My daughter, Hannah, recently returned home after completing her mission in Portugal. I encouraged her to work hard right up until the end, and I shared with her some miracles that happened in the last full week of my mission in Argentina. Hannah, of course, gave her all, teaching and testifying until the end, and she similarly, saw the hand of the Lord in miraculous ways.
As I read Hannah’s last letter home, I was amazed at the parallels in each of our last weeks of our missions. It seems nothing short of miraculous and a clear sign of the hand of God. In my last week, my companion and I invited three families to get baptized–the only week in my mission with that many invitations. In Hannah’s last week, she and her companion invited someone to get baptized every day, and three of them said yes–the best week of her mission for baptismal invitations.
Jimmy’s Last Week with Inviting Three Families to be Baptized
Here’s what happened about 26 years ago toward the end of my mission to Rosario, Argentina. In my second to last week in the country, we taught three families the second discussion–the only week in my mission where we taught three second discussions. Back in those days, we invited people to follow the example of Jesus Christ and get baptized near the conclusion of the second discussion, therefore we invited these three families to get baptized. According to my letters home, two of them accepted the invitation, and the other family was not quite ready to commit, but they wanted to keep taking the lessons and learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The next week, I headed home to the United States, and I never found out if they followed through and got baptized (there was no social media back then, so it was a lot harder to stay in contact with people). But whether or not they got baptized, I knew I had done my part as a missionary. I had been diligent in finding people to teach, and I taught and testified with the power of God, and I had done all within my power to be in a position to give a meaningful invitation to follow Christ into the covenant waters of baptism. These families had every opportunity to feel the Spirit of God and respond to the promptings to follow Christ. After that, the choice is theirs and they have to exercise their agency. But I knew the Lord was pleased with me for working hard, opening my mouth continually (all three of those families were found by opening our mouths and talking to people in the street), teaching with power (I knew the lesson principles and scriptures as well as the best missionaries), and testifying of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Of course, working hard and being prepared are no guarantee that every week will be so successful in teaching lessons. Just a couple weeks prior to this miraculous week, I also had a record-breaking week in which we taught zero sit-down lessons. That’s right. Again, it was the only time in my mission in which I taught zero sit-down lessons in week, and it happened toward the end of my mission when I had more skills and more experience and was generally a better instrument in the hands of the Lord.
Hannah’s Last Week with Setting Dates for Three People to be Baptized
Here is Hannah’s experience, in her own words (well, minor editing for grammar):
WE HAD A WEEK OF MIRACLES. We decided to set some really high goals for ourselves for my last week (goals of faith haha) and ask the Lord for help in reaching them, and IT WORKED!!
We had a goal to give a real baptismal invitation EVERY DAY, like the whole, “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized? We will help you prepare for baptism and we believe you can be ready on X date. Will you prepare to be baptized on that date?” AND Y’ALL LITERALLY the Lord provided!!! There were a couple days where we were getting towards the end of the day and still not had the chance and I almost thought it wouldn’t work to invite someone to be baptized, but God kept just giving us more chances and it was amazing!! And of course, not everyone said yes hahaha. But we ended up putting three people on date to be baptized!!!
I don’t think that has happened my whole mission, three people on date in one week. So now (the three people) are preparing to get baptized! Such a wonderful way to end the mission 🙂
I also have been reflecting on what I have done here and why I was transferred here for my last transfer! I had such a strong feeling when I got here that I needed to be here and the Spirit confirmed to me that I came here to meet people that I promised I would come find on my mission. I still don’t know exactly all of the reasons, but it’s clear to me that I did come here for lots of reasons!!
I feel like I came here to meet and teach a LOT of people that we have taught. This has been one of the areas where I have been able to teach the most, which is a HUGE blessing because teaching is my favorite hehe. And I’ve never had such complex people to teach who we have really worked with so much to help and those people are equally engaged in learning! It’s so satisfying. I also feel like I really was supposed to meet some of the members here!! And for sure to be with the other sister missionaries. Fogo just tudo com muito propósito.