We had an amazing lesson this week with a member that is returning from inactivity. After he came back from his mission, things went downhill and he made a lot of mistakes. We have been working with him a lot and he has been turning things around. He has come to church five weeks in a row and been listening to the Book of Mormon while he drives to work. Prayer has been the most difficult task for him to face. He has been really worried about facing God because of all the mistakes he had made. We visited him on Friday and it was our goal to get him to pray daily on his own.
This transfer at zone conference, Elder Raban and I had 30 minutes to teach each zone about prayer, so we were very prepared to teach a powerful lesson on prayer. We taught using many scriptures as the spirit directed, we taught to his needs, asked inspired questions, and shared personal experiences about prayer. He explained that the problem he had was praying with real intent and sincerity because he had prayed with us before, but his heart wasn't in it. We tried committing him to pray with sincerity that night before he went to bed, but he told us honestly that he probably wouldn't keep that commitment. After several minutes of trying to commit him to pray, I had a prompting to ask him how he felt at that moment. His response was that he could feel the spirit really strong, so we immediately knelt and invited him to pray right then. We reminded him he needed to be sincere before he began.
He started praying and immediately began to weep. We continued to kneel for a couple minutes until he composed himself enough to go on. The prayer he gave was very sincere and powerful. You could tell that he was communicating with God. It wasn't your usual blessing on the food routine prayer. The spirit had a strong presence in the room. When he finished, we sat in silence for a moment. He told us that he felt much better and a weight had been taken off his back. He committed to pray every day with sincerity and then we left. The power of prayer, being led by the spirit, and preparation were several aspects of missionary work about which my testimony was strengthened.
We received an amazing referral from some missionaries in a local family ward. His girlfriend is a member and he had been attending church with her. He accepted to meet with missionaries. After they met with him once they realized he lived outside of their ward boundaries and he was a YSA so they passed him to us. His name is Robert and he grew up in the Episcopal Church. When we sat down at the pass off lesson we could tell he was pretty solid. He wants to join a church that lives the doctrine and can help him to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. He wants to read the entire Book of Mormon before he gets baptized, so he accepted a baptismal date for January 3. He is already through 1 Nephi and we will be encouraging him to read quickly (haha). Robert came to church yesterday with his girlfriend and had a great time. We had several members of our ward fellowship him and help him feel comfortable. Our next lesson is on Saturday. I love finding prepared people! It’s great!
It is transfer week again, which means little sleep and lots of fun! It is definitely the most stressful week of the transfer, but also the most fun. Elder Raban, Elder Smith, and Elder Timmons are all staying for the next transfer, so I will have all the same roommates again. We have had a lot of fun this transfer together. If I leave next transfer, I will have been roommates with Elder Timmons for 6 months and Elder Raban and Elder Smith each for 4 1/2 months (including when we were in the Burke town home together). We already know where everyone is getting transferred which is definitely a perk of this assignment. Missionaries ask us all the time to tell them where they are going or to give them clues. That makes it fun to joke around with them a little (haha).
I'm extremely blessed to be serving a mission right now. I don't have anything to worry about besides missionary work. Missionary work brings a ton of serving, teaching, learning, growth, fun, joy, etc. Basically all I have to focus on right now is serving, teaching, learning, growth, fun, joy, etc. It’s the best! Love you all!
Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission