What an amazing past couple of weeks. I apologize for not writing because of other matters that needed to be taken care of. I am so thankful for the miracles that have taken place throughout my mission! Even now when there is 'little time remaining" the Lord continues to permit me to fulfill my purpose!
I think I have mentioned Mark Minium before. We have had a really hard time getting in touch with him, since he has been spending all his time trying to find a more suitable job. He has been working at a car rental shop near the airport. The problems with his job are:
1. He works evenings, which gives him little to no time with his son, Chris.
2. With his wife leaving him due to a drug addiction, he no longer has a second income and he can not provide with his income.
Like I said, Mark has been really busy. We occasionally would talk to him on the phone, but we had not been able to sit down and talk to him for about two weeks. All of his searching began to pay off on Wednesday (16th of March). Mark had a job evaluation with Waffle House to see if he was fit to be the store manager. On Thursday 17th of March, as Mark walked into his work, his boss pulled him into his office and told him that he was fired. Mark was surprised by this, but he told us the first thing that came to his mind was, "I now have the 19th off. The Elders had spoken to me about some 'special baptismal service' on that day." The second thought was, "The Lord has closed one door and is about to open another door at Waffle House." As Mark was driving home after being fired, he received a phone call from Wendy's. Mark had previously applied for a position, but they did not hire him because they did not have an opening. As he spoke to the representative from Wendy's they explained that a manager position opened up at Wendy's and they asked him to come and apply for the position. This really excited mark that things were looking up even though he had just lost his job.
Thursday night Mark called us to share the miracle that occurred with God closing one door, but then opening two other doors. We shared in his excitement and then he asked us about the "special baptismal service" that was supposed to be occurring the following day. Unknown to him, it was the baptismal date we had invited him to prepare for when we first met with him about a month ago. We asked him if we could stop by and explain everything the following day. I called up Elder Seamons, our faithful zone leaders, and explained the situation and he asked "Elder, How's your faith?" I replied I knew that God could perform a miracle. He said I need you to find me a ride from Seneca so you and I can go teach Mark. I accepted and went to bed.
Friday morning I started calling members trying to see if someone would be willing to drive me to Seneca to pick up Elder Seamons. We got in contact with Brother Grant. He said he would be willing to drive me. We went and picked up Elder Seamons and then Elder Seamons and I went to Mark's house. The Spirit was so strong as we taught Mark. Elder Seamons explained that the "special baptismal service" was for him and that he could still make it, since he has been to church twice. Mark accepted and we proceeded to teach him ALL of the lessons in one sitting. :) It reminded me of Ft. Jackson Military Post. After teaching him, Elder Seamons interviewed him and he passed his baptismal interview! After teaching him, we called up the Bishop explained everything and then called Brother Porter, our ward mission leader. They were both stunned, but they said we could proceed with the baptism! As we spoke to Mark, he explained that he would not be able to attend church this on Sunday, the 20th, since he had his second day of the job evaluation for Waffle House. He explained that if he got the job, he would have to work the following Sunday, but then after that he would be able to set his own schedule. We spoke to President McConkie and since he now has the keys to confirmation, he felt it was the less of two evils to confirm Mark a member of the church at the water side instead of having him wait another two weeks before he could receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!
Saturday, March 19th, was an exciting day as we prepared everything for the baptism. Mark arrived all dressed in his Sunday best and we had Tai Guam, an Elder of the church who is about to leave on his mission, perform the baptism. I was honored to confirm him a member of the church! It was a miraculous miracle. We started the week thinking we would not have a baptism, but the Lord provided the way that I was able to bring one more soul unto Christ on my last weekend as a full-time missionary!
I love this work! It never ends. I know Christ can heal all wounds. Witnessing the change of Mark has been great. Here was a man who was depressed and discouraged, with no hope when his wife left him, who is now a man of honor committed to following the Savior and willing to help others receive the restored truth like he has. I know the Gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know God loves us and answers prayers. He answered Joseph Smith's as he searched for truth. He answered mine as I sought to know of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and He has and will continue to answer those who humbly come to him with a sincere desire to know if the Gospel has been Restored. I love you all! I will see you soon enough, until then, there is still much to be done!