Monday, December 22, 2014

A Mighty Change of Heart

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! (If this gave you a seizure, I apologize)
Oh man, life is just too good over here!! I'm 100% excited for Christmas, even more excited than last Christmas. I'm really grateful because I've been in this area for about 5 months now so I know a lot of people whereas last Christmas I didn't know very many because I'd just gotten transferred the week before. But we're going to spend it with some of my favorite families so it'll be great!
A lot of really exciting things happened this week. 
Maggie got baptized! It was a beautiful and spiritual experience. Both of the women who spoke are converts so they gave touching and personal testimonies of baptism and the Holy Ghost. I don't think I've ever attended a more spiritual baptism in my life. We asked her how she felt right after she got out of the water and she said "FABULOUS!!" with a big smile on her face. Her family is softening their hearts little by little as well!
Andy set a baptism date!! This was a total surprise to me, especially because at the beginning I NEVER thought he'd get baptized and when we tried to set a date a few weeks ago I just didn't think it would happen any time soon! But at our last lesson he bore testimony about the reality of the Apostasy and Restoration (the very things that he had originally rejected) and we pretty much asked him "WHY HAVEN'T YOU GOTTEN BAPTIZED YET??" He basically said that he was waiting for a date to pop into his head. We know that God rarely gives us reveleation that way, so we decided to be the middlemen and list off all the Fridays in January. He said that he was stuck between the 16th and the 23rd. Sis. McKenzie said that her dad was a convert and his birthday is the 16th so he should choose that one and then I chimed in and said that there wasn't really anything special about the 23rd. So he chose the 16th. It was just so incredible, though, because this is something I NEVER would have expected the first time I met Andy. It makes me think of a scripture in the Book of Mormon that takes place after a prophet/king named Benjamin finishes teaching his people about their Savior and asks if they believe his words:
"And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought mighty change‍ in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evilbut to do good continually."
I have witnessed this time and time again in myself and in others. People who stop desiring evil and instead desire good continually. EVERYONE has the capacity to change and become like God. If you think it's too late to change, you're wrong. A few weeks ago I witnessed the baptism of an 83 year old man who began his life anew because he experienced this mighty change of heart. Andy has already lived most of his life, but he also experienced the mighty change of heart and is changing his life to be in harmony with God's will. We all can and do change all the time. We are not built to be static. We are dynamic beings who are becoming like God. 
I love you all and I hope that during this Christmas week you all remember the One who makes it possible to change through His grace and mercy. Jesus Christ is the reason we have Christmas and the only source of peace and hope in this life and the next. I pray that we all can bring out lives more in alignment with His will.
Hermana Bethani Holloway
1. Maggie's baptism
2. Making Pecan Balls at Grandma Goewey's. Each batch has sweetened condensed milk, butter, and powdered sugar. YUM.

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