Elsa is a single mother who lives with her fourteen-year-old daughter Rocío in a cozy wooden house with a wood-burning stove (a blessing for two cold, wet missionaries). Elsa was baptized a few years ago into an Evangelical church, and she is anxious to see her daughter baptized as well. Rocío goes to a religious school and loves to learn about the doctrine. Both are very receptive to our message.
Last Sunday while we were visiting them, we learned that Rocío was beginning her two-week winter vacation. "What are you going to do with all that time?" we asked. "Not much," she responded.
I had just shared with them my testimony of the Book of Mormon, how when I was twelve years old, my young women's president had challenged me to read it in two weeks to begin my summer vacation, how those two weeks (and some 2-3 days) had changed my life, how I know with a certainty of the power and truthfulness of the book. With that thought in mind, I suggested a similar challenge to Rocío. "After all," I told her, "you have two weeks and not much to do." To make the challenge seem a little more reasonable, we shortened it a little - rather than read the entire book, they would just have to read through the book of Mosiah (not quite halfway). Elsa and Rocío both eagerly accepted the challenge.
We returned Wednesday evening, and there was a noticeable difference in the countenances of these two women. They seemed happier; there was a light in their eyes. Excitedly, they told us that they had read the first 15 chapters of the First Book of Nephi! They told us everything they had learned - they were especially captivated by Lehi's vision of the tree of life.
And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—Yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.
As the Book of Mormon teaches us, the word of God is powerful to work a mighty change in the hearts of men. I have seen it in myself, I have seen it in my companions, I have seen it in my family, and I have seen it in the people I teach as I labor here in the Argentina Posadas mission. If you have not read it yet, I would invite you to do so. And when you do, in the words of the prophet Moroni, "I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, if these things are not true." I promise God will answer such a prayer, if asked with a sincere heart and real intent. He did for me.