Monday, February 21, 2011


Mon, 21 Feb 2011 09:46:31
I didn't get a message from Mom yet, so I'll reply my "weekly email" to you instead of her this week. It's really exciting to hear all the cool things going on at home: you going to girls camp, haha, your spring vacation, Jordan's dominating volleyball skills, Hannah's playing time and improvements in volleyball as well (it will be awesome after I'm home and my knee's well enough to play with them), and your busy week with appointments. Randy will be in my prayers. That's pretty scary, but I'm glad he's in good spirits. I hope everything else went well for the family!

My week was awesome! It ended on a great note with our investigator Erik getting baptized and confirmed this weekend! He was one that was slowly progressing for several months. He'd come to church pretty much every week; you'd see him sitting in the back with his girlfriend with his baseball hat on. (That's something that is being addressed.) But he was finally ready to make the commitment, and he knew it was true, so he was baptized. His mom came down from where she lived in Fon Du Lac, a couple hours away, and she enjoyed being there for the ordinance.

Matt Wilke is still going as strong as ever! His baptism is set for this weekend, and he has everything set up for it - his program, baptism record, people coming. It was announced in Sacrament meeting yesterday as well, so even more people will be there. On the second day of our 3-day mission leadership training this week, he was helping the ward with preparing lunch for us, and we were surprised to see him there. Even he wasn't planning on being there beforehand. Elder Cottle and I were assigned to do a training about the Book of Mormon's role in conversion, and so we asked Matt if he'd be comfortable sharing his testimony with the group about how the Book of Mormon had helped him in preparing for his baptism. That was inspired. He bore a wonderful, sincere testimony to the group, and the Spirit filled the room. He was a little nervous at first, being in front of so many missionaries, but he told us later that everything he said just came to him as he was speaking. What a cool experience! All the missionaries were blown away by how prepared he is after only investigating for 3 weeks. Fortunately, our trainings had little more than a vague direction of where we wanted to go with each topic, so we were able to adapt to that opportunity. All the trainings were awesome though. We just "treasured up" in our minds the doctrines and principles of the topics, and then we let the Spirit guide as we asked questions that opened up discussion and participation from the leaders. We directed two trainings on each of the 3 days and were responsible for conducting the meetings.

So yeah, those trainings took up a lot of time, energy, and attention this week. We were still able to see several people in the evenings. Colleen will most likely be the next person baptized here after Matt. She just needs to change her living situation. She has a strong testimony, and she loves church, so after she gets that taken care of she can finally make that sacred covenant with her Heavenly Father and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which she is really looking forward to.

I was able to talk with Elder Lester last night as he was reporting numbers, and he told me about Gloria's progress. She is still one of the people most dear to my heart, so I am always anxious to hear about her. So Saturday and Sunday, her progress stopped as she was taught about the true nature of God. Her walls went back up, and she didn't want to remember the answers she had received. Elder Lester's reaction to her response to the lesson would usually be a quick and wise combat, but he had the feeling he just needed to love her. So he didn't rebuttal her response at all, just expressed love. While they were here in Milwaukee for the 3-day training, she started having a really bad day. Her son was being really mean to her, and she was feeling really overwhelmed. The Spirit directly told her, "If you read from the Book of Mormon, you will have comfort." She struggled with that prompting for a bit, but finally submitted. She was guided to read Ether 12, which was amazing in bringing her comfort. After that, she was impressed that she needed to read chapter 3 as well, which speaks of Christ appearing. It helped her understand Christ had a spirit body before coming to Earth, and that our Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bone. Before, she completely rejected that concept, but with the Spirit's guiding comfort, she knows that it is true now, and it is no longer a concern. She told the missionaries at the next appointment, "before I was just too prideful and rebellious to listen to Elder Lester, so God had to tell me through His scriptures." She is still preparing for her baptism! After all these experiences, she, and all those who are there to teach her, will have powerful and unshakable testimonies. I know mine has been strengthened through her experiences.

I hope everyone has another great week! I love you!

Elder Vogan