So Eric's story is, when he was in college in China, he had a friend that introduced him to God. And one night, he offered up a prayer to know if God was really out there and if he really cared about him, and he got an answer, he knew God was there!! Alright Step 1 down, now Step 2 is finding God's true church. So he eventually makes it to America and he joins up with just a local church and he likes it a lot, his knowledge of the Bible grows and he is strengthened in Christ. Next thing you know, he is eating at some K-Town BBQ and he find our English Class add! Next thing you know he is reading the Book of Mormon, and he is feeling the Spirit and he knows its true, next thing you know his old church buddies are telling him we are brainwashing him and that we aren't Christian, and he stands up to them and tells them he knows The Book of Mormon is the word of God!! All this within a week and a half of meeting with the missionaries for the first time. Super on board, super pumped to be baptized, BUT he gets a stumbling block..... living prophets... he starts to dwindle in faith and ends up sending the missionaries a text saying he is done, it is just too hard to be a part of the Mormon Church...devastation sits in.... We go for one more shot, a lesson with us the Mission President, it's a good lesson, but definitely didn't crash the walls of the prison. Eric goes home, prays about the things we taught him, and he gets his answer! God has always worked through prophets and the Church is Gods true Church and contains the fullness of the Gospel!
Why am I telling you this? Well, as I stood there and was a witness for his baptism, I was looking down on him in the font, I could imagine all these experiences that he had, all these struggles and blessings taking him to this very moment and sure, I tried my best to lead him there, but ultimately it was his loving Heavenly Father that brought him there. Oh man, it was an awesome baptism. Eric was just so overwhelmed. In the bathroom he was just weeping and saying 'thank you, thank you so much.' AND even better, at the very end, when we were all eating snacks, President Weidman came through the door and surprised Eric with a big old hug, Eric pretty much lost his mind.
So, I also wanted to share an experience. We were contacting on UCLA and I see this guy, I ask him if he was a student, he said no. He was heading to the UCLA Hospital to see his daughter. His daughter was 14 years-old and had ran away from home, then had tried to commit suicide. The father had just barely found out about this earlier that day. I just didn't know what to do at that point. But, I decided to ask the man if we could pray with him, so just there in the middle of the street, we offered up a prayer for his family. Right after we ended, he said thanks and had rushed off, but we gave him our number before he left. I was a little bummed about it for the rest of the week, I wish I could have helped that man more, I wish I could have taught him something to give him hope, but all I could think of was to pray with him and the prayer didn't really impact him. But, I got a call from that man 2 days ago. He is probably the only person that I have given my number to that has called me back! And he was sounded so much happier! like 1000x happier. He expressed his thanks to us, he talked about how the prayer we had together gave him the strength to enter that hospital and face what he had to face in there. He said that things were looking up with his daughter and the doctors were giving a good prognosis.
Family! I just want to share my testimony of prayer. Sometimes it is hard to pray, we will fall asleep, our minds will wander, they won't be heartfelt. I know I have experienced all these on my mission. But prayer is an act of faith, and faith always precedes the miracles. And Eric's baptism and meeting this man really were miracles, and they both had to do with prayer.
Thanks for reading this super wild letter! Love you guys!