Learning through Difficulties & Trials

May 2, 2016 Matosinhos, Portugal


How is everyone? Last week, I didn’t have time to do email because we had a giant soccer and BBQ activity and right after that, the sisters had a baptism for their investigator. It all went well.

So, this was the news for last week: the Ward Secretary told us he wanted to introduce us to his new friend who fixes household appliances. Elder S_ and I both really enjoy fixing things and seeing how things work, so we made friends with him really fast. He accepted our invitation to let us come back and teach him in his shop, so we came back the next day and started teaching him. He turned out to be sooooo elect! He doesn’t drink alcohol, coffee, or black tea, nor smoke or use drugs, NADA! Here that is REALLY rare, especially for men. Anyway, we invited him to be baptized in the first lesson and he accepted. We marked him for baptism on the 1st of May, which was in a week and a half! We kept working with him and taught him everything in just over a week – he came to church with the member, and he passed the interview on Saturday. Everything went perfect before the baptism.

During my mission, I have never had an “easy baptism.” Every one of them has been a huge struggle. This one, I thought, was going to be my first miracle baptism that would go smoothly without any problems. Well, I was completely wrong. This one was no different. Ok, I won’t lie, he actually didn’t get baptized…. yet, haha! So, we had the baptismal font full, all the programs made, and everything was going great until the investigator didn’t show up. He sent us a message saying his wife wouldn’t let him get baptized. We ended up going to his house with the member, but in the end it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess. His wife was literally holding him hostage. We think his wife even threatened to kick him out of the house if he got baptized. (Great…) He didn’t end up leaving the house, so we had gone there in vain. He felt really bad and we talked to him later, but man, what a let-down!

I started wondering why it couldn’t have just gone smoothly like it should have!? I’m not sure if this is used everywhere, but here in the mission we use the phrase “The law of opposition.” The week before an investigator’s baptism is like the worst week for the missionaries and for the investigator. Satan ALWAYS does whatever he can to frustrate God’s plan for His children. It’s got to be difficult. We learn so much more during difficult circumstances than in easy ones. I realized that if I teach about Christ’s enabling power, and how this life is a test, and how God will never tempt us above that which we are able to bear, then I have to believe it too. After church, I had some mixed feelings as I looked at the filled font with no J_ dressed in white to get baptized in it…. I knew that God wants J_ to get baptized in that font, so we’re not going to give up on him. We’re going to do everything we can in order to help him get baptized this weekend.

Elder Zwahlen


About Elder Zwahlen

Elder Cory Zwahlen is serving a 2-year proselyting mission in the Lisbon, Portugal area, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He entered the Provo MTC on July 9, 2014. One of Elder Zwahlen's favorite scriptures is Alma 29:1-2 "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."
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