Saturday, June 3, 2017

Joyfully Entering In At The Gate

Through the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, you were born again into a new life. The Savior said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (​John 3:5​). Just as an infant enters a new existence at birth, you began a new life when you entered into the baptismal covenant. You can grow in spirituality and become more like the Savior by keeping your baptismal covenant, partaking of the sacrament to renew your covenant, and repenting of your sins. The Apostle Paul taught that when we have been baptized, we “should walk in newness of life” (​Romans 6:4​).

​​​​Now that you are baptized and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, you must continue in righteousness, for these ordinances mark only the beginning of your journey back to dwell with your Heavenly Father. The prophet Nephi taught:

​​​​“After ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with ​​unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

​​​​“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (​2 Nephi 31:19–20​).

Elders Hansen, Payne, Beka who was baptized in April with Sisters Pena and McDonald

Dave Crawford's story (Sister Carr and Sister Fenton)

20 years in the Making: Dave

Nearly 20 years ago two Mormon missionaries were out driving around Corry, Pennsylvania when they felt prompted to stop by a specific house. A man named Dave answered the door and invited the elders in. He listened to their message. Dave continued to meet with the missionaries and work towards baptism. As the date of Dave's baptism drew closer, he just didn't feel like it was the right timing. Fast forward to 2017, 20 years later and several other religions later, 70-year-old Dave found himself being drawn to Mormonism again. He plopped onto<> and requested a free bible be delivered to his home, knowing full well that two Mormon missionaries and a copy of the Book of Mormon would come along with it.

And sooooooo, that's how we found ourselves sitting in the home of the spunkiest 70 year old we've ever met. Dave met with us regularly and rapidly progressed towards baptism.

BUT that's not even it! After falling out of contact for years, Dave FINALLY found the missionary that taught him 20 years ago on Facebook. Dave sent his old missionary a  message that basically said something along the lines of this: "Hello! You look like one of the missionaries that taught me years ago. I just wanted to let you know that I'm planning on being baptized May 10. Before I tell you this you???"

Dave's old missionary, Sheridan aka Elder Petersen, was shocked and thrilled to hear from the man he had taught 20 years earlier. Sheridan shared his side of the story with us later. He said that he had searched for Dave for the last 20 years on Facebook. But a few weeks earlier he had felt prompted to change his profile picture on Facebook to a picture of him right after he returned home from his mission. That's how Dave was able to find him- because he recognized his picture from 20 years ago! A few weeks later Sheridan was able to fly out to Pennsylvania from Wisconsin to baptize Dave.

Since his baptism Dave has visited the hospital several times. He has a serious heart condition. When we first met him he said, "God is keeping me alive for a reason and I really think this is it!"  God has been preparing Dave to receive the restored gospel for years. He now carries restoration pamphlets around with him everywhere he goes and he'll be attending the temple for the first time next week. In two short months, we have come to absolutely adore this jolly, spunky grandpa man! He's a bundle of humor, sincerity, and kindness.

We are so grateful that we got to be a part of this last chapter of his story. Neal A. Maxwell once said, "Faith in God includes faith in God's timing."

Sister Aubrey Fenton

Elder Daines, Hailey baptized by Elder Montgomery 

Elder Herzog, Dorothy, who was baptized in May 2017 by Elder Nelson, also taught by Elders Condie and Halls

Elder McCally baptized Iris, assisted by Elder Aguinaga 

Elder (and Sister Canaan not pictured), Elder Wang, Elder McCally, Iris, Elder Aguinaga, Elder Bates and Elder Spencer

Elders Cook (shown here) and Kotter taught Aiden and Austin baptized March 2017

Elder Daines, Alex, Elder Afungia and Bill

Alex was baptized by Elder Daines 

Joshua Lytle baptized Terry taught by Elder Goulding and Elder Nelson

David was taught by Elders Rucker and Huff and baptized by Elder Huff

"Will  is officially a member of the church. (; He studies for hours every day, and he's changed a TON, even from when we first started meeting with him a few months ago. The gospel brings him so much peace, and he's soo glad to have "joined the crazies," as he says it! I had the opportunity to
baptize him."  -Elder Richardson assisted by Elders Gardiner and Li

"Lynne has met with missionaries on and off since 1992. It took a while, but she has gotten a strong testimony of the gospel and loves the church! Elder Li baptized her."  - Elder Richardson 

Elder Nelson and Elder Taylor taught and baptized William

Sister Simmons and Sister Jackson taught Grant baptized this month.

Elder Kap and Elder Boyes taught Sharon 

Sisters Albrecht and Robison taught Anjanette baptized this month.

Elders Goulding and Aitken taught Ruby who was baptized by her father.

Sister's Nelson and Beckstrand with Richie!  jOY!

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