This week was a productive week overall. Working with the Elders, we interviewed and confirmed one man for baptism and set up two return appointments for interested persons. For ten hours of work in our area, that is very good. I also found out yesterday that another set of Elders in my congregation, who I have not worked with in several weeks, has a baptism scheduled for Tuesday.
The first person we scheduled for baptism was the man who we have worked with for several weeks and the one who was having the problems last week. He seems to be doing better in his life, not so depressed. Seeing him do better than before is certainly a good thing for me. One thing that I feel we have to be careful with when dealing with folks like him is to make sure we do not sell him on some idea of prosperity or “goodness” that might come after becoming a church member when that may not happen. This situation with him has really caused me to analyze and study my own personal thoughts on God and temporal blessings. Understanding that at this point in my studies I’m not working with the full toolbox I will eventually have (hopefully), I think I’m perfectly content with my thought that God does not really promise us any blessings here on Earth. We follow commandments not to be blessed here, but to be blessed later on and that we follow commandments because we’re told to follow them. I’m also kind of content in the thought that God may not be all-powerful within this human realm we have here. He doesn’t “allow” that driver to go mad and drive through a town square and doesn’t randomly place huge trials in our lives, these things are literally out of His control because this is the human realm. I’m not even sure that fits within LDS theology . . . am I crazy? Oh well…definitely my spiritual growth for the week and probably the rest of the year.
After the interview, the Elders had an appointment. As is often the case, the person was not at home when we got there. This happens quite a bit, far too often for a logical person to assume that ‘stuff’ simply comes up and draws them away from the appointment. Perhaps people think it’s more polite to schedule a return appointment with us and not show than it would be to simply say “I’m not interested.” After we left here, I asked the Elders if they had anything set and leaving them with the statement “if you don’t have anything that is rather concrete, it would not hurt my feelings to call it a day since I have a big paper to write.” (Exegesis on Exodus 3) We went back towards our church and knocked on the door of a person who had expressed interest in our church before. This lady had moved out but the man who lived there now was interested in learning our message. We went in and taught him one of the lessons (the missionary program for our church is rather structured with 5 lessons for converting members) and scheduled a time to come back and teach another. I certainly learned here that the Spirit works in odd ways and at odd times.
We have a scheduled baptism tonight for the man I mentioned in the first paragraph. Hopefully this one does not fall through, though I do not think it will, he seems very committed to joining and moving forward with this chapter in his life. I have to speak at the baptism event which will be another first for me. The order of the baptism ‘event’ is much like a normal LDS service: opening prayer, opening song, welcoming, talk* on Baptism, Ordinance of Baptism, talk on Gift of the Holy Ghost, closing song, and closing prayer.
Hopefully I can dig around a little more and find the answers to some of my questions that I listed out above, but I suspect that will be a longer term evolution. This was a good week for me in doing work and asking spiritual questions, even if I am not certain I really grew in my spirituality. Without the questions, however, no growth will ever happen.
*talk= sermon without expectations of an uplifting message.