Remember the family I talked about last week that seemed to have a lot of potential? With the grandfather and the little grandkids that don't know very much about God? Well, turns out they have a LOT of potential. We had a great lesson with this week with Martin and Elizabeth (the grandparents). The couple explained to us that God had been working wonders in their home since we showed up--their son that was into gangs decided to change his life and go to college, Elizabeth felt less pain from a medical problem she has, and they said the whole spirit of their home has improved (the last occupant of the trailer prayed to the Santa Muerte and they said they've felt and seen some eerie stuff).
Elizabeth kept telling us about herself and their family, and she expressed that she and her husband have never been married in a church, which was her dream. She said she wanted to have a marriage that was recognized by God, to make a solemn commitment to her husband, to have something that "seals" them together as she put it. Elder Vasquez and I both knew at that point they needed to hear about eternal marriage. While I don't think they grasped the full significance, they really liked that and said that's what they want.
They came to church yesterday, stayed the whole three hours, and loved it. They both said they want to come regularly, and Martin said afterwards, "I can't believe how many years we wasted going to [our previous church], we hardly learned anything. And in yours we learn so much!" Especially considering we found them on a street Elder Vasquez had knocked 3 times previously, this family is really a miracle.
We also had an experience last night that made me reflect. We stopped by a part-member family and taught the non-member father, Benito, who has been receiving the missionaries for about a year. He wants to get baptized and really likes the church, but he's not married to the member he's living with. Almost every time we went by this transfer we just read something out of the Book of Mormon, asked if they were reading the scriptures and praying, and invited them to church. We knew Benito had already received all of the pre-baptism lessons, so we never bothered to do anything more. Last night we did the same thing as usual and read a chapter from 1 Nephi, but at the end, we asked Benito, "Have you ever prayed to know the Book of Mormon is true?" He said, "Yeah, I ask for help and guidance from God." We asked a few more questions to verify his understanding, and he started to express that he had never considered or heard of the need to pray about the Book of Mormon, and what he really wanted to know was which church is true.
I couldn't believe that this man who had been receiving missionaries for a year didn't understand the significance of the Book of Mormon or our message that anyone can know that this is Jesus Christ's true church through study and prayer. It showed me the importance of making sure that we and the people over whom we have a stewardship truly understand the basic principles of the gospel on an intellectual, spiritual, and practical level. Do we truly know what it means to repent? Do we understand what we promised God and what God promised us when we were baptized? When we went to the temple? Do we understand all of the requirements to go to the Celestial Kingdom?
I'm very grateful for the opportunity to study, teach, and strive to live the simplest principles and doctrines of the Gospel every day. I have seen, heard, and felt many things that testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I hope you all have a great week and feel the Savior's love!