Monday, November 10, 2008

November 10, 2008 -- Tres Taxis

From what I hear, everyone in the United States is overjoyed to have Obama as a president, except for the racists. I think it is wonderful that we live in a time when a black man can be president of the United States. And there are a lot of things that I like about Obama. But there are also some things that worry me, especially if the Democrats have the majority in the House and Senate as well. But I have a year and a half before I have to start worrying about US politics again (although I have to admit that last Tuesday and Wednesday I missed them terribly.)

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As I've mentioned before, talking to taxi drivers in Monterrey is a finding technique specifically mentioned in
Preach My Gospel. (There is a story about a taxi driver who gave a ride to missionaries in the rain and ended up joining the church becuase of it, but I can't remember what page it's on.) This week I had three experiences with taxis that I want to share with you.

One of the stories starts before I got to this area. There is an investigator we are working with named Johanna. She is incredible. She has an incredibly strong testimony, and she already knows more doctrine than many members, although she has only been investigating for two months. There is only one thing holding her back from baptism—she is not legally married to her husband, and he doesn't want to marry her legally, but we have hope that that will change very shortly.

What does Johanna have to do with a taxi? Her husband, Jorge, is a taxi driver. One day he gave a ride to some missionaries who talked to him about the gospel. He gave them his address. When a different pair of missionaries stopped by his house to check the reference, he wasn't home, but his wife was. At this time, Johanna was an atheist, and laughed at her husband for what little religious beliefs he held. But she let the missionaries in and her life changed.

Although Johanna has not yet joined the church, she has given the missionaries over a dozen references, and four people here in our area have joined the church because of her. None of this would have happened if it weren't for a missionary who contacted her husband.

Last Sunday, my companion and I fasted for Johanna, that her husband's heart would soften and that she would be able to get married and baptized this month. I have developed a great faith in the power of fasting, especially after my experience with Angelica in Salt Lake.

Monday while I was saying my nightly prayer, I was praying for Johanna when a thought came to my mind. "Tell Jorge about the temple dedication." (The rededication of the Mexico City Temple is this weekend and Johanna cannot attend unless she is a member.) I talked to my companion, and we decided to do just that.

Jorge is hardly ever home, but we had faith that we would find him on Tuesday. We went to visit Johanna in the morning, but Jorge wasn't there. We were disappointed and decided to try again the next day. About an hour later, we were still in the same colony when the second taxi experience happened. All of a sudden a taxi pulled up behind us and somebody yelled "Hey, can I have a book?" Surprised, I began to hand them a pamphlet on the plan of salvation. "No, a Book of Mormon," they said. Even more surprised, my companion handed her a copy. Before he could talk to her or ask why she wanted it, however, the taxi drove away. It was a strange experience. But sometimes I wonder why everyone doesn't yell at us and ask us to give them a Book of Mormon.

Anyway, we took this as a sign. (We associate taxis with Jorge.) We decided to try again at Johanna´s. As we were walking up the street, I thought to myself "what if Jorge pulled up right now?" Just as I thought that, my companion pointed to a taxi coming up the road. "That's him!" he exclaimed.

There were just too many coincidences. Before going into the house, I stopped and said a prayer of gratitude and also a plea for the Spirit to guide me as we talked to Jorge.

Johanna was surprised to see us again, but this time we were there for her husband, not her. We began to talk to him and we explained how great a privilege and blessing it was to be able to participate in the temple rededication, and that a prophet of the Lord would be leading the ceremony. Jorge listened, and I could tell he was affected.

To make a long story short, Jorge hasn't yet given his permission, but he has strongly hinted that his mind has changed. I don't doubt that soon I will be telling you about the baptism of Johanna.

The third taxi experience happened a few days later. We had an appointment in five minutes on the other side of our area. We were waiting for the bus, but the bus wasn't coming. My companion wanted to take a taxi so that we could get there on time, but I didn't want to spend the money. Several taxis passed us by, and the bus still didn't come. Then, all of a sudden, I felt like we should take a taxi, so we signalled the next one to pass by.

The moment I stepped in, I felt like I should talk to the driver about the church. It was the strongest feeling to contact someone I have yet experienced. So I did. And he listened attentively. As I shared Joseph Smith's experience, he turned off the radio and I could feel his interest. His name is Victor and I expect to be telling you about his baptism in a few weeks.

This week I read a story in the Liahona about a man who received an email from a boy he had given a pamphlet to on his mission over 30 years before. He didn't even remember the boy, but the boy ended up joining the church because of it. As
Preach My Gospel says, no effort is wasted.

I am extremely excited for this weekend. Friday night there is a special meeting for all the adult members in the Monterrey area with Elders Scott and Nelson of the twelve, as well as Elder Acosta of the Seventy. Since my area is considered part of the city, I get to go. Saturday morning, there is another special meeting with them, this time only for missionaries. That evening is the broadcast of the cultural event from Mexico City. Then Sunday the temple will be rededicated. Since every stake center where it is broadcasted will be a part of the temple for the ceremony, if [any of] you go, we'll be in the same temple at the same time!

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