This week has been incredibly exciting for us. We have been teaching like crazy and finding new people who are ready and prepared to hear the gospel. We have been working on contacting everyone we see or walk past, and as we have born testimony and given invitations, we have touched so many people we normally would have just walked past and never spoken to. We have found and been teaching two new investigators and one less active member who desires to come back to church since he left when he was 15, and they all came to church!
I had my first experience with one of those notorious "Bible Bashers" I always heard stories about from my Dad's mission here in Utah 2 decades ago. This old man from New York let us in and talked to us about normal things like the weather and such, but then when he pulled his scriptures out, he started accusing and criticizing our beliefs. Every time we'd try to talk he'd talk over us and not listen to a word we said. He didn't seem to have his own set of beliefs, other than we are all saved by grace and don't have to do any good works to get to heaven. He went on and on about how marriage can't last after death, there can't be another book and testament of Jesus Christ, there can't be any more apostles and prophets. We could tell he'd done a lot of research on our beliefs and he condemned us saying that we won't go to heaven like he will.
My companions were struggling with knowing what to do, and I just thought, "Bear testimony". It's all you can do in that situation--arguing over the scriptures gets no where. So I did-I told him I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because I've read it and lived it. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of the Lord and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth." He didn't interrupt my testimony like he usually did when we talked, but got all uncomfortable and when I finished he just laughed. We promptly got up and thanked him for his time and left. All you can do in those situations is testify-it's the only way to have the Spirit stay with you. He could argue with the scriptures but he couldn't argue with my testimony, and that experience helped strengthen my conversion more than ever.
Everyone needs to hear the gospel and have the opportunity to use their agency and accept or reject it. By sharing what I know with everyone, I am helping the Lord in his plan, which Joseph Smith Jr. described, “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
I am so blessed and honored to be one of the 80,000 missionaries helping the Lord's work to progress and be heard in every ear. I know it's true because I've seen it change my own life and the lives of so many others for the better. It's my only sure foundation to hold on to when the world around me is always changing.