A few months ago our bishop gave what at the time seemed like an odd assignment to the elders quorums. He asked them to go tracting out our ward boundaries here in Provo. I'm embarrassed to admit that I thought it was totally weird. I mean there are plenty of full time missionaries out there. And this is Utah; most people around here are already members or have at least heard quite a bit about the Church. But being the faithful priesthood holders that they are, Dave and our next door neighbor Ben spent a few hours one Saturday morning out tracting.
Surprisingly-for me anyway-Dave came home bursting at the seams. He had actually had an amazing amount of success. They found a man from Mexico that had met with the missionaries and taken the discussions in Mexico before he moved but when he came to Utah he kinda just fell between the cracks. So Dave and Ben sent the Spanish missionaries over and he has since been baptized.
But the story that I want to talk more about is about a woman that they tracted into. She is the epitome of the 'golden' contact. She was raised Catholic but had since decided that the Catholics just don't have it quite right. So she tried a brief fling with the Seventh Day Adventists. But one day she found a Book of Mormon in a hotel she was staying at (a big thanks to Marriott) and read the whole thing. She knew it was true but because of some particular circumstances in her life she wouldn't answer the door for the missionaries. But for whatever reason she answered the door for Dave and Ben. Dave was inspired and motivated by her story. He called the missionaries and after a few snags he was finally able to set up an appointment with the missionaries.
She and the missionaries came over Thursday for a first discussion. This was the first time I have ever been in a real missionary discussion. It was truly amazing. Myra is truly amazing. She is so intelligent; I am constantly amazed at how much she knows. She has a surprisingly deep knowledge of the scriptures, including the Book of Mormon and D&C. As we taught her the basic principles of the gospel she would nod her head and say "Yes, I know that from such-and-such scripture" and she would quote right from the Book of Mormon.
One particular example of this was when we were teaching her about the Plan of Salvation and explaining about the veil of forgetfulness. She nodded and said "Yes, I know about that from the Brother of Jared when he was speaking to God on the mountain." I was floored that she was able to make that kind of connection to the scriptures on such an abstract and often difficult principle.
But more important than her deep intellectual knowledge of the gospel is her deep faithful knowledge. Anything she doesn't understand she takes on faith. She knows that God talked to Joseph Smith so she knows that all the things Joseph Smith taught are true.
The missionaries came and taught her again on Saturday and she said she wanted to be baptized. So currently she is set to be baptized on March 24.
We also had the opportunity to take her to church yesterday. That was another wonderful experience. She loved the hymns. She loved their beautiful messages. We took her to a Gospel Principles class where we talked about how we are all brothers and sisters with a loving Father in Heaven. She was so happy to learn that she will have the opportunity to have babies in the next life! In Relief Society we talked about prayer and Myra participated and commented along with the best of them. You can feel her love for Christ in the very words she speaks.
Tonight we had Myra, the missionaries, and Ben, Emily, and their adorable baby Grace (Ben is our neighbor who was with Dave and found Myra) over for dinner. It was very fun. Dave and I both cooked (yes I cooked)! Then the missionaries played a video about temples. Myra is such a sponge. Even after everyone else left she stayed and we talked for another hour and a half about questions she had. There really is no other feeling like teaching the gospel to one so willing and desirous to learn!
The best part of all of this happened as we were driving home from church yesterday. Myra told us that she had been struggling so much for so long but now she felt happiness and joy. That's what this is all about. That's why we are here. That's the very purpose of the gospel. "Men are that they might have joy!" (2 Ne. 2:25)