In the Parable of the Sower there are three different places where the seed of testimony is cast.
1. Stony Ground
2. Thorny Ground
3. Good Ground
As we know, those who were cast among the stony ground took up no root. It was cast among the stones " where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it withered away." Then there were "some [that] fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit".But lastly, those that "fell into good ground ... brought forth fruit" in various measures.
Many of the people we have met may seem like they have been cast upon stony or thorny ground, but little did I know when I first got my mission call, that I was also getting called to be a professional gardener and sheepherder. We are here to transplant the seeds currently in the "stony" and "thorny" ground into good soil.
The soil here in the gospel is the softest. The soil in New Jersey is fertilized. The soil of the hearts of our investigators is well prepared and being watered.
We have an investigator named Jose who has the softest soil that I have ever seen. Jose is 21 years old, he is addicted to marijuana and drinking, he is currently living with his 30 year old girlfriend, and he is self employed. The sisters found him a week before I got transferred here and he has such desires to feel the spirit.
Once at a family home evening with our branch mission leader, the spirit was so strong, he stopped and said, "do you feel that?" When we explained that he was feeling the spirit he said, "I want to feel that forever." It's been amazing to see how susceptible to the spirit.
We have a deal with him to meet with him every day at 7 o'clock pm. It was his idea. We have faithfully kept this compromise and after meeting with him for 3 weeks, he is a completely different person.
One of the first lessons that the sisters taught him was the word of wisdom. Ever since then he has been trying to stop his addictions. He loves the Book of Mormon and knows of the power that it contains, so to help him stop smoking and drinking, he reads the Book of Mormon while doing it. He said once that after he had lit his cigarette he pulled out the Book of Mormon, and before he could even bring the cigarette to his lips, he felt the power of the Book of Mormon and put it out.
Now, if that isn't awesome enough, this week he had a really hard experience....and we weren't able to see him for 5 days in a row. He got super drunk and made a lot of mistakes. He was kicked out of his house by his girlfriend, and had many other horrible things happen to him, but all of which softened his heart. We came back to meet with him 2 days after the experience and he said that he had been clean from drugs and alcohol for 3 days. He said that was the cleanest that he had felt in a long time. During that lesson I received the strongest spiritual impression that I think I've received my whole mission. I was instructed to teach him about fasting. We started to describe what a fast was, and before we could even really get into it, he said "I want to do that. I'm going to start right after the lesson." Woah. And he did. We supported him all the way through it. During the lesson we watched "The Hope of God's Love", a Mormon Message by Todd Sylvester and it brought tears to his eyes. We felt the spirit so strongly that even tears were brought to my eyes. I felt such pure love for him. We started our fast together that night. We told him that we would drive home, have our dinner (because we hadn't eaten all day), and we would call him at 9:00pm and we would start our fast together.
We went home, we ate, and at 9:01pm he called us and said, "I'm ready, hermanas." We knew it was going to be hard for him to fast, so we called him the next morning at 7 (another one of our deals to help him with his addiction) and asked him how he was doing. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, "I'M SO HUNGRY!!" Haha We all got a good laugh out of that. It had only been a few hours and he was already starving :) We too were hungry, but we were doing this together. During the rest of the day we sent him scriptures to keep him going. We even called him at noon to see how he was doing. Once again, he told us how hungry he was, but because of his faith, he was determined to finish the fast.
Later that evening when we saw him for our usual appointment, he had his scriptures in one hand and a sandwich wrapped up in the other hand for after the lesson ;) We smiled. We knew how hard this was for him, but we knew that God had helped him with his fast, and would later bless him because of his faith. The lesson was, once again, incredible. The power of God is a real thing. By the end of the lesson, it was time for us to end our fast, but when we told him that he could, he said, "I no longer have desires to eat. Feeling the power of God has taken away my hunger." Then he joked about how he could keep fasting until the following day.
He is awesome. :)
We found out that during the hardest parts of his fast, when he was working in the hot sun, he found out that you could put the Book of Mormon on audio and listen to it, so he plugged it in and listened to it all day long. He testified that it helped him get through his fast.
Isn't that incredible? He depended on the Lord so heavily. I know that the Lord, in return, will bless him richly.
The soil is soft here. His soil, Jose's, is some of the softest I have found.
He will be baptized on the 5th of July. I know it. Pray for him. Not because he needs it, he's got the faith of Moses, but because we love him and we know that things will be hard for him in the next couple of weeks.
Now, if we can find people like that, with soil so soft, what have we "my brethren" against softening our hearts and making our soil as soft as Jose's?
How soft is the soil of your heart?
|Me and my new companion Hermana Stone|
|FHE at the Luna's home. (Branch Mission Leader)|