Monday, October 11, 2010

Sister Roper's Baptism

Dear Family,
Another preparation day! Wahoo! (Not) Time seems to just go and go. I need to find somehow to slow time down. I can't believe we are almost half way through the month of October. Before we know it, it will be Halloween, then Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day....Enough with that thought.

This week we had some interesting experiences. One man we met this week told us that he did not want to discuss religion and I made the mistake by asking him, "Why are there so many churches?" This man was crazy! :) He referred to me as "slim" and he told me over and over that I know too much. After following us down the street and repeating the same sentence repeatedly, "Slim over here knows too much," he then proceeded to invite me to join the armed services, go over to Iraq, and when the guns start firing at me, I should not duck and lie down, I should stand there and take it like a man. In his mind he thought I knew everything about the gospel and that I should speed up my death day because this man knew I was going to heaven. It made me laugh, initially, because I had never heard anything like that before, but then the thought made me very sad for that crazy old man for he knows no concept of "enduring to the end." I hope the Lord will enlighten that man's understanding someday.

Another interesting experience was when Elder Ernst and I went to a less-active members home to teach her four unbaptized children. The children are ages 14 (twin girls) and 11 (girl) and 9 (boy). To begin teaching, I asked one of the 14 year old girls "everyone has a different mindset of what and who the missionaries are. When you think of missionaries, what do you think of?" The young lady responded, "You really want an honest answer, when I think of missionaries, I think GO AWAY!" That was the beautiful opening to one of the hardest lessons I have had on my mission. The less-active mother grew up very strong in the church and she assumes her daughters already know everything (when in reality they do not) and then on top of that, it was like pulling teeth to have the children participate. I don't know what is going to come from this, but we are going to go back over and try again. I could really use some help knowing how to get 14 year old girls to open up. I think if we get the oldest kids to open up, then the two younger children will open up as well.

While at the base, a member pulled me aside and said, "I think my friend wants to join the church, but I'm not sure." I walked straight over to his friend and said, "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by one holding the priesthood authority of God?" He responded immediately with "YES!" I think I surprised the member. He was in shock that the first words I would say to this soldier would be the invitation to be baptized. That member had an amazing experience, this is his second week at basic and yesterday he had the opportunity of baptizing two of his battle buddies. We are now going to get the three of them to work on the rest of their company! :) Also, Sister Roper, is stuck in Basic because she got injured (you would think you get out of basic sooner if you are injured, but with her they had to do all types of tests to see if she had the problem before she entered basic, or if it was something that happened while she was in basic training which would mean the army would have to pay for the surgery to get it fixed). As Sister Roper was waiting in basic for four months, we have been teaching her the gospel. Yesterday, Sister Roper was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a great privilege to witness that conversion. We had four baptisms at the Ft. Jackson Base.

At church yesterday Sister Connell came up to us and said, "you are coming to our cottage meeting tonight right?" I had completely forgotten about the cottage meeting. Every second Sunday of the month, the Connells open up their home and all members are welcome to bring their friends and neighbors over to have a gospel discussion. It's a great missionary tool that they use and we try to use it as well by getting our investigators over there as well. We did not have any investigators attend church, so after church we were praying and trying to find someone who would come with us to the cottage meeting. Elder Ernst received revelation to go and see a lady we met two and a half weeks ago. (How he remembered that far back, I don't know. I can't even remember what I had for breakfast.:) We stopped twenty minutes before the fireside and she welcomed us right in and we invited her to the fireside. She responded, "well then get out of my house so I can get ready!" We left and tried to invite another individual to the fireside and within 15 minutes this lady had washed her hair, changed her clothes and was all ready to go! She came to the fireside/cottage meeting and she really enjoyed it. The only difficult thing is that she works down in Columbia and it is hard to catch her here in Camden. We will continue to work with her and I know that if we follow the spirit throughout the teaching experience, just like Elder Ernst listened to know that she would come yesterday night, that she will accept the truths of the restored gospel.

Thank you for everything y'all do! I love the gospel and I will close until next week!
Elder Cowan

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