captivity and bondage. A king named Cyrus gave the order years later to free them and allow them to return to their homelands. However, only 2 of the tribes - which means 2 of the sons of Israel and all of their posterity - returned to the homes in their lands. The other 10 tribes went elsewhere and were scattered. The Lord has promised that in the last days before the second coming of the Savior, He will gather again the 10 lost tribes of Israel to their lands to usher in His last work, to fulfill the promises He made to father Abraham, and to finish the work of the salvation of men. Thus, in the Article of Faith of the Church, it says that we believe this will happen. Israel will be gathered. The 10 lost tribes will be restored. The immortality and eternal life of men will be brought to pass.
During the great second coming of our Lord, He will reign on the earth in righteousness and justice. There will be continual peace. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will fill the globe. Christ will have His kingdom on the earth, and He will be at the helm. He will reign for 1000 years, in an event and period of time called the Millennium. Zion - among other significances - refers to the city of God. His perfect, ideal utopia. All will be of one heart and one mind, a people of holiness who obey the commandments of God. This "Zion" will be established upon the American continent. Isaiah 4 makes reference to this. The word and the law will come forth out of Jerusalem and Zion (the New Jerusalem). With these 2 worldly headquarters established, the world will have continual peace for the space of 1000 years, during which Christ will reign as Lord of Lords and King of Kings upon His earthly kingdom.
After these 1000 years have passed, a few things will happen, of which I haven´t sufficient time to explain in great detail. Basically, we will all first be resurrected. Good and bad, women and men, children and adults. Our spirits will re-unite with our bodies (the same bodies we have now, not new bodies or new people) in their perfected and glorified sates, never to be seperated again. We will all be judged before Christ for our actions, thoughts, desires, and deeds. Then, based on the results of this judgement, we will receive place in 1 of 3 possible kingdoms of glory. The highest kingdom of glory is called the Celestial Kingdom. There live God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and - if we have met the necessary requirements - us with our families for time and all eternity. We believe that this earth will be cleansed, purified, and renewed as stated in the Article of Faith. This earth will be made into the Celestial Kingdom. There we will enjoy eternal happiness and peace in glorified states, together with our families never to be seperated again.
How great is the Lord, that He has constructed so perfectly a plan that assures our salvation and exaltation. There is a way that we can participate in and partake of ALL of the blessings that our Father in Heaven enjoys; we can do so eternally and without exception. All we have to do is obey. Makes you want to try a little harder, doesn´t it?