Monday, October 15, 2012

Inner City Love

Dearest Friends and Family,
So great to be with you this week! So much to say in so little time so I hope you can get a glimpse of how things are going out here in East Cleveland. First we have to start with the few days leading up to conference. Elder Mo'Unga and I have been telling so many people to come and listen to a prophets voice I felt like Armageddon was coming! We were telling everyone when they could come down to the chapel and listens to the Lord's mouthpiece; it was so much fun. And I wish to recount to you our best practice of the week:
In our apartment we have a supply closet in which we have all of our pass along cards, brochures, books, etc. In this closet we have several Book of Mormons in various languages and before we headed out the door we felt impressed to grab our only copy of a Pharsi (Persian) Book of Mormon. Not sure why; just remembered seeing it and felt impressed to pack it along with us. About mid-way through the day while contacting on a busy street by Case Western University we stopped at a bus stop and began talking to a middle-eastern man. His name is Mohsen; he is from Iran and is a student at Cleveland State University; here in America for an opportunity to gain an education and build a life for himself. We began telling him about the Lord Jesus Christ and what he can do for us in our lives if we will come unto him. He was interested and just after we had swapped information and we were ready do go our separate ways we remembered that Book of Mormon we had felt impressed to bring with us earlier. We pulled it out, handed it too him and you should have seen the look on his face. He acted as though manna from heaven had just fallen into his hands and said humbly "This is a gift from God; that is my language!". We then looked him square in the eyes and told him we did not know why we grabbed that Book this morning but now we knew. We bore testimony right there on the street that that book would help him come unto Christ. After some later communication he committed to come to priesthood session later that week. He surely came on Saturday with his friend Ali (Also from Iran here for school). They loved the entire broadcast and asked many questions. After the broadcast ended the whole chapel cleared and we were left alone with them. We began to ask them how they felt. The went on to try their best to describe the spirit as best they could The said they had never felt this way before and that they felt so good. We again began to testify to them and told them we knew they were lead to us by the hand of the Lord. We then committed them to read the Book of Mormon that night and pray to know if it was indeed true. Despite how very excited we were for them we still realized there were many hurdles to overcome being that there are many rules in our mission about teaching people with a Muslim background. We called President Vellinga and relayed to him the circumstances of our findi9ng and teaching these two humble young men. He told us that we would have to schedule an appointment as soon as possible in which he would interview them with a series of question s to determine whether or not we should proceed with the teaching. Needless to say, we were on our knees that all would be well. The next day we met with Ali, Mohsen, and President. It very well may have been one of the most spiritual meetings I have ever been a part of. You should've heard these two young men explain why they were here. The spoke of the oppression of the government in Iran and the practices of control that they exercise by way of Islamic beliefs. They said that they had desired to become Christian for some three years now and that they had to attend Church underground in Iran to just learn about Christ. They said they would be arrested or put to death upon converting to Christianity if found out. For that reason they did not convert to any church and had been anxious to join one since coming to the states so 2 months ago. They went on to explain how grateful they were to be in America and to enjoy their new found freedoms. They also expressed that they intended to stay and that all they desired to do was follow Christ. They said that they knew we had been lead to them and that they were thirsty to hear more. We again committed them to pray to know the truth fullness of the Book of Mormon. Last night we met again and followed up on our invitation. They explained to us that together they had prayed for some 25 minutes and that after doing so sincerely and humbly they were filled with a warmth. They said they thought it was strange that they felt such a warmth because their apartment was cold; they said they had to open the windows! Mind you all, we had never described to them how the Spirit is often described as to be a "burning in the bosom". They then said "after reading the pamphlet you gave us we realized that we were feeling the Holy Ghost". Listening to these two describe their experience was incredible; we were all touched. They are some of the humblest and perhaps most intelligent people I have taught on my mission; the Lord has been hearing their prayers. I truly believe that they will both become members of this church in the very near future. Thank goodness the Holy Ghost told us to grab that Book!
In parting I want to echo the words of my family and friends on their mission who have expressed their love of General Conference. I felt the spirit so strongly all though out. I hope that we may not be complacent in our belief about God. I hope that we will be wise and keep the commandments. I pray that we will follow our Leaders and in so doing follow Christ. I know that this church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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