Friday, April 28, 2017

April 17, 2017

Hello family and friends!!!! What a great week!!!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter weekend. We definitely enjoyed ours!!!!

Last Thursday we had the special opportunity as a Zone to take our
investigators to a musical concert. The performance was called the
"Lamb of God" and it was done by the Draper Philharmonic Orchestra. We
had the special opportunity to take one of our investigators on date
to be baptized (Nic) and it was an amazing experience. They had a full
orchestra and also a full choir.they also had several soloists that
sung parts in the place of many of the apostles and also significant
women in the New Testament. The went through some of the miracles
Jesus Christ performed during his life, His Atonement, His death, and
His resurrection. I was blown away and I couldn't think of a better
way to prepare myself for Easter! Nic loved it and is still preparing
himself to be baptized on May 6th. Hopefully the rest of his family
will also take this very important step to join the gospel as well!

Last Wednesday we received a text from one of our investigators named
Russell Skuse who has been taking missionary lessons for two years
now. He is fully active in his high priest group every Sunday but just
hasn't taken that step of baptism because of lash back that he has
received from his family. Just before Elder Sandino and I entered the
area, he had just dropped the other Elders asking them for a little
time away from missionary lessons. Well we got into the area and have
been working with him since. Lady Wednesday we received a text from
his saying "hey Elders! I just got back from my business trip! It was
complicated and we ran into a lot of problems. But I'm back now and I
want to schedule my baptism date for this Sunday at 7:00 P.M. Will
that work?" We both nearly passed out after reading the text and we
rejoiced!!!! We said "of course it will!!!!" He passed his interview
with flying colors and he was baptized on Easter Day. His daughter,
who wasn't supportive in the past, not only came to church with him
but also came to the baptism to support her father. It was a wonderful
baptism and the Holy Spirit was very strong. After we had taught the
Restoration to everyone while Russell was changing out of baptism
clothes, we sat down and Elder Sandino leaned over and said "that was
the most powerful lesson I've taught. The Spirit was so strong!" I was
so happy that we were able to experience this amazing miracle!

I'm very thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that makes this
miracle of baptism possible. Knowing that He came and atoned for us
gives us perfect hope that we too will be able to ascend to our Father
in Heaven one day. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. God the
Father and God the Son are real and they know us all by name. I love
them and will serve them as best as I can.

I love you all and I wish you an amazing week. Also please keep the
Espinoza family in your prayers! This family has been torn apart by
Satan as they were investigating the gospel. They need all the help
they can get. Have a great week!

returning a dog to his owner

April 10, 2017

Hello family and Friends!

We had an amazing week this week and the miracles have continued. All
of our investigators are doing well and I have some amazing stories to

The first is about Elisa. Elisa is someone that we found on general
conference weekend. She loved the message of the restoration and
wanted to investigate the church. Well she got sick this weekend and
couldn't come to church. We were bummed but we decided to call the
Ward mission leader and on Saturday we went over to his house for
lunch and we made a health smoothie to take over to Elisa. When we
knocked on her door we waited a bit and after a couple minutes she
opened. I could tell that she wasn't feeling well but her face lighted
up right when she saw us. We gave her the smoothie and immediately she
thanked us and said "oh I just love the gospel library!!! I just
finished a lot of the New Testament and also the 1st book of Nephi for
the second time!! I'm already on the second book and I just love all
of it!!!" I nearly fainted when she said she was that far into the
boom of mormon! We're going to ask her how she's doing tonight. She
hasn't accepted a baptismal date yet but she is super close and it's
only been a week.

The second miracle that happened this week was last Thursday we
received a call. Nic Watson is the son son of Geoff Watson who has 11
kids in his home. We've taught the whole family before and we also
took them to the stake center to see Conference. We got a call from
Nic and he said "hey Elders! I wanted to meet with you one on one.
When would work for you?" We told him "we could meet tonight!" He
laughed and said it wouldn't work then. We agreed on Saturday and he
wanted to have the meeting away from his home so we had it set up at
the stake center. We didn't know what he wanted to talk about but we
both had good feelings about it. Saturday came and he asked if he
could take his girlfriend with him. We met and we asked him "Nic thank
you for calling us. You said that you wanted to meet so what is it
that we can do for you?" He said "well I've been thinking about this
for a while and I want to be baptized." I nearly fainted that time too
haha! We talked about his family and he said that although they're not
where he's at, they're supportive of his decision and they would like
to sit in on the discussions. We went over the baptismal questions and
he's perfectly fine with almost anything. We're going to be meeting 3
times a week and he is on date to be baptized for May 6th. We are
super excited for Nic and his decision.

