It has been quite a crazy week! Hermana Johnson has arrived. I’m officially a mama!!! JK. But really. She is such a sweetheart. She is from Phoenix Arizona, is also 19, and did one semester at BYU before coming here. She’s a doll. I’m seriously already learning so much from her! Sidenote: her cousin (whom she has not seen in like, 6 years) is in our zone!! So basically that’s really cool.
But anywho, last night was probably the highlight of the week for me. We had an absolutely INCREDIBLE lesson with none else but the Marvelous Melani and Mighty Mario. Honestly, I think it was a lesson for me more than for anyone else… really, it all came down to Mario’s incredible testimony. It went a little something like this…
“You know what hermanas, when I first joined the church, I started doing all the things you guys invited us to do because I think I just felt obligated to. I stopped working on Sundays because you said it was a sin. I read the scriptures because I knew you would come asking if we had. I paid my tithing even though we really needed that money. I was pretty sure fasting was just like a diet for God. But you know what I found???
It’s not really about any of that. It’s about bringing ourselves closer to God. It’s about submitting our will to His and reconciling ourselves with Him. And you know what? I could never have imaged the blessings and joy we have received from doing so. I have never felt so close to the Lord in all my life.”
At this point in the lesson I had tears streaming down my face. I knew that I was looking at a TRUE disciple of Christ. When he saw my tears, he continued…
“THIS is the feeling. This is the same feeling I had the first time you guys invited me to repent.”
I don’t have words to explain exactly how he described that night of his repentance, but it really did remind me of the great experience of Alma the younger (Alma 36:18-21). He felt joy, light, love, and the spirit. He recognized His Savior and was able to be reconciled with God. He told us that when he experienced that, his way of thinking became different. THAT is true repentance.
In Preach My Gospel, it says that as we repent, our view of God, of ourselves, and of the world changes. I know that to be true. Mario felt that change. And he continues to see it still every time he obeys the commandments and makes decisions to please the Lord and to grow closer to Him. As our wonderful mission president, President Williams, has said, “this life is not about you. It’s about the Lord.” How true I have found that to be just in these first few months of the mission. We do what the Lord wants us to accomplish. HIS work. But how joyful it is to be a part of it. These sweet converts remind me every day why I’m here, what love is, and how to put The Lord first.
Thanks for reading another week on the MARIO EXPERIENCE! I promise, we’re looking for new investigators! Pronto.
Love you all,