Let me tell you a story.
Obed was taught by Spanish missionaries over a year ago. He met a few times and then deiced to not listen anymore. He threw his Book of Mormon on a shelf and moved on with his life. Months later, two missionaries knocked again on his door. This time they were sisters and this time they were representing the young single adult congregation. In conversation they learned that Obed had been taught before and that he knew about the church. They invited him to learn once more and he accepted. The sisters talked with the Spanish elders and it was deiced that YSA would be the best fit. Honestly, at the start, Obed was quite the flake. He wouldn’t show up to appointments and he didn’t answer his phone. The doorstep lessons late at night were his only connection to the church. This is where I come in. I got transferred into this area and the first night here we stopped by Obed’s house to see if he was home. He answered the door and we taught him a lesson. The change was slowly starting to happen. Over the next few weeks we had some lessons and invited him to be baptized. He always said yes- but then would never come to church or do the things necessary to become a member. One night we stopped by after having a strong feeling from the spirit that we should. He was home and distraught about something. We learned of a crime that had been committed and the consequences of that action. This night is when everything changed. God has a way of helping us see what is really important. Obed changed that night. Soon we were meeting and teaching and seeing Obed’s face sparkle with light and understanding. Sister Vincent got transferred in and she felt an immediate connection with him. We taught him about the word of wisdom and the next day Obed quit drinking coffee, alcohol, doing drugs and smoking. He never relapsed or looked back. He struggled with tithing because of his living and working situation. Suddenly he realized that God gave him a way to pay tithing, he could use all the money from the drugs and drinks that he no longer bought. Obed had great faith in Christ. When he got cleared to be baptized, regardless of his past, we all cried with joy. Obed is my fist bump friend, my Spanish convert and a miracle to me. He wanted us to know Spanish so Sister Vincent and I started giving up our lunch hour so we could study and learn for him.
I asked Obed why he wanted to get baptized. He told me that he wanted to be clean. He wanted to start over and he wanted the new Obed. When I told him that we were so proud and that I had seen the change and I knew that he truly was a new Obed, he responded by telling us, “you sisters should be proud of yourselves. If it wasn’t for you I would have never know about the gospel. I would have never known how to change and choose to be new. Sister Huber, I was lost and you found me.”
After his baptism was completed Obed came into the room a new person. He stood in front of the room and bore his testimony. He had invited his entire family and his mom and siblings had all come. They knew nothing of the church and were just there for support. Obed stood in front of them and wept as he told of his story. He said how hard it was for him growing up because of the situations and circumstances he was in. He said he couldn’t be accountable for some things that happened because he didn’t know better and was put in those places. He then said that now he was grown and could make his own choices. He said he no longer had to live like that because now he knew. He wept as he talked of how Christ was everything to him. I was sobbing along with his entire family and most of the room. He truly was a new Obed. At church on Sunday he was confirmed and given the Holy Ghost. In his blessing he was told that he would be the example as his family joined the church. In YSA we might not get to teach and baptize families but I know that Obed is the pioneer and that his whole family will join. Obed’s mom came up to us after and in her Spanish she cried and thanked us over and over for helping her son. I couldn’t understand most of what she said but I felt her humble gratitude so strongly. I was overcome at the chance to help. That is what I get to do out here. I get to help. I get to help people become new. Sister Vincent and I bore our testimonies in Spanish in the program for Obed and his family. What a wonderful powerful way to bear testimony when you only know a few words. I am humbled by Obed and by his devotion and pure faith.
This day was a turning point for me as well. Something has changed within me. I think I am finally beginning to see. When I took the sacrament this Sunday, which my dear friend Robert passed to me for the first time, I felt something so strongly inside of me. I felt overcome at the power and simplicity of this gospel. In that moment my vision was crystal clear and I understood. I understood who I was and who God was. I understood life and all of the trials. I understood what it meant to be happy. I understood all the whys I have ever asked. Just for that moment. In my day to day journey I am not given that clarity very often, perhaps never to that extent, but I am still given enough understanding to move forward. And understanding comes as I pour out my heart and soul and plead to understand. This mission is one step in coming to know.
In Moroni 7:5 says: For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. Robert shared this with me this week. It is his favorite. This is why he joined the church. He told me I was good. He said that when I bear my testimony my face turns red and my jaw turns white. He always looks for that because he said when I look that way he knows I mean every single word I say. He said that means I am giving everyone my heart and that I am proclaiming what I know to be true with emotion. He said I looked that way at the baptism and I am grateful to be reminded for someone else that me testimony holds power.
The gospel will change you if you let it. It will make you new. Don’t doubt it or you will have to answer to me and Obed.
Love you all,