Well, this week was great. Our Wednesday was out of the ordinary. Our investigator Edgar's grandmother-in-law (who was a member, baptized in Salvador years ago) just passed away, and we are the only connection the family has had with the church in many years. Elder Gurr and I found them from a referral in the household, and we found out that the family are members. They have been less-active for a while and have moved in and out of several wards. We have been trying to get them to church but opposition has gotten in their way. We have given them priesthood blessings as well. So, when Emma, the grandmother, passed away, we were asked to come to the graveside memorial service and give the dedicatory prayer. We called for permission from President Lewis. We talked with Bishop Clegg, the bishop in the Spanish ward, and he organized and presided at the ceremony. Wednesday morning we headed over to the funeral home and sat while the family gathered in the chapel around the casket. We followed the hearse to the cemetery. It was a cloudy day. At the graveside, we sang a couple hymns and family members said a few words about Emma. Bishop Clegg taught about the plan of happiness and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was powerful. After that I stood and offered the dedicatory prayer. It was simple, but I felt the Spirit. I hope that what was said and taught will have the power to turn the hearts of the family to the gospel. The knowledge of the plan of salvation will comfort their souls. I am so happy that Edgar and his family have made the decision to be baptized and active in the church. The path is difficult but it is so worth it.
Other than that, nothing too exciting to report on. Something that I realized this week was the very real opposing power of Satan. That scumbag does everything he can to stop the children on God from making lasting righteous choices. It's hard to tell a progressing investigator that the road they're on is for their good when so many bad things happen to them. They have financial struggles, a death in the family, they can't hold on to their house, they have car problems. All these things happen just as they start to read their scriptures, pray, come to church, and commit to make the sacred covenant of baptism. Opposition comes without fail; if it doesn't there is something wrong. That is the test, will they continue on the path of exaltation, or take the smooth highway of least resistance?
I do not envy the place of new converts in the church. Their struggles as they learn and do new things, essentially begin a new life-style, is extremely challenging. But the Holy Spirit will help them overcome all things. I love to share Alma 7:10-12, about Jesus Christ.
Because of His suffering during the Atonement, Jesus Christ knows how to "succor His people." The meaning of "succor" is "running to aid." He experienced all of the pains, the sickness, the sadness, the grief, the heartache, the suffering that we will ever feel. Because of that we can seek comfort and spiritual healing from Jesus Christ. It is because of that eternal truth that I love my calling as a missionary - to turn people to Christ. I know that He lives.
Elder Chris Andrew
California Sacramento Mission
8267 Deseret Ave
Fair Oaks, CA 95628