Well I got my Visa for Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I leave in......
I'll tell you after I finish my letter. ;)
This week was an amazing week. Elder Bennett and I decided that we would do everything in our power to make this week one dedicated to getting lessons and get in to as many houses as we can so the spirit can penetrate hearts. Well, when you set goals and work toward them with a vision in mind, the Lord helps your reach that goal. We had 12 Member present lessons, and about 5 Less-Active/ recent convert lessons. Our averages are usually like 5 and 2 so we had a lot of help from the Lord. My testimony of prayer has also grown a lot this week. We were challenged to try to pray more specifically and when we are teaching, to pray simply but specifically. I am here to tell you... it works and it works miracles.
Elder Bennett and I were teaching a less active named Pat Johnson. He is an alcoholic, a smoker, and has had some issues with his family. We talked to him one day and he had been sober for 4 days! THAT IS THE FIRST TIME HE HAS NOT HAD A 12 PACK OF BEER IN OVER A YEAR. We were ecstatic with his determination and trust in Christ to take his pain and help him through his withdrawals. Well, we decided to start giving him a lesson and I had this feeling to offer the opening prayer. Before hand I asked Pat, if he was speaking face to face with God right now, what he would ask from him. He told me that he wanted to have no desire to drink, so I said a short and simple prayer asking for strength to be given him in his time of need, that his desire and addiction would subside, and afterwards we both were teary eyed.
Pat and I have an interesting connection. It's hard to explain but I know that he is one of the reasons why I was called to SLC South. I have never felt so much love for this man, for his concerns and his desires to change. I honestly feel a essence of the Love of Christ coming through me, and I cannot help but want to help Pat in EVERY facet of his life.
Anyway, back to the prayer. He shook my hand and we proceeded to talk a lot about the Atonement of Christ, repentance, faith, and the importance of Church for our enduring to the end and maintaining the Holy Ghost in our lives. At the end of the lesson, he told us he was going to go to church this week if he had work off. We got him a order for clothes and..... HE HAD WORK. DA HECK. But, I know that he is changing, that he is sobering up, and that he is coming closer to Christ every day.
On Saturday Elder Bennett and I had a BAPTISM!!!! Chris and Natalie Johnson got baptized by their dad. Their family has been inactive for over a year or so, and it took MONTHS to get into their home. The spirit just took over in their hearts. Anyway, their baptism was spectacular and the confirmations were emotional. I have never felt the presence so strongly in my heart than during the blessings conferred upon the innocent heads of Chris and Natalie. The father, Chad, was choking up but his words were clear and precise.
It was my first baptism as a missionary, and I know they are going to be strong in the gospel. The parents' goal is to get back to the temple, which just makes me assured of their sincerity.
BUT because of that baptism, we had to consume... 3 dinners. I have not had to eat so much food in my life than I have here... I'm excited for NOT being fed by every member known to man in Australia. And yesterday, a Miracle happened because of the two dinners we had scheduled.
At the last dinner we had, we taught a lesson to a 16 year old named Gabriel. He has been coming to church and wants to be baptized but his parents won't let him. He had his first lesson with us during this time and wanted to be baptized. However, that morning I had prayed for a miracle... and it didn't come from Gabriel, but from a non-member friend of the family we ate with. His name is James Olsen and he had come to Utah to get married to the niece of the wife of the family we ate at. He knew after the first lesson that what we were saying was true and committed to be baptized on June 2! He leaves for Massachusetts the day after as well so I was even more excited. BOSTON BABY!!!! WOO!!
So. Miracles, they happen. Pray everyday and I promise you that your Heavenly Father, OUR Heavenly Father will bless our lives in His own way and time. Have faith and press on.
To make the week better, we had an inactive family come back to church! THE ENTIRE FAMILY. We talked to Paul Sigler, (that's their last name), and he said he was going to file for divorce last Tuesday, but we went over there and invited them out to church in a final desperation to mend the marriage, and Paul confidently said, "We'll see you at church." We were SO SHOCKED but excited because you could see in all their eyes they were serious. Turns out, they all came to church and it's the first time in over 5 years. I felt SO happy. It reminds me of what our Heavenly Father must feel when we stand in holy places, when we do what is right. I don't know if He jumps up and down with joy like Elder Bennett and I did, but the feelings might be similar. Their son Matt--he is 16--told us he wants to get the priesthood and serve a mission and that just added to our excitement.
At the end of this letter... I come to think that Salt Lake City has been a true blessing for me. I have learned and grown so much, but it must come to an end.
I leave for Australia, as I mentioned at the beginning, in about...5 hours 45 minutes for the Land Down unda.
MY BOY SAMUEL ROSS GISH!!!!!! I LOVE YOU MAN. You know that you are never forgotten in my heart. You're my brother and you're a great example to me. I feel awful not mentioning you in the shout out but we are bonded as Missionaries ;) Keep doing work man, I wish you the best of luck.
If you send letters, send them to...
76 Cathies Lane
WANTIRNA SOUTH, VICTORIA 3152
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
Hello all. Gabe, Elder Sargeant's sister, here. Here are a couple of pictures he attached to his e-mail:
His companion cut his hair a tad too short so they had to buzz it...
I got to speak with Elder Sargeant right before he and the other missionaries boarded their flight to Australia. He is pumped, excited, and doing well! Thank you for your support!