Dearest Friends and Family,
I am glad to report to you that thanks to the Lord things are going great in East Cleveland! Marilyn and her son came to church yesterday in the family ward and Ali & Mohsen continue to come to the Young Single Adult Branch. I am not sure if I failed to mention that we cover both the family ward (Cleveland 3rd) and the Cleveland Young Single Adult Branch. It is so much fun; I even enjoy the 6 hours of church every Sunday! We have had some great experiences this week. We took Mairlyn and her 10 year old son, Bryan on a tour with the Sister missionaries of Historic Kirtland and the spirit was great. Elder Mo'Unga went in to the tour fasting that Marilyn would have a spiritual experience. The night before and the morning of the tour I had had a prayer in my heart that I would be able to bear sincere testimony to her of Christ and that her heart would be open to receive it. The tour was going pretty well but she acts a bit strange when she feels the spirit; it is as if she is embarrassed so she either laughs or tries to make a joke. She kept doing this and the opportunity for the spirit to really settle in kept being postponed. Then we went into the school of the prophets at the Whitney store and and the Sisters began to read accounts of the Father and the son appearing in vision in that very room. As we read the accounts the tone changed again and the spirit began to settle. Just then I felt prompted to bear testimony to her and as I did I saw it hit her as her countenance changed and she began to cry. Following my testimony, Elder Mo'Unga came in and sealed the deal with the most powerful testimony I had heard him bear in our time together. The sisters then asked her if she would like us to leave and allow for her to stay in the room and lay her weaknesses before the Lord; she agreed and stayed. She later re-joined us and the rest of the tour was powerful and Marilyns testimony of the Restored gospel grew alot. The Historical sites here are so powerful in helping us with our investigators and the Sisters do an excellent job.
Ali and Mohsen continue to do so well! They are so excited to get baptized and they are both truly developing a love and a personal relationship with the Savior. They are the most humble people I have taught yet on my mission. On Tuesday night, President is going to pick us all up from downtown Cleveland and drive us up to Madison, Ohio to witness a baptism and afterwards he is going to interview them again to be certain that they are ready to take this step in their lives. I never thought in all my life I would be helping people of Islam come unto Christ; it truly is a scared opportunity to introduce them to the "Only true and Living God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (John 17:3)".
Last night I had a life changing experience. Elder Mo'Unga and I traveled to the Cleveland Clinic to administer a blessing to a woman being treated there. Earlier in the day her daughter had come to church and explained to us that she was in town all the way from San Fransisco to be a support to her mother and was wondering if we wouldn't mind coming by and administering the sacrament and offering her a blessing. When we arrived she had us sit down and take off our Jackets. She was of Tongan descent so she and Elder Mo'Unga hit it off right away. I sat in front of her bed and felt impressed to really focus in on her and listen to her story. She explained that she had been diagnosed with cancer and that she had just recovered from a surgery that removed cancer from another part of her body. She then explained how sudden this news had come and how hard it had been on her. She kept saying "I just wish I had more time". She explained that despite her age for the last 10 years she had been pursuing a PhD and that she had gone off to school. She said that she had fallen into bad habits and consequently gained alot of weight. She also explained that she had been less-active in the church for years despite all three of her children being faithful members. She then went on to express how selfish she had been with her time and choices. She explained that she wished she had the time to do the things that matter most; Spend time with her grand kids, let her loved ones know the she loves them, and align her life to the will of the Lord. Finally she explained that this whole experience had caused her to truly reflect upon her faith in God. "I Know that they are there; I believe in Jesus Christ" she said. I thought it was very telling of human nature that when the reality of death looks us in the eye we quickly revert back to the things that matter most; faith and family. I then asked her if I could share a few words with her before we gave her the blessing; she agreed. I said first to her "I want you to know the power with which we will give you this blessing is real. The Father and the Son are real, and this church truly is the restored Church of Jesus Christ" she nodded her head and acknowledged that she knew all three to be true and went on to explain of a time when she was little that she felt that a priesthood blessing had saved her life. I then said " I don't know what you believe the most important day you have ever lived is, but I want to share with you what I feel the most important day of your life is". I continued, "Many people think it is special calendar events like Christmas or birthdays, some may say it was the day they finish college, the day they were married or the day their child was born". I said "I think these are all important days but I do not think that they are the most important". I told her that "the spirit has whispered to me that the most important day of our lives is today". As soon as I said this I could tell that the spirit hit her. When you realize that time is an un-renewable resource and the true purpose of your existence comes into penetrating focus, the things that matter most appear right in front of you; Love of God and fellow man. I then told her "Death is a season that we all pass through just like the trees outside and we never know when it will happen to us. I could die tomorrow, thus the things we do today and the decisions we right now make this the most important day of our lives. I don't know how long you will live but I feel moved by the spirit to promise you that you will have sufficient time to let your loved ones know that you truly love them and enough time to align your life to the will of God through repentance and prayer". We then offered her a blessing and spirit filled the small hospital room. When the blessing was over she hugged Elder Mo'Unga and I, and kissing us on the cheek told us that she loved us.
I learned so much from this experience last night. I learned that the superficial things of life fade from our worldly eyes within a matter of seconds when we are truly faced with the dilemma of death. I learned that once a child of God is truly faced to view the backdrop of despair and doubt they will find solace in their true identity as His child and their priorities are quickly aligned back to faith and family. Above all I learned again for myself that today is the most important day; love of God and all men is truly the pursuit of our lives and every honest person just wants to have time to love others. My hope that is that we do not forget our purpose and our identity but that we remember why we truly are here. I pray that my family and friends may know that the way to salvation only comes through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his atonement and by obedience to his gospel. I pray this woman may have time enough to find solace in the Lord and share her peace with her family. I pray that I may continue to be led to those who are prepared to receive this glad message; that we are eternal, that we ware children of God and that there is a way to be together forever. So while the day is still today, I will repent, for the day is far too spent. I love you all and I know that our Redeemer lives!
Love, Elder Prince