SAN DIEGO —It has been one of those roller coaster rides for sure. I only have time to tell you one of my experiences this week, but it has been one that spanned the whole week, and will be a lesson I will NEVER forget.
September 21, 2012
Yesterday we had a lesson with Ryan at the Mormon Battalion. We met in the teaching room to talk about some of the concerns he had.
He didn’t understand the Atonement, which is a big deal, as the Atonement is the very center to everything. We were lucky to have the chance to re-explain the precious gift that the Savior Jesus Christ gave to the world. I felt my lips moving as I looked him in the face, but the words were not my own.
The Holy Ghost whispered as I spoke: "Ryan, Jesus Christ knelt in the Garden and suffered for you. He experienced how it felt when you had to watch your Father slowly fade from the earth. His heart was pierced the same way with the last memory you have of your father, a memory that haunts you to this day, He experienced living day after day year after year with anger building up in your heart, eating away at you. He will be on your right and on your left, and will be there to bear you up."
After testifying of the Savior's Atonement, we committed him to keep his date of baptism for Saturday. He stared at me, this time with dark, smoldering eyes and said, "I’m sorry, but no."
If the sound could be heard, the room would have been filled with the sound of two breaking hearts.
Not broken out of him pushing his date back. My heart felt broken because he didn’t use the Atonement. I don’t even want to ever feel how Heavenly Father feels when we refuse to use the gift of the Atonement. It's the gift of change.
I know how I felt at that very moment. That, I know was only a glimpse of how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ must feel. I was once told not to cry for others who are given the chance to use the Atonement, but only cry when they refuse to use it.
After saying goodbye to Ryan, Sister Miller and I sat down in the theater. I rolled down in my chair, looked up at the ceiling and began to cry. Sister Miller grabbed my hand and we cried together. Then we knelt in prayer and cried and prayed some more. The Spirit filled my soul as Sister Miller asked if Ryan wouldn’t have the faith to overcome fear, please let our faith be enough. I know in God's timing, Ryan will enter the waters of baptism. Oh what a sweet and beautiful day that will be...."
September 23, 2012
"Sat with Ryan in a lesson today. He got out everything that has been bothering him. It is amazing to know that no matter who you are, where you come from, the healing power of Jesus Christ is real.
Now that Ryan is ready to use the Atonement, I feel as if I want to jump for joy! We committed him to visit his dad’s grave, and to pray to his Heavenly Father as well so that he can feel the peace and comfort that comes from repentance..."
September 24, 2012
"Ryan came to the Battalion today. My heart has been in knots all week thinking about him. I care about him so much, and know that in order for him to find true happiness here on earth and to return to live with God, he needs to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
I don’t think a second has gone by between Saturday and today that my heart has stopped praying that everything will be okay. We talked and talked about so many things: about eternal families, about the temple, about baptism. And here again, the Holy Ghost said, "Sister Newman, you recommit him to be baptized."
Again, I committed him to make a covenant with God. The silence between my question and his reply was unbearable, I thought my heart might collapse from what it's been through this week. He looked up at me, his eyes warmer today, brighter, free from guilt and shame, and said, "Yes".
HE SAID YES!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!
His life will be changed forever. Despite the bad, the hard, and the ugly in this world, a Heavenly Messenger of God can protect him...
I don’t care how bad this world gets. We are on the Lord's side.