I first want to apologize for not writing last week. I replied to emails from my parents, wrote my Mission President, and thought I was good. As soon as I logged off the computer I realized I had forgotten that, but it's ok, because I can repent.
So let's see... The last two weeks. Des Moines busses are great. The brand new DART (Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority) bus station was newly finished around Thanksgiving. The old missionaries never used the busses because their area was small. Right after Thanksgiving 2012, the Stake realigned their different ward boundaries. Before the change, this area was the Des Moines 7th Branch (a branch is a smaller version of a ward), the smallest unit (ward or branch) in the stake. Then, the boundaries changed to a geographic area, so each unit represents the city boundaries. Now it is the Des Moines Ward, the biggest unit in the stake. We have over 570 members on the ward list. Our average sacrament meeting attendance is about 150-175. Needless to say, many don't come. :( But anyway, the busses are great because they cover pretty much our entire area, so they come in handy on the weeks we don't have the car.
Last week we did have the car. The mission got 5 new cars earlier this month and our area was blessed with one of them. So Elder Hess had the pleasure of driving a brand new 2013 Chevy Cruze as we worked last week.
The other day, I looked at the thermometer and it said -3 degrees fahrenheit. Needless to say it was cold outside.
We are experiencing miracles here in Des Moines. Our investigator Gayle is getting baptized this Saturday! We were worried about pushing her to be baptized on January 26th, after we hadn't been able to meet with her very often because of lack of contact and she was sick. So we were going to schedule her to be baptized for February 16th. Then, as we were planning for the week, on January 18th, we came to the step in Preach My Gospel that says "Set goals and make plans for investigators with a baptismal date." In District Meeting on the 17th, we were talking about our district goals and if we were on track to reach them. The other missionaries in our district (a district is a group of 4-10 missionaries, one is called as a district leader to lead the group) were talking to us about how we needed to help Gayle be ready for baptism on the 26th. This troubled us for the rest of the meeting. We talked about Gayle, then we decided to pray as neither of us knew the answer. After we prayed we pondered for a minute, then we talked to each other. We realized that we were fearing what others would think, we thought we would be pushing her to be baptized on the 26th, and that she wouldn't be ready. But as we talked about it, we realized that it was the Lord's will to have her baptized on the 26th. Elder Hess had the distinct impression, "This is my daughter." It was a really neat experience.
Neither Elder Hess or I have planned someone to be baptized, so we didn't know where to start. So we turned to Preach My Gospel. We planned what we needed to do each day to help her be ready. All of our plans hinged on our appointment with her Friday afternoon. She called us a couple of hours before to tell us she was sick. Feverish, vomiting, the whole nine yards. We asked if we could come over and give her a blessings. So we cancelled the appointment and brought the senior couple that came with us a little earlier than originally planned. She thought we were just going to pray with her, but we explained what a priesthood blessing was and gave her a blessing of healing. After we gave her the blessing, we were talking and we brought up that the Lord wanted her to be baptized on January 26th. One of Gayle's concerns was that she hadn't progressed enough. So we took our teaching record and plotted out everything she accomplished and when. It was really neat to see. She accepted the date of January 26th. It was a miracle!
One of the rules in the Missionary Handbook (additional rules that missionaries have to follow) is one of safety and respect. Missionaries can never be alone with a woman unless she is at least 65-years-old. We can go visit them if we have a man of at least 18-years-of-age with us. Considering that Gayle lives alone, this is sometimes hard to find someone to come with us. On Saturday, the ward had a temple trip to the Winter Quarters Temple, a 2 hour drive from Des Moines. The people we had planned to go with weren't available. What were we going to do? Aung to the rescue! Aung is origially from Thailand and is begining the process of his mission papers. He is awesome! He is always willing to help us and spends 10 hours a week with us teaching. And then he helps out the assistants too! But he came. We were able to teach Gayle The Gospel of Jesus Christ (the points are the Doctrine of Christ I'm always writing about). It started out like a pretty normal lesson, but then we asked some inspired questions and the Spirit entered the room. It was one of the most, if not the most, powerful experience of my mission thus far. In her closing prayer, Gayle said, "thank you for all of the questions that have been answered tonight." The Spirit was definitely there. The scripture D&C 50:22 definitely was fulfilled.
We had set our companionship goal as 1 baptism in January. We didn't think we were going to achieve it. Then the Lord stepped in and told us that our goal was His will. When it is the Lord's will, we must do it! Miracles in goal setting!
More miracles are happening every day. I am excited to hear from all of you! I am also very excited to tell you all how the baptism went!
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
Faith in 550 for Christ in 2013
Faith in 550 for Christ in 2013