Sunday, August 28, 2011

Letter from Elder Peacock...8/22/2011

OH my goodness!  I know that I said last week was really good, and it was.  But this week was better.  I know that there is no way I can do it justice; there are no words to describe this last week.  It all started on Tuesday.  We went to Coimbra, a 3 1/2 hour drive from Covilhã.  So we went there and had a zone meeting.  While we were there, Presidente Torgan asked us to go check our goals together and to pray and ask the Lord who had needed to get baptized this weekend.  Elder Hatch and I went and prayed and as we were praying the name Ernesto came to my mind, the only Ernesto I knew was some kid that we passed on the street once in our car and Elder Hatch had talked to him once back in May.  So I was sure, this was the only name that came to my mind.  So I tried to double check it, I cleared my mind and asked the Lord again who needs to get baptized this weekend.  And again it was Ernesto, so I said ok, we´ll see what happens.  So we got done praying and Elder Hatch asked me, "What did you feel."  I said, "I don´t know, the only name that came to my mind was Ernesto."  He smiled and was so excited and said, "Me too."  So the conference ended and by the time we made it back home it was pretty late.  On wednesday, we went over to Ernesto´s and he wasn´t home.  So we called him and he said he would be home at 6 and that we could come over then.  So 6 came and we went over to talk to him.  We told him what we did in Coimbra and and that we received revelation that he needed to be baptized this Sunday.  He took this as a little bit of a shock as you can imagine.  But he expressed to us that baptism was something very important to him and that he knew and wanted to find the only way back to God.  We prayed with him and told him that he needed and could know this too.  We prayed and he said he wasn´t prepared and he didn´t know.  We said that he could learn by doing 3 things: praying, reading, and going to church.  He told us that he really wanted to know, and that if he found out that this was God´s will, he would be baptized this Sunday.  He agreed to meet with us each day, and come to church.  So everyday, we met and taught him the lessons.  Saturday came and we had been praying a lot -- all 3 of us together and just me and Elder Hatch.  We had a lesson Saturday night and we testified that this came from God and he needed to be baptized the next day.  He was worried and said he didn´t know and that he wasn´t prepared and baptism was so important, and he didn´t want to get baptized into the wrong church and have to repent in the future.  We told him he still had to do the 3 things and that the 3rd came on Sunday with attending church.  He agreed he would go and showed his faith.  At this point Elder Hatch and I had done everything we could to show our faith that this baptism was going to happen and he was going to receive an answer.  We had made the programs, told members, got an interview set up, just everything we could do to show that we would have everything ready on our part and we knew the Lord would do His.  Sunday came, the big day.  I knew he was getting baptized, I didn´t let the thought leave my mind, Ernesto...Baptism...Ernesto...Baptism. We were in the zone, we strapped on the gloves and it was the 10th round and we were ready to go 20 more.  

So this sunday was ward conference in Castelo Branco and us in Covilhã are part of that ward, so we had to travel 45 minutes with him to get him to church.  So we got to church and he was ready to get an answer, and we were ready too.  Church went really well, I liked it, felt the spirit, and knew he needed to get baptized.  So church ended and we found an empty room and we all prayed together.  We got done and I was expecting him to say, alright, I am ready to get baptized, but he looked at us and said I have to be honest I didn´t get an answer, I'm not ready, I'm not prepared.  I was confused.  We left and came back to Covilhã, the whole time I was confused, he did all 3 things he needed to do, why didn´t he get an answer?  So we had a long confusing ride back.  We got here and all 3 of us went into the chapel and talked a little.  Ernesto asked if we had any other appointments that day, we said no and could spend the day with him helping him, answering questions, and get an answer.  He said he would like to talk . So we talked until 5 pm and it was just confusion, we talked about stuff that wasn´t helping him get an answer about baptism.  It was 5 and he said he needed to go home and call to his family on Cabo Verde, and that he wanted to take a nap because he was tired and that maybe we could meet up at 8 or the next day.  At this moment I thought it was over and we had lost and he was going to walk out of the chapel and it was over.  But somehow faith came up and we shared a scripture with him, one that he found and liked and shared with us the day before.  Alma 32:17-18.  And it was about faith.  Everything was about faith.  We asked him, "Ernesto, do you have faith that God can answer your question today and tell you that you need to be baptized?"  He said, "yes, of course."  "If the Lord says you need to be baptized today, will you?"  He said, "Yes." So we took him down stairs to the font and said, "Ernesto, show us your faith, and turn on the baptismal font and start filling it. Show God your faith. We know you need to get baptized today and we know the Lord will your faith."  He said, I can´t, I'm not prepared, baptism is too big."  He was walking to the door to leave to go home.  We said, "Ernesto, one more prayer."  At this point, we had already prayed 30 times on Sunday alone, and probably 100 times since Wednesday.  But he said, "Of course, let´s pray."  We asked him to pray, he has so much faith, more than he knows.  He literally poured out his heart pleading with God to help him know, let him feel something, to feel God´s presence because he hadn´t felt anything til this point.  He prayed like a champ for 15 minutes.  The prayer ended and he felt something, just a little glimpse of something.  And my incredible companion being in tune with the spirit looked at Ernesto and said these words, "Ernesto I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that that book (the Book of Mormon) has your answer and that you need to be baptized today."  Ernesto ran over and picked up the book and just opened it and it happened, it hit him he received an answer from God.  Then he ran over and turned on the water to the font.  Then he said can we pray again.  So we went upstairs and he prayed for 25 minutes thanking God.  He thanked God for the answer he received, he testifed that he knew the Book of Mormon was true, that he knew Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration.  During that prayer it started raining harder that I have ever seen in my life and thundering right above us, just raining so hard, then the power went out in the chapel for 5 seconds.  He ended that prayer of gratitude and testimony and said,"I want to get baptized right now."  So we drove back down to Castelo Branco, had the interview with the district leader.  Called a couple members.  Just after 9:30 pm on Sunday August 21, Ernesto was baptized in the river of Castelo Branco.  We received revelation from God on Tuesday, talked to Ernesto on Wednesday, and he was baptized on Sunday.  His faith was amazing.  He said he wasn´t ready, but he said if he knew God said this, he would do it.  I can honestly say that we did everything we possibly could until the last second and he was about to leave and we almost lost, but we just needed one more prayer, one more and God did His part.  He did His part so perfectly, exactly as he promised.  All God asks is that we do everything we can, then He will rescue us.  And He did exactly that.  I testify that God lives.  He will always answer our prayers.  All He asks is that we use our faith and trust Him.  And if we do that, He will save us exactly the moment we need it.  We did everything we could for 4 days and then we put it into God´s hands and he changed everything in the blink of an eye.  Yesterday was the best day of my life.  I have never seen such a miracle.  I have never been so close and seen and felt God´s power.  This is the Lord´s work, He is in this work helping us. I am so grateful that i could be a part of this experience. That the Lord trusted me enough to help Ernesto, that I could literally be a tool in the hands of the Lord. I know He lives and He loves us!  Just put your faith in Him, do everything we can and He will rescue us.  Just ONE MORE PRAYER!  I truly cannot describe how wonderful this day was.

Glad everybody is doing well.  Good luck with school my brothers, you´ll all do great!  I love and miss you.  Hang in there, just one more prayer!  I know the Lord is protecting you and loves you so much.  I hope you can find time to read the Book of Mormon and pray together daily, it´s so important.

I love you all!

Elder Peacock

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