Monday, January 9, 2017

Tennessee Weather - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Hello everyone,

Do you know what is funny and slightly confusing? On January 2nd we were outside in shorts and flip flops playing basketball. It was like that for most of the week and we could wear short sleeves as we proselyted. However, Friday brought a random blast of winter. We got an entire 2 inches of snow. Now I am sure you are thinking that two inches of snow is not very much, but for some reason the people here believed it was enough to cancel church and to make us stay inside all day. I laughed as I thought about Nick in Montana and all my friends in Idaho or Utah where life goes on perfectly uninterrupted by several feet of snow. Anyway, the last few days were uneventful and cold, but there is nothing to worry about. It is warming up now and by tomorrow it will be a typical Tennessee January day.

I want to tell you all the story of Gary Brown. On New Year's Eve, we were visiting a less active, but they did not let us in so we started walking towards the car to move on to the next person. However, I saw his next door neighbor had their door open which was quite odd considering the cold rain. I was still about to get into the car but something made me want to go visit that house so I asked my companion and we turned around to go back. Before I could finish introducing myself on the doorstep, the man had asked us in and sat us down.

He went right to the shelf in the living room there and pulled down a book. He handed me a well used copy of the Book of Mormon and asked if this is what we were talking about. Over the next half hour he told us most of his life story and bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophet. He said he didn't even know who our prophet today is, but he knows he really is the one chosen by God to lead the people. He told us of how he had learned about the gospel in his childhood but never took the opportunity to be baptized. I will never forget the way his whole demeanor changed when we told him that he could still be baptized now.

Over the last week he has already changed so much. You can really see the light of Christ in his life. He is so excited to be baptized on Valentine's Day. He keeps asking us to make sure he will really be ready by then. What has really impacted me the most is hearing how much he regrets not joining the church earlier. He talks about how it would have saved his marriage and how much of an amazing blessing it would have been to give that gift to his children while they were young. Despite all that he has accomplished, he feels that he has wasted a lot of his life by not partaking of the gospel sooner. He is so completely grateful in a way I can never describe that God has been merciful enough to give him another chance even this late in life.

I have really been humbled a lot as we have taught him. I realize once again how very blessed I am to have this gospel. There are so many people who never get this opportunity in their lives. Gary had to wait 75 years to get it and I had it from a child. That is something I never deserved or earned and it isn't anything I can ever pay back. I am also amazed to see how completely little I played in this man's conversion to Christ. Of course I know that I never convert anyone; that is the work of the Holy Ghost and each individual. However, throughout my mission I have had the opportunity to help many people and sometimes that leads me to believe in myself a little too much. However, it is amazing to see that I am really just an instrument in the hands of God. All I can really do is turn my life over to Him, and he does the rest. Gary would have become converted to the gospel of Christ with or without me, but because of my faithfulness I am able to get a front row seat of this great miracle and learn as I watch God work. God sent us to Gary so that He could bless both Gary and us with knowledge and power from heaven.

I love you all and hope you have a great week. Especially all of you on or preparing for missions. I love you and know you are amazing. Just be worthy and be amazed at the miracles you see.

Elder Liam Basham

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