Tuesday, February 18, 2014
We baptized a Jew last Saturday. I say we, but he was the investigator of the second companionship of Hermanas in our ward. Still, it was really cool. No matter where I go I cant seem to escape Jerusalem. I dont mind.
Its very interesting. There are such great differences between Mormon and Jewish religion. Trust me, Ive studied it. And because the Jewish beliefs are so strong its somewhat difficult to talk to them about the gospel and we often think that the Jews wont be convinced until the Second Coming. But Im seeing it happen right now.
The message that we bring is incredible and the Book of Mormon is key. It really is the tool for the convincing of the Gentile and Jew and I am so excited to get to hand out copies of it to all those who are willing to accept it. I would also like to put in a plug here for member missionaries. Us full time missionaries cant do nearly as much good without you guys. When you can invite your friends to hear the gospel, something that you hold near and dear to your heart, they are more receptive. That is how Jose (our Jewish friend) came to a knowledge of the church. Despite his firm conviction in Judaism, his loving friend, step by step, introduced him to the gospel and now he is a member. With out his friend, he would have never listened to the missionaries and been baptized. We need you. Mission work really is that of the members. We are just here to teach the lessons, hand out pamphlets, and eat members food... chiste chiste.
But it really was a special moment for me. True, I never taught Jose and I didnt know him very well, but the other Hermanas asked me to sing a musical number at the baptism. I sung How Great Thou Art, one of my personal favorites and as I sung Jose raised his hands, palms facing inwards and elbows down by his side, in a typical Jewish praising manner. I recognized it immediately from my visits to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. While it was extremely odd for a Mormon baptism and no one else did it, it was very touching for me to see. It reminded me of a time and land that I love very much. But not only that, I realized immediately the significance of it for him. I saw the expression on his face and as I finished the last verse he raised his hands high above his head in final praise. Sure, its not how we usually worship, but that doesnt make it mean any less. I was so happy I was able to be there and experience a second tiny trip to Israel and see the great change in his life.
This work is good. Be a part of it if you can. You wont regret it.