April 9, 2016
This past week has been awesome! General conference was amazing and we had 3 investigators go!!! It was cool to see how the lord blesses us as we work diligently. Our prayers were definitely answered. Two transfers ago Elder Morales and I had to start from the ground up in this sector and now we have several families and many new investigators. We have come become very close with the members in the ward and we have seen so progress in Antofagasta Centro. Elder Morales has really helped me to keep my focus as a missionary, which is to find, teach and baptize. We teach repentance and we baptize converts. We work great together. We found a new family while looking for a reference some members gave us and they are awesome! It is a young couple and they both had a son recently. The baby had several problems at birth and the doctors said the baby boy was going to die but she prayed and her prayer was answered. They are both amazing and so receptive. We just knocked on their door and told them that we had a message that could change their lives and they let us in immediately. We shared lesson 1 (The Restoration) and focused a lot on the family and how the gospel blesses families. They both desire to learn more and said they are going to do everything possible to go to church this Sunday. Also, we have an investigator named "Coco" and he is incredibly receptive. We met him last week and he said he wants to come to church with us this week as well! We have an investigator named Kermit that is searching for the true church and is reading 10 chapters a day in the Book of Mormon! We taught him recently and we talked about baptism. He doesn’t want to feel pressured into being baptized but he said if he comes to know that this is the true church and that the Book of Mormon is the word of god, he will be baptized. He too committed to coming to church. Jaime and Kelly are two other investigators we have and they both went to the conference! They both really enjoyed it and we were able to teach Jaime the other day and he said he would like to continue learning more about the gospel. He said that he would try to make it Sunday. We met the mother of an old investigator we used to teach and she is super awesome. She actually almost got baptized in our church but she decided not to. We are now teaching her and we are going to help her finish what she started. Christian, our investigator that had a baptismal date for the 30th decided he doesn’t want to get baptized. He said that church just wasn’t something for him. I’m absolutely sure his friends talked him out of it but its okay. We are going to give him sometime to think about it and we will stay in contact with him. Alan and his wife Zulema both have a baptismal date for the 30th as well but they still have not committed to going to church. They work in the "vega" which is like the farmers market here in Chile and he works every Sunday. This makes it very hard for him to progress because this is the best day to work in the vega. Yesterday, we had the 1st counselor of the bishopric come with us to teach Alan and we taught "El día de Reposo" (Keeping the Sabbath day). He still is having a hard time with this. Brother Sanchez, the 1st counselor that came with us invited Alan and his family to a Family home evening in his house this Monday. I think this is exactly what Alan needs. To see a family that applies the principles of the gospel in their lives. I’m excited to see what happens with this. We are finding new investigators everyday and we truly are seeing miracles.
On another note, this week in the office I have had a little extra time to do stuff because I have been training Elder Huffstutler so I decided to type up a short version of my conversion story. It was kind of fun to write and it gave me an opportunity to look back and reflect on my life. It was cool to see what events in my life have gotten me to this moment and time. Attached is a copy of it. I’m still not done with it but here is. Now, my invitation to all of you is to do the same. I want each of you to send me a one paged summary of your conversion stories before next Saturday. This is an awesome opportunity to strengthen your testimonies and build your faith. I will be looking forward to reading each and every one of them! Anyway, got people to save! Until next week! Love you all.
April 6th, 2016
My Conversion Story
My name is Parker Todd Spanbauer. I’m a Mormon and this is my conversion story:
I was born in Boise Idaho in the year of 1996 to wonderful parents. My father, Timothy Todd Spanbauer and my mother, Lisa Lynn Hayhurst were both born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As Nephi once said, “I have been born of goodly parents”. I think this applies to me as well. I feel so privileged to have been born into this great and wonderful church but in order to understand why, we must go to my past.
