I first met J
R C soon after arriving to S P. He is a single 40 year
old man, with a Catholic family and a strong belief in God. He had
recently quit drinking and received the pair of missionaries before me
when they knocked on his door. He continued on with their lessons,
preparing for his baptism and learning about the gospel. Unfortunately,
two hours before his baptism, it was made known that he had been drinking
alcohol the night before. When he found out he couldn't be baptized, he
went into a very depressed state and fell heavily back into alcoholism.
We passed by his house every day and even his own family didn't know where he had gone. About two weeks later, we saw a homeless man on the street, smelling heavily of alcohol, with eyes of depression. I turned around after we passed him, to recognize that is was our investigator, J. He was unrecognizable with loss of weight and with worn clothes, but he was still the child of God that had had the desire to follow Christ. It was July 17, 2013 when we found him on the street and, too intoxicated to understand words, we gave him a sticky note reminding him that "It's not the amount of times we fall, it's the amount of times we can get back up."
Nine days later, we received a call from him and the following day, on July 27, we were able to visit with him again. He told us how he had never felt so alone during these weeks, but through it, he never wanted to be that far from Heavenly Father again. He acknowledged how Satan had attacked his weakest point and how only Christ was the way that he could return to the path of Heavenly Father. He started a dedicated study of the Book of Mormon, and regained his physical strength so he could fast for help to overcome his addiction to alcohol. Starting with this day, on July 27, he has stayed as far away from this temptation as he possibly could. He was nervous to attend church but quickly came back, despite the rumors in the small branch. He received a priesthood blessing on July 28 and also gained a testimony through the power of the priesthood. With the powerful stories in the Book of Mormon, he gained strength in his challenges and continued preparing to enter the waters of baptism.
I have never seen anyone trust in the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change their life so dramatically as he had. He realized who he was, and how he needed Christ in his life, and he gave up everything to make it through the process of repentance. He was dressed in baptism clothes 22 days later, on August 18, after going through the hard darkness and returning back to the path of Christ. He bore the most simple, sincere testimony, declaring how he had finally felt clean and forgiven through the Atonement of our Savior. When we went to his house the week after his baptism, I asked him how his study was with the Book of Mormon because of the questions he always has. He told us, “I actually haven’t read that much because I’ve been memorizing something…” When I asked what it was, he brought me his Book of Mormon and opened it up to Moroni, chapter 4 and 5; the Sacrament prayers. After receiving the Aaronic priesthood and after days of memorizing these scriptures, we were able to see him kneel down in our humble chapel and say the prayer to bless the sacrament. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so tall as when he was on his knees, with the priviledge and authority to bless the sacrament. I truly love being a missionary here. I love this góspel and I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the only way through which we can truly repent and return with honor. J has attended every week since his baptism, and is also helping us in the mission work. He is preparing to receive the Melchizedek in November and is a great support to our small branch here.
He feels like my brother and if he was the only person that was touched in my year and a half of service here, it was worth every sacrifice I have made to be here.