This week Shawn was baptized!!!! We also had Jackson the recent convert from Alaska baptize him! And the water heater broke!!! So the water was cold!! We have been working with Shawn for the last two months. He actually referred himself and read the Book of Mormon, then he got onto the chat and told them he wanted to to baptized. In fact the iPad Elder Layton is holding right now is skyping the sisters who he actually talked to. They got permission from President Dixon and their mission President. The confirmation went well and now we will start teaching him the new member lessons. The whole week was really just leading up to that and making sure nothing was forgotten, or left behind. Also, Jackson, the recent convert from Alaska that baptized Shawn, brought three non-member friends to the baptism. We were able to give two of them (one of the three was late) a tour of the church building and gave each a Book of Mormon and restoration pamphlet. One of them has actually come to church three times, yesterday was his third, and is interested in being taught. But, wants to wait another week or two before we start.
Another thing I have been thinking about is the story of Lehi's dream and how it is filled with so many doctrines and principles that can bless our lives. President Dixon actually talked about it in one of his recent letters.
In verse six and seven of chapter eight Lehi was visited by a man that bade him follow him leading him into a dark and dreary waste. Lehi traveled in that darkness for the space of many hours. Before my mission I hadn't thought very much about that darkness. But, Why would the angel lead Lehi through the darkness if the end goal was to have him partake of the fruit of the tree? Shouldn't it be all bright and happy like the rainbow road in Mario Kart? The darkness is the temptations and hard things and in Ether 12 we are told why we face them. "27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." And that is what Lehi did! in his vision. "And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field." Shawn, the one who was just baptized, has faced a ton of things that he has now overcome. The repentance process is so awesome.
Walking through the darkness caused Lehi to desperately need the Lord. The darkness led him to pray and seek for God's help. I have found that if people control their attitude and be optimistic about life than darkness, trials, and hard times are what often drive people to deepen their relationship with the Lord and to seek him more earnestly. That is exactly what happened to nearly everyone that I have been able to teach. Others I have worked with that did not progress did not do what Lehi did.
As soon as Lehi reached out to the Lord in faith he was able to behold the tree of life. In verses 10-11 it says, "And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted."
The tree represents the Love of God as manifest by his son Jesus Christ. Lehi experienced the atonement and grace of Jesus Christ when he partook of that fruit. I think the symbol of the fruit is very insightful. It was not enough for Lehi to just look at the tree. He had to actually act and partake of the fruit. The fruit of the gospel had to get deep down into his soul. As it did he was filled with joy!
In vs. 12, after Lehi partakes of the fruit, it shows us what a person that is filled with joy does afterwards. He seeks to share it, that is missionary work!
Anyway, this is disjointed because I have written at different times, but hey, happy president's day.
Anyway, we got pictures, one was a bush/plant/thing that looked like it needed a hug, one is Elder Layton with a mohawk that the wind was causing. Zone pictures and baptism. Also, Jackson, the guy in white on the left , is happy he just does not smile in pictures.