Growing up, I have always participated in many of the Church’s programs like scouting for example. This experience has allowed me to develop many friendships with many different people that share similar backgrounds and religious views. My friends in the church have played a huge role in me becoming the person I am today. There are many people in this world that believe one is influenced by those around them. I completely agree with this statement but only to a certain degree. I believe that at some point in everyone’s life, a decision has to be made and that decision cannot be made by anyone else. Just me, and only me. My parents taught me basic principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ but it wasn’t until I applied these principles that I began to see a change in me and my desires to serve others. As a young teenager, it was all about “Me”. I had no interest in others or their needs or necessities. If I was happy, the world was happy. My view on this has changed tremendously over the years. I love the scripture in Messiah 2:17 that reads: “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
Before making the decision of serving a fulltime mission, I had many doubts and fears of serving. My dad served a mission in Puerto Rico but I never really understood the importance of serving. I was “Lost” so to speak. Lost in thought and confusion. Part of me wanted to serve a mission to simply say I served a mission, another part of me wanted to start studying and begin my life. In short terms, I was confused. I did not know what to do nor which path I should take. On top of all this confusion, I wasn’t really living the gospel like I should have. I would go to church but with a bad attitude. I didn’t read the scriptures or pray daily. I simply did not practice what I pretended to be. I had a best friend that was always an example to me. Sometimes it made me mad because I thought he was “Too Mormon”. The ironic part of it all is the fact that this same friend was the one who helped me get out on the mission. His desire to serve the lord was contagious! He would encourage me to attend mission preparation classes even though he knew I had no desire to do so. He was a good friend, but an even better example. He received his mission call to South America. I remember feeling so jealous of his call and I believe that this jealousy sparked a little fire in me with the desire to serve. I began to really push through my mission papers to get my call as fast as possible. I also committed myself to reading the Book of Mormon every day. I began to pray before bed each night. I began to practice and apply what my parents and church leaders had taught me. The weirdest thing of it all was that I began to enjoy it. I experienced “Spiritual Hunger” to a degree I had never thought possible. I could not sleep without reading or praying beforehand. I began to have the desire to do good. Now I can’t say that I became some sort of angel overnight but I can say that I experienced a change of heart.
As a young adult, I was always “jealous” of the people that could say: “I know this church is true”. I wanted to be able to say the same but I couldn’t. I read and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true and I felt nothing… Absolutely nothing. “How is it that one can pray and receive an answer from god?” I would ask myself. What was I doing wrong? Maybe I didn’t have enough faith perhaps? To this day I have not had some sort of heavenly manifestation from god telling me that the Book of Mormon is true nor do I plan having one. A simple good feeling should be enough to satisfy our spiritual desires. Elder Bednar said something I really liked. He said: “Now I don’t know about all of you but I would take a simple feeling of peace and comfort over having an angel from heaven come down to tell me that these things are true like with Alma the younger”. I thought this was hilarious but at the same time he taught a very basic principle of the gospel: Faith. If we ask, we shall receive. If we ask with a sincere heart, true intent and with faith in Christ, we can know the truth of all things. What an amazing promise. We must be willing to act in accordance with the answer we are given. Many believe that God is some celestial being far away but he is a lot closer than we think. He knows us individually, he knows what we are feeling and most importantly… he knows how to help us. So with this said, I kept reading and praying and began to recognize a sense of peace in my life. I could begin to see a difference in my life. I guess you could say I received my answer.
I received my mission call to Antofagasta Chile and that is where I currently am. I have truly learned to love those around me. I now know what it means to serve others. I have seen miracles in my life as a missionary and have had the opportunity to see how the lord works through us to help others. I have grown closer to my heavenly father and my lord and savior. Many are like me; they wait and wait and wait and then wait a little more for the answer to come. Faith is a verb. It requires action and dedication to that which we are looking for. It wasn’t until after testing my faith that I came to know that this church is true. I had to leave my family, my friends and all my selfish desires to come closer unto my savior. It was a hard lesson to learn and I learned it pretty late but you know what they say…. Better late than never. I stand as a witness that god lives and that he sent his only begotten son to atone for the sins of the world. When we surrender to the will of the father, it is then and only then that we become his children. I know god and I love god with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I pray that others can begin to exercise their faith and feel as I do. I pray that others can gain a better understanding of their purpose in life. God loves us. He listens to us. He wants us. This is my testimony. This is my conversion story… In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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