Monday, May 6, 2013

Letter #44 (Byram, MS)

Hey Mom!

So I have so much to say, but just so little time to say it, and I hope I can get it all in!! But to start of the email, let me get one thing across...THIS WAS THE BEST WEEK OF MY MISSION. Non stop awesomeness! This was a week that held some of the most amazing spiritual experiences of my mission. So it all started out with lots of rain!! For those of you who are cool enough to keep up with the weather here, you probably noticed the ENTIRE week full of rain. It didn't slow Elder Anderson and me down. It was actually alright because we needed time to set up our baptisms that we had on Saturday! So we spent all week calling people, setting up talks, making sure bishop would be there, doing all of the prep work necessary for the baptism to go off with out a hick up, and wouldn't you know it, the Lord blessed us with finding people to help us, without any issue. So then comes the day of the baptism, Saturday, and the family getting baptized shows up with like 20 nonmembers! For those of you not too familiar with "The South", it is a very rare moment, to find more than 3 nonmembers in any dedicated building! And through the amazing baptism we received three referrals from people who came, and want to learn more about what they were feeling! Ahhh! I love when people feel the true workings of the Spirit, and act on it! But this was just the start too the amazing weekend. So earlier in the week, we had a family from the Ward call us, and invite us to a Mississippi Braves game (they are the minor league team for the Atlanta Braves). So with permission from the President, of coarse, we attended the game shortly after the Baptisms Saturday evening. The game was great, my new favorite minor league team, the Braves, won, and fun was had by all. But another miracle took place as we were leaving the stadium. As we were walking out, I looked over to my right, and saw some of the young men from our church at the game. I called out to them and with a look of relief, they came running over to us. Todd, 16, and Caleb, 14, told us how they were about to walk home, nearly 10 miles to their house, because they couldn't get a ride home. So of coarse, the member took us all home. But what was amazing was the ride home. I had no idea, but these boys are semi-active at best. They come maybe once a month, and both had been interviewed to move advance in the Priesthood, Todd to a Priest, and Caleb to Teacher. Well, on the way home, I hit it off with both of them. We instantly became friends, and upon them getting out of the truck, told them that Roy, the member that took us to the game, would be there to pick them up for church the following morning. And he did. The next Sunday they both came to Church, sat by me, and had a great Sabbath day. Then, during Elder Quorum I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, and saw Brother Grindstaff, the Young Men's President. He then whispered in my ear that Todd was about to be ordained to a Priest, and that he had requested that I be the one to ordain him. Tears came to my eyes, as I walked down the hall to the Bishop's office, placed my hands on his head and ordained him to be a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. He then stood up, and with tears in his eyes, gave me a hug. It was arguably the strongest that I have felt the Spirit. But the Lord was not done with the miracles just yet. Now Caleb, Todd's young friend, needed to be advanced to the office of a Teacher. Tears once again came to my eyes, as Caleb looked at his best friend, and asked him to be the one to ordain him. It was amazing to watch these two friends now bonded by something more powerful than friendship leave the church that day, with a renewed desire to come to church and to fulfill their Priesthood obligations. I love this Church, and all that it stands for. This work I am doing, along side so many family members and friends, is about so much more than just baptisms. I love every second of it, and wouldn't trade it for nothin'!!
     ~Elder Maddox

Elder Maddox and Elder Anderson