Yes, we went to the ICU this week, but everything's okay! We had a great week. Here's some of the highlights:
We had a great Skype call with Asif on Friday.
Weekly Skype call with Asif is always a good time!It was a funny Skype call because his son was climbing all over him the whole time and there wasn't much we could do about it. We didn't have the chance to meet his son when they were in Virginia, but he's a nice kid. Asif hasn't missed one week of church yet since returning to Dubai! We told Asif to talk with his Bishop about receiving the Priesthood soon, and we also taught him a little bit more about temples and how he can begin to do some family history work. It was super cool to be able to read different things from the Gospel Library app with him, and having him be able to follow along on his own device, all the way across the world. He repeatedly told us on Skype "You have changed our lives forever, thank you so much!" Of course hearing this made us super happy, but at the same time, we feel like we didn't have to do much. He was ready for it all! We simply taught and testified of the principles of the gospel, and the Lord did the rest!
This week with Isha, we taught her a new member lesson on temples. We showed her a Mormon Message video titled "The Blessings of the Temple" by Russel M. Nelson. In this video it show different temples from across the world and different members of the church testifying how temples have blessed their lives. The video also shows different rooms inside different temples. When it showed a couple different celestial rooms, Isha whispered to herself "Wowwwww" and her face was lit up the whole time. She asked us right after the video "So, I can go there now?!" She is super excited to get to go there soon! My favorite quote from Russel M Nelson in that video is that the "teachings of the temple are beautifully simple, and simply beautiful. They are understood by the humble, yet they can excite the intellect of the brightest minds."
We have an investigator Desmond (yes, he's also from Africa) who we have taught numerous times over the last two months, but hasn't progressed much. He hasn't been to church yet and doesn't read any of the Book of Mormon on his own, but he loves when we come by to teach him. He did actually attend Asif's baptism though, and he finally committed to coming to church last Sunday but ended up not coming. Then on Wednesday we got a text from him apologizing for missing church and he told us he had been admitted to the hospital and has been there since Sunday. So on Wednesday afternoon, without telling him, we decided to show up and visit him at the Alexandria iNOVA Hospital. We walked in the visitors entrance, told the front desk who we were here to visit, and they gave us a visitors pass with his room number. As we were approaching the part of the hospital that his room was in, we realized that he is actually in the Intensive Care Unit. We didn't know what to expect, but we got to his room and he was so happy to see us!! We talked for about 15 minutes asking about what happened to him and how his recovery had been going. To keep it short, he basically had some sort of heart attack due to not taking some medication that he's on, then he was out for about 4 hours, but made a miraculous recovery! He told us that right before he passed out, he remembers seeing a picture of Jesus and hearing the words "Fear not, everything will be okay." The next thing he remembers is waking up in the ICU hours later. His family and relatives back in Africa had all thought he died, but they all prayed for him and everything worked out okay. We said a prayer with him there in his hospital room and then went on our way. I think our visit helped him out a lot!
Quintins baptism will be this Saturday! In our last lesson with him, we talked more about Joseph Smith's 1st vision. This time, however, we emphasized to him that Satan did every thing he could to stop that miraculous event from happening, but Joseph Smith's faith and prayers were able to overpower the influence of the adversary. Satan knew exactly what was about to happen, so he tried to stop it. This happens in our own lives as well, before something great is going to happen, Satan will throw whatever he can at us to stop us from progressing. We applied this to Quintin with his upcoming baptism, telling him that things will come up that may test his faith, but he needs to stay strong in his desire. This helped him a lot because he actually had other things that were coming up this weekend causing conflicts with his baptism, but he realized he just needs to make his baptism a priority because that what God wants him to do, and everything else can wait. Quintins so awesome! He's actually a little over 30 years old and has a wife and daughter back in Sierra Leone. He is starting to make friends in the ward and he's super excited for his baptism!
Going back to the story of Joseph Smith, it's a testament to me of the truthfulness of the gospel to know that Satan tried to do everything he could to stop the First Vision from happening (JSH 1:15-16). The same is true in our lives. I know that Satan doesn't want us to be happy and receive the blessings of the gospel, which is why he will throw anything he can at us to take us off course. Whether it be temptations, a specific event, or even other people, he use anything to try and hold us back from receiving the lasting joy the gospel brings and he truly "seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself" (2 Nephi 2:27). I know that if we point out Satan's influence in our lives, and do all we can to avoid doing what he wants us to do, we can be protected from making decisions that will hinder our eternal progression, and we will be able to make righteous choices that bring true joy into our lives!
I love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission