Beginning to teach one of our progressing investigators, Kayla Yang, was such a hopeful and happy experience for me. She's from Shan Xi, and has gone through many trials and changes this past year. Her life and story is completely different from anyone I've met! She traveled to New York and tried going to school there; running out of money and having no school, she flew to San Francisco, and met some Elders there, and was impressed by their kindness. Basically she's gone through a lot of missionaries, because she got transferred to some Chinese Sisters in Union City, and THEN to us.
Now before I continue, I just want to talk about the power of Covenants. The Lord has used Covenants in all dispensations and by his prophets and guidance. I cannot say I know the Lord's ways, but I feel like he has given us these commitments as a way to direct our faith! We have great hopes and desires that spread across all aspects of our life, and really are simply rooted in who we are; but the power of a promise is the direction of all that power and emotion. Imagine a young couple who've had good intentions for each other, and want to move forward with a marriage! Just dating and spending that time learning and experiencing each others desires is a rollercoaster of emotions; so there is a lot of thoughts floating around! As they approach their wedding day, they gather all that they've experienced, and try to see the good in it. It's a big step, and a decision. Saying "I do" takes a lot more than a wedding planner. And so does any other commitment, it takes work, careful planning, and all the elements of surprise. (Congrats Megan!!!! get me a nephew soon;)
Of course, one of the commitments we try to help people make is Baptism. Working towards that can be extremely fast, and totally depends on the investigators' needs and thoughts; entirely their desire, not the missionaries'!
Our first lessons with Kayla was overflowing with emotions (she speaks extremely good english, so lessons flowed well); consoling with us her worries and her hopes. Our members testified strongly of their own conversions and spirituality when Kayla mentioned her desires to learn about God, and what she needs to do to meet Him! She's felt vulnerable her whole life, even in her family, and she's had to go desperate measures to get help; all of this led up to an experience where she was at a Hostel, and in the shower, all the worries of having to leave America (she loves america! Like she wants an american boy now...) because of no direction and help. The water washed her tears away, but not the sorrow that grew inside; she finally begged God that she would do anything if she could just stay. She heard a voice, "You don't have to go". Long story short, with all these signs of faith and trials she's experienced, she sees this baptism and relationship as a way to connect all the experiences that she's had in America, and before. Having this desire, it was no surprise that when we gave her her own scriptures and taught her to pray, she was jumping for joy!!!!
An absolutely amazing lesson; and that is the power of commitments.
Another power of commitments is equally powerful; I truly believe they should be used carefully because they simply are a magnification and direction of commitments. One example with Kayla again is what happened on exchanges this week. No matter the knowledge, and no matter the people, nothing can be learned without the Spirit. Elder Lau on exchanges with Elder Nelson went with our Branch President and an English ward member (because we don't have enough Chinese) taught a lesson on the Word of Wisdom. They taught it and committed her; and one thing about Kayla is she doesn't like people telling her what to do. She's lived with many people that overexamined everything she did, and made her do it the "way things should be done". So reflecting the feelings she had then, and how comfortable she was in the lesson, she dropped us. And that is the power of bad commitments. I was majorly disappointed that it had happened, and I'm not sure if we can fix this. I hope that I might find a new solace in the work, but the things I hoped and learned for our investigators will always take its place of comfort with me.
A focus we will try is working with our recent converts and less actives in preparing to go to church. Are we prepared for what we've already committed to do? D&C 20:37