Today we had the last miracle that I want to mention. Today during
Zone activity we had a miracle text. Russell is a man that has been
investigating the church for years now and he just got back from a
business trip so I asked him how the business trip was. He responded
saying that there were a lot of complications and a lot of change in
plans and right at the end he said "I want to talk about baptismal
dates. Do you want to chat later?" I called all the missionaries
together and we all freaked out together!!!! He has family in town
this week so we're going to meet with him next Monday. Before then
we're going to have all the high priests go over and share something
with him so he can keep the Spirit with him. When we see him Monday
we're going to ask him what changed and what helped him want to set a
date and then we're going to invite him to be baptized on April 29th
we're super excited for him as well.

I absolutely love this work. The Lord blesses you when you're faithful
to him. He has been sending me many trials recently but also some of
the most amazing miracles that I've seen on my mission. I know that He
lives and that He loves us. I know that we are sons and daughters of
the most high God who not only loves us but is anxious to help us with
our practical and our spiritual problems. I am so very thankful that
Jesus Christ made it possible for me to speak to my Heavenly Father
through prayer while here on this earth. If it wasn't for Jesus Christ
then I would have been separated from Him forever. I testify of the
reality of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His involvement in the
lives of man. I love Him with all my heart and will do everything I
can to show that I am grateful for His Atonement.

I love all of you and I hope you have a great week!

April 03, 2017

Hello family and friends!

This weekend will be a weekend to remember. What a wonderful
conference! I'm suffering from post conference depression right now
but the only way to cure it is to work hard!!! I unfortunately wasn't
able to go this time but I did experience many miracles.

The first was Saturday morning. We taught a man named Russell who is
so close to joining the church!!! He had been on date to be baptized
before but has absolutely no support from his family. We got to know
him really well during the lesson and asked him if he's thought about
being baptized soon. He said that he's been thinking about Easter
weekend. When we asked him what would be holding him back he said his
daughter. She's going to be visiting that weekend and she doesn't
really like to go to church. He's worried that she wouldn't attend his
baptism.  Y companion then shared his conversion story about how after
his parents baptism he would never go to church. But his mom would
iron his shirt every Sunday for 8 years and invite him. He saw such a
huge changed in his parents that he decided to take the missionary
lessons and be baptized. Russell is seriously considering Easter
weekend to be baptized so everyone pray for Russell!!!

My companion was dropped off at the track station to attend the
priesthood session of general conference. I was with our Ward mission
leader from the 5th Ward brother Barrus. We went to visit a woman
named Elisa who agreed to have a visit with us. We knocked on the door
and soon after she invited us in. We asked her what she was expecting
from us and she told us that her soon to be daughter in law was a
member of the church and she's heard A LOT about the Mormons from her
Catholic friends but she wanted to know the truth about us before they
were married. So brother Barrus and I taught the Restoration to Elisa.
With everything that she heard her eyes widened more and more and her
excitement increased. When I told her about the dispensations and the
great apostasy she said "oh I hope that Jesus calls another prophet
soon because we really need this fullness of times to get here quick.
This world is lost." That's when I told her "we've been sent here to
tell you that it's already happened and a new prophet has been
called." She looked at me as if i had lost my mind haha! But then I
explained by describing the story of Joseph Smith and telling her
about some of the passages he read in the Bible. When I recited to her
the first vision experience she told me that she could completely
relate to Joseph because she had a dream about God and a ray of light.
She said that the ray of light was resting on a Book that she wasn't
able to see too clearly and then she heard the words "learn my word."
She has always assumed that the book was the Bible. I showed her the
Book of Mormon and right when I told her that it was translated from
an ancient language her interest peaked and she was asking me if she
could read it. She said "I just can't take my eyes off of it." I gave
it to her and we ended with a prayer. She texted me later and said
that she had already set up her t.v. To watch conference and that she
was going to start reading that very night. We are so excited for
Elisa. I know that she had been prepared for us. Please keep her in
your prayers as well. We'll be teaching her again next Saturday. Elder
Sandino is super excited to meet her!

I hope everyone has an amazing week. I love all of you and wish you
all the best.

Elder Austin
Salt Lake City South Mission