I usually try and keep these emails short and sweet, but this week was just too good to me! The seemingly impossible is quite possible pala. This week was even better than last! Somehow life just continues to get better. I’m trying to throw as much joy and enthusiasm into this as I can without going overboard on the smiley faces and explanation points, but wow….. This week was the best!! :)
Vern. Today I will tell you of the miracle of Vern, from New Zealand. Buckle up (figuratively), this is a good one: We met Vern a few months ago at a car wash. We thought he was another rich guy getting his car washed, but it turns out he was just staying there because they were the only people that would give him a place to stay. In short, he had nothing. We referred him to the Nelsons (our favorite self-reliance couple missionaries) who gave him ten dollars (in pesos) which was enough for a month of housing. Out of the blue two weeks ago, he shows up wanting to know more about our church. He gives the Nelsons his story. He used to be a Catholic Bishop – that’s a big deal! Was kicked out of the church for refusing to work with men he knew to be pedophiles, moved to the Philippines and found a wife who later cheated him of all his money until a few years later he ends up at that car wash with absolutely nothing. When he wanted to learn more, the Nelsons made an appointment for us to teach him with them there…
We started to teach and he had many questions, I mean, he was a Catholic Bishop! But he very easily agreed with everything we shared with him. It clicked so easily in his head. We had a good lesson and we asked if he could come back on Friday but he said he wasn't sure about his schedule and didn't seem too sure he’d come soon. Well we gave him a Book of Mormon and he left…. THE VERY NEXT DAY, he goes to the church and tells the Nelsons he wants to meet on Friday. Yes!
Friday… We meet and he basically talks to us for half hour about him reading the Book of Mormon, questions, etc. He said he needs to finish the Book of Mormon because in three days he’s “only read half of it”! Wow! Haha he said it’d only be two thirds as long if they found a different way of saying “And it came to pass.” He says that we’re his friends and that he really does pray for us, that we will be continually sustained by God. We talked about a lot, ending with authority and us boldly, but lovingly affirming that a person must be baptized in our church, etc. He said that “when” he joins the Church, it’ll be hard to leave it all behind. Ah, it was great!
Saturday it got better. We were expecting Vern to come to Priesthood session and me, Elder Madsen and Elder Nelson are all waiting for him and we got so excited when he walked up! Priesthood session starts and what’s the very first talk? Elder Oaks gets up there and basically says, “I’m going to talk about Priesthood keys and authority.” What did Vern have questions about? Keys and authority. Every other talk after that mentioned something we had talked about the day before. It was absolutely perfect! We were in awe as we listened to Elder Oaks speak directly to Vern. At the end of the session, he gets up and says, “I've missed hearing a good sermon like that” So great. Us three (Me, E. Madsen + E. Nelson) were like three kids on Christmas morning when Vern left – dancing around, wacking each other on the arm as we were shouting out every single thing that went absolutely perfect. Ah, so happy! Elder Nelson’s comment made it all the better when he said, “Isn't it great? We’re not even doing anything! Just watching it all happen.” The Lord is so merciful and rewarding to His servants.
I love you, hope you will make the effort to have the same joy I do - through missionary work!
Elder Shane Brown
By the way, conference was amazing. I'm sure it always has been, it's just taken me 20 years to appreciate it.
1. Us so excited about Vern!
2. Eating lunch with the Nelsons
3. Went to Masbate this week (one of the bigger islands). It's Rodeo there right now. Every one was dressed in their finest cowboy get-up. Loved it. This is me waving my non-existent hat in the air.