This week was jam packed with work to do. Elder Taukiuvea and I have been running around all week from lesson to lesson all over our area. We polished off our week with 36 lessons! Now I don't know what thing are like in other missions, but for me, this was a personal record. We have been giving it everything we've got in our area and we are seeing the blessings that come from our diligence.
Hercilio and Saquina are now planning their wedding for the 26th of November and are super excited for their baptism the following week. (I'm not sure if I mentioned that in my last letter or not).
Belmiro and Berendina both came to church this week, are both studying and understanding the Book of Mormon, and are really excited about baptism. They have strong testimonies that the Book of Mormon is true scripture and I have noticed a huge spiritual change in their lives. When we first met them, they didn't even know HOW to pray; now when we start the lesson, both are extremely excited to pray and talk with God. They almost fight to see who gets to open the lesson with a prayer. Their daughter, Nizia, is as adorable as ever and also LOVES to pray. They always tell us the funny stories about how at night she asks if she is allowed to talk with Heavenly Father. This family is so precious and has been changed already by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will be teaching them this week about the Law of Chastity, and I hope and pray that they will be willing to get married quickly so that their baptism can still happen soon.
Our other family that we were preparing for the 26th, Elizio and Clara... I got extremely upset with them this week when they told us that they need to push back their wedding until maybe February or January... They have been pushing their wedding back for about 8 months now and I don't know they will ever decide to keep the commandments and repent. We made it very clear that they need to repent, but they still just didn't care. We got really disappointed, really sad, a little mad, and got in their face a little, spit enough fire to just singe their eyebrows a little, and in the end we dropped them until they are ready to commit and repent.
On Wednesday this week we had a division and I walked with Elder Osorio in his area, and Elder Goes walked with Elder Taukiuvea in our area. It was a super good division and the most spiritual part was when we visited one of their new/golden investigators named Edel. He is one of the most wealthy men I've ever met here in Mozambique, one of the most intelligent people I've ever met in my life, and also the nicest and most family oriented person ever. When we sat down with him in his mansion, we began talking about the Plan of Salvation and he had a lot of great questions, and really understood and loved the answers that we gave him. At the end of the lesson, he told us that he knew the Book of Mormon was true, and then he proceeded to tell us about his experience with Prayer and the Book of Mormon. He told us that for the first 5 nights after the Elders first met with him, that he prayed diligently hoping for an answer, but never got one. He said that he started to get discouraged and when the Elders gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, he had more hope, and continued to pray for a few more days. Then he said that one night he prayed to know if these things were true- just like he had done before; if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and if the Book of Mormon was true, and if this Church is the TRUE church on the Earth today. He closed his prayer, and went to bed. He said that he was awoken in the middle of the night by a light in his room that startled him at first. He sat up and saw a man sitting at the foot of his bed, dressed in a white shirt and tie. The man stood up and walked out of the room. A little afraid, but also curious, Edel followed him out of his room, down the hallway, and into the living room that was completely illuminated by 3 other men, dressed the same way, sitting on his couches. The fourth man sat with his collegues, and Edel sat in the available chair. When he looked at the men, they didn't have faces but pure light radiated from them that made it difficult to look at them. They told him many things that he said he didn't remember, but the thing that he did remember, was that each of them testified of the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of all of the things that the missionaries were teaching him. He said he couldn't tell how long they had been there, if it had been 5 minutes or 5 hours, but they eventually left, and he woke up in his room. He said that he didn't know if it was a dream or if it had actually happened, but it felt real to him. He tells us that he felt a peace that he had never before felt. He sat up from his bed, grabbed his copy of the Book of Mormon, and began reading it. That it enlightened him. That he knew it was the word of God. He tells us that he knows that the things we have been teaching him are true. That he cannot deny them. And that he is a little scared that God has trusted him with this testimony. He is afraid that he will mess up in the future, that the Lord has trusted him with a great responsibility that he isn't sure if he will be able to fulfill. He told us that he needs to speak at church and testify of what had happened to him, and about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon- we told him that he can take a few minutes at Fast and Testimony meeting. As he told us his story, the Spirit was almost tangible in the room. The Spirit touched all of us that day, and strengthened my testimony that God answers prayers. He strengthened my testimony, and I know that he was telling the truth.
I know God lives. I know He speaks with His children. I know He loves us. He sent His Son to save us from sin. Christ showed us the perfect way to salvation. We have those restored truths today because of a living prophet. Joseph Smith was a true prophet- The Book of Mormon is evidence of that. Read it. Ponder about it. Pray and Plead about it. God answers prayers. This is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Elder Ryland Rash*
*note from mom - Again NO pictures or videos....not gonna lie...I am a tad bummed!