Sunday, October 14, 2012
Becoming a New Person
The big thing for this week, again, is Julius! We had a wonderful lesson with him--we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost). God's Spirit was there! We were all alert and focused and felt warm and happy. We talked about how faith in Christ leads us to repent, and that a final and essential step in repentance is making a covenant with God, meaning baptism. We testified of how all the guilt of his past could be completely washed away and he could become a new person. We read from 2 Nephi 31 about how Christ set the perfect example by being baptized, and when Julius read that, he said humbly, "Even He humbled Himself and was obedient." The Spirit was so strong, and I nudged Sister Ballantyne as a green light, after which she invited him to follow Christ by being baptized. He quickly said yes, and then smiled. "I think that is the right decision for me. It's been a while. It's about time," he said, referencing that he felt it had been too long since he felt his life was devoted to God. He is really excited.
Also, he came to as many sessions of Conference as he could (three) and then told us afterwards that he "really felt the Spirit during those messages." That is amazing because he was able to recognize that he was feeling the Spirit and even articulated it to us. He had been having a hard time recognizing the Spirit when it was so obvious to us that he was feeling it... but he is resolving his own concerns. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and finding for himself the answers to his questions. He is awesome.
Also! He told us at that same lesson, "This week has been my first week without coffee." We haven't taught him the Word of Wisdom yet, but at church the previous Sunday he'd heard it mentioned that we don't drink coffee. He said, "I chose to try that out." He was really addicted but has began brushing his teeth every time he wants to drink coffee. Here, you know someone is doing well when they follow the Word of Wisdom without being nagged or even told! :)
The amazing thing about Julius is that he is not someone who was humble from the beginning. He's not someone who, after the first lesson, I knew was going to progress and "make it." Sometimes you know early on, but with him, I didn't. He is an educated man, a scientist, and he is choosing to humble himself before God. His entire countenance is changed from how it was when we first met him.
Conference was truly touching and inspiring. I took a lot of notes, and wish I had time to write about what stood out to me... maybe in later emails. We were blessed to have Zone Conference this week as well as General Conference, and I felt I was given exactly what I needed. I know that God speaks to us through a prophet. Without a doubt, Thomas S. Monson has been called of God to be God's mouthpiece. He speaks to us though him. God knows us personally and loves us.