This week, I've got a story to tell. This happened about 3 or 4 weeks ago.
One day, I was going around contacting in Zacapa, like normal, when we heard someone shout: "Hey! Hermanos!" we turned around and saw a kid with messy hair about 20 years old running towards us. (For all you who haven't been missionaries, this isn't normal. The only people who try to talk to us are the drunkards who think we have money or the members.) When he got to us, he asked us what we were giving out. We talked with him a little bit, and learned that his name was Erick. We showed him the pamphlet about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and asked him if he would like to listen to our message. He said he would like to, and we set up an appointment for 2 days later.
When we got to the house, we saw him there, with his family of about 6 brothers and sisters; he had been waiting for us to come. When we got to the tin house where he lives, he saw us, smiled, and said: "Come in! I thought you weren't gonna come!" After talking to him, we learned that he has had a lot of problems in his life, and wanted to listen to our message. We invited him to read, and to be baptized. He accepted. We told him that it would be hard to repent, but he could do it, and that because of the sacrifice Jesus Christ paid for us, He can help us, in every challenge we face.
Since that point, we have seen a transformation in him unlike anything I've ever seen. He's grown, literally overnight, from a kid who smokes every day, messy and unkempt, to someone who prays earnestly; someone who goes to Institute to learn more; who gets to church himself, before the missionaries do.
What is the Atonement? What is it that Jesus Christ did for us that night, in the Garden of Gethsemane? What is the pain that He felt, as He shed drops of blood from every pore? What is it He saw, as he carried his cross outside of the city of Jerusalem, to the hill Calvary? How can we imagine, or ever comprehend, the pain and anguish he felt as the executioners drove the nails through His hands and feet? what kind of agony could have caused him to cry out, as he hung there in that final hour, "My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?"
We cannot know, we cannot tell what pain He had to bear,
but we do know IT WAS FOR US He hung and suffered there.
He was lifted up on the cross, that He would know how to lift us out of our sin. Elder Flores have done nothing. We've only watched, astounded, as this man grew. We watched as Christ touched his heart, and pulled him out of darkness.
Christ broke the bands of death, that we might be free.
It was for us. All of us- the good, the bad, the dejected, the cast off- Everyone who has felt deception, disappointment; everyone who has ever wondered how they could possibly go on.
I know it was for us. I did not see or feel the same pain, but I know exactly what he can do now.
Let Him do the same in your lives. Let Him lift you up from agony.
Elder Jeffrey Reed