This week had movement in the forward direction. The Sorn family is a house that consists of nearly 20 members, all the children and spouses and grandchildren of a first generation couple. Every member of their immediate family and their spouses are active members of the church. All but one. Lom is the husband of a recent convert who I taught and baptized named Phalla. She is the last daughter (of this first generation couple) to receive the gospel. But her husband Lom continued to live in Seam Reap with his extremely Buddhist family that hates all Christians. Five weeks ago he came to visit because he missed his wife and kids who had come to live with her parents to enjoy the blessings of the gospel. I had heard much of him from his family about how he had a hard heart due to family pressures on the other side, and when we met him the first night he got up and left the room when we said "Jesus." While here he had a dream that his wife and kids were separated from him and he woke up in tears clutching his wife. He told her he doesn't want to be separated from her ever again. When we came to a Family Home Evening activity at this family's house two weeks ago he agreed to begin learning after a wonderful lesson by his return missionary brother-in-law. The next day we came over and taught the first lesson. He agreed to pray and read and I felt extremely happy at this huge step he had taken. I could see the joy emanating from his wife as we taught. The next lesson as we taught about Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation and shared the doctrine of eternal families through the ordinances of the Gospel I felt inspired to invite him to be baptized. To our surprise he agreed to be baptized on the. The spirit was fire in our hearts. As we met this last Friday he expressed a conflict in his heart as to which God was real, his family's God or his wife's God. I told him straight out that the ONLY way to know of spiritual truths is through humble and sincere prayer to the source of all truth. God, our Heavenly Father. He re-doubled his commitment to pray so that he can find out for himself. And now we wait. Due to the Holiday, Pchum Bon, He and his whole family went to visit extended family in Seam Reap so we will have another opportunity to follow up and meet him this Tuesday. I'll keep you posted.
Power = Faith + Obedience
I learned, through the spirit, of the importance of full consecration of my Heart, Might, Mind, and Strength. My desires need to be the desires of the Father. I need to let my will be swallowed up in his will. Only then, only when I "forget myself and go to work" will I be able to gain the spiritual progression that a mission offers. It requires more than a willing heart. It requires more than faith. The Lord asks for our ALL. He doesn't ask for a branch here and a branch there, a few leaves if possible, He wants the whole tree. Root and all. My life is His. My desires are His. I am His.
I have learned enough about agency to know that the best use of it is when it is aligned with the Father. But he doesn't only ask for my labor in this mission. He asks for my heart.
Thenwe had another fantastic Miracle. Here is the story: The sisters gave us a referral a few weeks ago which we were never able to contact until she showed us his house and we found out that he had moved to another province. So we talked to his wife but she didn't show much interest. In an effort to follow up, we went to this house again the next week but it was raining and the lady was screaming at someone. So looking for shelter from the storm and the falling water, we went to the next house to find a 25 year old man who hurriedly invites us into his house. While there we contact him and he expresses a desire to learn. He shows up at church and English class before we even teach him. then we meet him at his house a few days later and he accepts the invitation to read and pray and expresses a sincere desire to repent and be baptized. So we meet him again and he continues to progress and agrees to be baptized on . Now to . We go over there to meet him but he isn't home, however his mom is and in an effort to have small talk she asks: "Well he's not here so now what?"
Feeling inspired I reply that we can share our message with her instead. She agrees and sits down. We have a lovely and powerful discussion on our Heavenly Father and his love for families and his children. At the end of the lesson we taught her to pray and asked her to pray before we left. She agreed. Her prayer was short and simple. She said "heavenly father, please bless my family to have peace and love. Amen." When she finished she looked up with tears in her eyes and a deep desire written on her face. We asked her how she felt and through choked sobs she said, " I just want my family to have peace." The spirit we all felt at that moment was a testimony to everyone in the room that God is real. He is our father and he cares for every single child of His.
My final story of the day is of an offended less-active member that refused to go to church as long as the current leaders of the branch and district are still in office. After his release as first councilor in the Branch presidency five months ago he felt maltreated and angry at the leaders of the church. Me and my companions could not do anything for him. We listened and taught eternal principles but he still refused to go to church. One of his sons came from Seam Reap to help his dad get back but the bad vibes and condemning words of the father towards those leaders only weakened the resolve of his son. A daughter came from Phnom Penh to help but to no avail. Finally last week another one of his daughters came and talked to us about him and we gave our best advice we could think of.she called and told us Her father had promised to go to church the next day! Through the amazing prayers and efforts of the many and the sweet testimony of the one daughter, this man hardened by offence came to church . It was a Miracle. I am so blessed to be a part of this amazing work. Who could ask for more than the Lord has already given me? I am reminded of the Hymn that says, "With blessings unmeasured my cup runneth over." I know this is Heavenly Father's work. I know that people are ready every day to receive the gospel. I invite you to go forth and fulfill your responsibility as a representative of Jesus Christ and share your testimony today. There are so many ways to do it. Just pray as if all depended on the Lord and go to work as if all depended on you. The Savior is the lighthouse, but he has given us charge over the lights along the shore. You may rescue, you may save. I promise there is no greater joy than sharing this hope with others. Go forth! Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
With Love, Elder Lyle R. Brewer
p.s. I had a really funny conversation with this little kid in all whispers. It went like this:
Me: "what is your name?"
Me: "what is your favorite color?"
Dolla: "I already have a shirt!"
Me: "Oh... Okay sorry."
I still don't know how the two things were relevant....