Dear Family and Friends,
It has been another event filled week here in Ashtabula, the temperature is getting pretty low but the work is started to really heat up! We had an amazing Christmas Devotional on Sunday night by the First Presidency that we were able to get one of our part member families to attend. Amongst the many blessings of this great week the one that stands crowning is the opportunity I had to baptize my friend Darryl Lynn Braden. We have been teaching this young man for the last two months and he has changed so much. Sunday we had the baptism after church. In my all white outfit I purposely wore one of my short sleeve shirts that I wore all summer biking in my first area as a token and reminder of all the days I worked so hard in the ghetto summer heat of East Cleveland. The shirt has a slight yellow tint despite my countless efforts to Clorox the life out of it, I know that is pretty gross but never the less it felt good to finally get down in the water and administer the ordinance of baptism with that raggedy old reminder on my back. We have been working like crazy with the youth in this area and projecting 4 more baptisms in the coming month as well as another this Sunday. I can't believe how much the Lord is blessing us, we have people to meet with all day long!
This week has truly been special for me. Tuesday night we had dinner at the home of Richard and Sue Smith and they gave me a Christmas present. Buried deep in the archives they got hold of a six-generation family record fittingly named "Our Prince Heritage". It had an account of my great great great Grandfather George Prince clear to writings my Dad had written about his recollections of his late grandparents. I can't tell you the spirit that filled me, I stayed up that night in the living room just pondering upon all the writings and being filled with the spirit. It told of how my old Father George Prince told his family that he had had a vision in which he told his family "Some time in the future two men dressed in black whole cloth coats and top hats will come to visit us, they will be men of God and will have a message for us". It says that his family believed his words and that he was known for being a visionary. Tow years later in 1855 two Latter-day Saint missionary came to South Africa and found my ancestors, they immediately accepted the gospel, and the faith has been held now for over 150 years. I just sat and pondered. I thought about how that decision effected me all these years later, even down to the clothes I had on my arm at the moment I read. It was a reminder to me that our decisions don't only affect us, they potentially effect thousands.
While we were out tracting this week we had an amazing experience. We knocked on a door, no reply and moved on. We stopped an chatted with a woman and the next house and suddenly I spotted a woman from the home prior and went and started talking to her. Her name is Billie Jo Compton. A 41 year old grandmother whose husband left her for another woman after 17 years of marriage. She explained that she is raising her two year old grandson who is a heroin baby who had been abandoned by her daughter. She said that her daughter graduated High School on the honor roll and then slipped in with the wrong crowd after graduation, became addicted to heroin, and that she hasn't heard a word from her in 5 months. This woman has given her whole life to raising her grandchild and has such a pure heart. She has been born and raised Jehovah's Witness but explained that she has never been baptized. We asked if we could return the next day and teach her and she gladly accepted. As we began teaching her the next day we taught about the Holy Ghost and it role in our lives, as it is that the witnesses have no belief in a Holy Spirit. We showed her verses from her own Witnesses bible that clearly state that God spirit is a working factor in all of our lives. We invited her to pray about what we had taught and the spirit flooded the room. She said she couldn't explain how she felt. She kept going on about the warmth and the excitement of her heart, it was all too real. She then promptly invited us back for a second lesson that same day (this never happens). As we drove off to other meetings she called and said to eat nothing before we came back and said she was ordering us a bunch of food for dinner. We went back and she said that she had prayed and felt an overwhelming feeling that she couldn't explained. She called her parents and told them and she also called the Jehovah Witnesses that she has a weekly study with and told them she no longer wants to meet with them! I couldn't believe all of this! She came to Church on Sunday and had a great time and also attended the baptism after church. She is having us back over for dinner on Thursday night, we are so excited for this woman, please keep her in your prayers if you would.
Well friends I sure do love you. I want you to know that the work is going great. Thank you all for the warm words and encouragement throughout the week! The Saviour truly lives! This is his work, I have no doubt. I love you all and hope you have a great day!
Love Elder Prince