Ryan sent 2 emails this week to share with everyone so I am only going to share those this week:
Here is a story I came in contact with earlier on in the mission. Very inspirational. Please give it a read it is well worth it.
Dear Elders and Sisters, One of the things we need to know is that our decision to serve where we are called is not by accident. When the Lord chooses a missionary he just doesn't say, well Philippines Cebu East Mission needs missionaries, Long Beach California, or Omaha Nebraska Mission needs Missionaries, He matches our personality and our gifts to certain people that reside in our mission. This is so that there lives can be touched and that we also can receive a testimony that we were specifically called here for a specific reason and for specific people. Do you ever get that feeling that you have known that person before or you just instantly click with a person or a companion. This is not a coincidence, it is part of the divine plan. It is so important to go and do what the lord asks us to do in His time and not ours.
A young man named Bill Carpenter had studied 3 and half years in a Catholic seminary to become a Jesuit priest. Just before he was to take his final vows he came in contact with the LDS church and through the efforts of several people, including his family and through the promptings of the Holy Ghost he joined the church on December 4, 1982. He served a mission from February 1984 to 1986.
This is the conversion story of a Brother he baptized named Hamlet.
I was serving in Iowa when my companion and I knocked on a door of a house. No one answered so we knocked again and still no one answered. As we started to walk away we heard the voice of a man say, "No boys don't go" we turned around and standing in the door frame was an elderly man probably in his late 70's. He asked us to come back and invited us in and introduced himself as Hamlet.
Hamlet was very lonely and he desperately wanted someone to talk to-just someone to listen to his words. I had learned early in my mission that to teach people the gospel many times you have to answer their physical or spiritual needs before you can prepare them to receive the gospel. So for about an hour we just listened to him as he talked, sharing memories of his life and of his dead wife. When he finished he sighed heavily and said, " Okay, so you have something to share with me?" We taught him the first discussion, placed a Book of Mormon with him and gave him a reading assignment. We didn't make a return appointment.
About two weeks passed and I felt really impressed one day that we should go back and see him. We did and encountered the same story as last time. For the first hour he just talked and we didn't say anything. When she finished he said, "Okay I am ready to listen".
I asked, "Hamlet did you get a chance to read The Book Of Mormon like we asked you to?' He replied, yes I did read some. What did you think? I asked. He said, "Well I understand boys, the Sermon on the Mount better in 3 Nephi than I did in the bible." "That's great Hamlet," I exclaimed. "That's what The Book Of Mormon does, it helps confirm the bible. Anything else?"
He said, "Well I did read about a people I'm not sure I understand. They were called the Jaredites. Now were they the people that were scattered at the Tower of Babel?" My companion and I smiled at each other. We knew that the Jaredites were not in 3 Nephi and that's where the reading assignment was, so we explained to her that they indeed are.
I asked again " Anything else Hamlet?" "Well no, I don't-then again, I read about two boys. Now their dad's a prophet, their brother's a righteous man, God even sends an angel to them. Then she threw her arms up and said, Oh you can't teach some kids anything." We laughed. Those boys were Laman and Lemuel and they weren't in 3 Nephi either. So I said, Hamlet how much did you read? The sweetest memory of my mission is of that elderly man picking up The Book of Mormon from off the table holding it to his chest saying, I read it. I read all of it and I loved it.It was a beautiful experience for us. We challenged him to be baptized and he accepted.
We taught Hamlet the remaining missionary discussions. Teaching Hamlet was so much fun. He was like a child in a candy store. He wanted everything, all the knowledge he could absorb and he wanted it now. He had a friend who worked at the bank and he had her write this little contract that we were adopted grandchildren.
January 1986. His baptism was a lovely experience. At 83 years old and 100 pounds, (45kg) Hamlet was frail. The day after his baptism my companion said Hamlet you will want to get a patriarchal blessing. What's that he asked, he explained that it is a blessing like a blue print for your spiritual life.Oh I want one of those blue prints. So an appointment was made and he received his blessing.
Two weeks later Hamlet received his patriarchal blessing in the mail. He contacted us and said, Are you coming over boys? We said we will come over about 2pm like we usually do. She said, Oh no. That won't do. What won't do. That won't do because it came. What came. The blueprint came. The blueprint, I asked totally confused. The blessing. I want you to come over this morning.
When we arrived Hamlet handed me his blessing and said, I would like you to read that for me. I said, "No Hamlet, that's personal, I think you should be the first to read it." He asked me again to read it and I declined saying, "I think its between you and the Lord and you ought to read it first." His eyes got big and for the first time ever since we began teaching him, he called us elders. Now elders you don't understand do you? I said, "I don't understand what Hamlet." My eyes haven't seen the words on a written page for 15 years but when you gave me that book, I know it was true because I saw the words and the Lord granted me that power until I finished its last page. Well I don't have that power anymore. My eyes are dim once again. Would you please read my blessing to me. For a long time we just sat there.
Finally I started to read Hamlet his blessing. It talked about the wondrous elect man that he was and all that God had planned for him. I got about three quarters of the way through it and I read a line that changed my mission and changed my life. It said that Hamlet would have joined the church 25 years earlier if the elder that had accepted his call would have gone. But he did not. But now two other missionaries, had been prepared to teach him. And they have proven themselves worthy of that blessing because of some sacrifice and trials on their part. This was the last month of my mission. I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I'd never met Hamlet. Hamlet passed away that night, having completed all that God wanted him to do.
We have been called to this sacred work, in this mission to teach those whom the Lord has prepared. The lord will perform miracles and if somebodies eyes need to be opened He will open them even if they are blind. May we always remember that everything happens for a reason. We need to be in the right place doing the right thing at the right time so we find the right person or the right family that the Lord has called us to save.
So this story has been change slightly... This last Saturday we had a lesson exactly like this, the man is named Hamlet. he is a little grandpa, he has been blind for the last 5 years because of a construction accident. But about 3 days (when we first met him) before the lesson he had begun to see shapes and slight images. We taught him the first lesson, and then challenged him to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and we were prompted to give him a blessing in a quite room, the only issue is there are NO quiet rooms in the Philippines other than the temple.
Elder Ewell opened to a random scripture and by random, and a miracle he opened to 2 Nephi 27:29, it was so amazing. after that wegave him
thecopy of the Book of Mormon and then walked him to his house.