There aren't going to be any baptisms this week. Dang it! J and K are still struggle with smoking. We have tried everything that we have seen work in the past. They seemed to think that it would be easy since they had quit before and I worry that they didn't properly "fear evil". Proverbs 14:16 says "A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident." We need to work on that godly fear. Heavenly Father is clearly showing that He is aware of them and wants to help them though. Saturday morning we were able to go and visit them with our stake president and the visiting GA, Elder Stacey. We just sort of sat back and watched. These men spoke with such power. They gave J and K a blessing to help them quit smoking and talked about temple and family history work. They instructed us to follow up and teach the doctrines of redeeming the dead more in depth. We came up with a revised plan to help them quit smoking and we set them to be baptized on the 10th. Working with J and K has been one of the coolest experiences of my life. The hand of God has been so apparent throughout our meetings with them so far. I can't wait until they can be clean through baptism and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Our other J isn't getting baptized right away either. He started canceling appointments and hasn't made any progress toward quitting smoking. I guess he had a friend that moved in with him who is a bad influence. J's member friend said that he seems to be moving backward. We were a little bit glad to hear that it is his friend that is causing a regression though; we were worried that it was the switch from the sisters teaching him to us. Hopefully we can catch him before things get too out of hand and we lose him. He has a desire to change his life but doesn't seem to understand what it will take.
We had stake conference this week. It was so good. Elder Stacey was the visiting GA. He was just barely called as a Seventy last conference. He did a great job. He kept surprising people by calling them up to give a testimony. One lady told how a ward council had blessed her family and afterwards he got up and called upon each member of that ward council to get up and share their experience of how they had helped her. At one point the topic ended up on missionary work and I got very worried; we were sitting up front and he knew our names. Didn't get called on though, thank goodness.
We are still working on memorizing scriptures. It has been amazing how much of a difference it has made in our teaching. I always knew what the scriptures said and could teach the doctrines in them but actually being able to recite them and find the references has given us more power as we teach.
One thing I wish that everyone could understand is what our attitude should be toward sin. Sure we might have a desire to be better and to overcome it but do we take sin personally. We should actually fear and hate the sins that we struggle with. In the struggle for our soul we shouldn't just be calm and patient towards sin in our lives. When we fall short in dealing with a sin that we are struggling with it should be personally devastating. Sure we can still be forgiven but every time we sin we lose blessings that could have been ours and have to bear a weight that we could have avoided. Each sin doesn't just hurt us but also the people we could be helping. When we are personally invested in conquering sin then we will overcome it so much easier. It is part of aligning our will with God's. To Him it is no small thing when we are disobedient.
Big news: Ms. M called this week and said that she wanted to be baptized on Saturday. We had to tell her that it wouldn't work because of stake conference. Also, she hasn't been to church in a while and we aren't sure she understands the significance of baptism. But I'm dang excited that she felt ready. She has been really busy and out of town almost every week but things should start slowing down now. Yay!
I love you,