(Sorry I am late getting this posted. I have pictures to add but will have to do that later)
Ok wow so this week has been pretty intense. I'll start with the best highlights of the week. Kevin got baptized! It was all pretty scattered that morning because we were trying to get so much done and making sure everything was ready. Then the baptism started and the spirit totally entered the room. Kevin had a lot of family there that aren't members, so they were able to feel of the importance of baptism. The talk on baptism was super powerful and totally set the stage for the baptism. Then Kevin went into the baptismal font with his uncle. I could hear a lot of his family start to cry and the powerful words "Having been comissioned of Jesus Christ" were said. Then Kevin was baptized and came up crying. It was seriously such an amazing moment to watch him making all the right decisions and to be able to feel the spirit testify of its importance. Kevin's grandma, after watching that, seems like she is ready to start taking the discussions, and I feel confident that she will be baptized. It was awesome to see the amazing ordinance and the effects of one person's righteous decisions.
After the baptism, Kevin's girlfriend gave an inspired talk about the Holy Ghost. She talked about the love and comfort that it had given her through the challenges in her life, and it really set the stage for him to propose shortly after the baptism. It was one of the best days on my mission.
Then with Jake we had a whole bunch of lesson with him. On Thursday we had a lesson with him and talked a lot about sacrifice and gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet and the Book of Mormon as the word of God. This has been a huge struggle lately because he wants to be baptized and says he will be baptized, but is struggling to gain a testimony of its truthfulness. He set a new baptismal date for December 7th and he says that he will definitely hit it.
Then on Friday we had another lesson with Jake and decided to teach the last 2 things that he needed to know before baptism. One of them was follow the prophet, so we were talking about that and Elder Evans asked, "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" Then the reply came. "Yes"! Quickly my mind started thinking, "Did he not hear the question?", "Is he messing with us?", "We better ask again". Again, "Do you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" The reply was the same, "Yes". Next, "Do you know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God?" Again the reply was "Yes". So we finished it off with "Do you know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world", and one last time we heard the word "Yes"! Then I heard the word yayyyyyy shriek from my mouth. Although I tried to hold it back I was just too happy. Jake finally has a testimony of the gospel and is ready to be baptized. It was so awesome.
He actually realized that as he was writing a blog post for one of his friends who runs a blog about Mormons. He wrote it from the perspective of an investigator and kept writing the erasing it. Finally after rereading Alma 32, he started to pace and came to the realization that "This is true to me". He finished the blog post and now has a testimony of the restored gospel.
Then on Saturday our dinner appointment cancelled, so Jake took us out to eat. We had a super fun dinner and got to talk about a lot of fun things. Jake has probably become the best friend that I have in Oklahoma, and we have a blast talking together. After dinner I reflected back on the dinner that there had been no promptings to teach him the gospel and no promptings to bear testimony on a topic. I realized that Jake had become spiritually self-sufficient. He now has a strong testimony, and although he needs me as a friend just as much as I need him, he no longer needs me as a missionary. I got the call the next night that I'm leaving this area.
It's crazy to look back on the last 6 months and wonder what I've accomplished and if I did enough. I can't completely answer either of those questions, but this has been an incredibly uplifting experience. Kevin was baptized, Jake is ready for baptism and I get to baptize him, and Pam is also ready for baptism and I get to confirm her. It is really sad to know that I'm leaving, but it has been a blast and I love the ward here. There were a lot of other great things that happened this week, but this has been a good ending to my time in the Village Ward. I didn't mention Pam enough because it has been amazing to be part of her confirmation as well. I can't wait for Pam and Jake to be baptized and I'll definitely come back for those and send pictures.
Anyways, I guess this is the life of a missionary. What matters most is the wonderful people you get to be around, and I have been really fortunate.
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week. Keep up the good prayers because they make a difference for us.