I have gotten really far behind on the topics and stuff that’s been going on. I will try and keep this message as coherent as possible, while telling you all that’s happened lately. Know that I really am doing great, LOVING my mission and my time here, especially with Elder Morales!
About dad’s surgery: Yes, I was upset at first, but I got over it as my comp helped me to stop thinking about it. I selfishly had sadness that you guys wouldn’t come here, but I got over that. What worried me more, until now, is how dad will be with the surgery (the medication that they will give him, and how the family will get along if you are only working one job and dad isn’t going to be working for some time). I understand that he has some vacation days, but still, it’ll be a while till he’s back to normal. I mean that’s the stuff that worries me more, but it’s not something that I’ve been preoccupied with. It crosses my mind, but I don’t dwell on it. Don’t worry about me. I love that he is going to be feeling better and that’s what matters most. I already told the secretary that you guys won’t be coming. He has already bought the flight tickets for me to go home. So, that’s that. :)
Lately, as a district leader and doing the district meetings I’ve had lots of fun with it. When I was district leader before, I would get stressed and nervous for the meetings. But, lately I’ve felt more comfortable and finally know what I’m doing. I know that it’s not just me though, the spirit and the Lord guide me so much and help me to know what to say and talk about. 2 weeks ago I listened to a talk by Elder Uchtdorf, “Come, Join With Us” (I think). It gave me an idea: How can you sell a product that nobody wants? Like a sweater in the summer and a fan in the winter, something like that. Well, the gospel is a product that to other people it seems like something that they don’t want. They don’t understand the happiness and blessings that they could receive from it. We have to sell it, so to speak. In a way that they will have an interest. It was an interesting thought, and my comp, Elder Morales has lots of background in business and customer service. So, I invited him to give us a workshop on the topic. It was awesome! We had a great discussion. He was nervous to give his first topic/workshop. I know that the spirit is the most important element in what we do, and that only the spirit can work miracles on the hearts of the people that we come in contact with. Lately, I’ve felt that I’ve had the spirit like 24/7. I’ve come to realize, over time in the mission, that I can now notice and recognize when I have the spirit and when I don’t. It’s been great to realize the difference and its helped me so much to know what to do and what to say. A couple of weeks ago I had sort of a bad day. I felt sad and depressed for dumb stuff that was going on and that I had done. I felt bad, and realized that I didn’t have the spirit with me. After the day was done, I knelt down and offered a sincere prayer asking for forgiveness and for the spirit. The Lord answered my prayer immediately and I could feel His love enter into my heart once again. It was a great experience. I’ve had many of them, and they are cherished by me. I’m grateful for the help, safety, and love that the Lord allows me to feel.
A quick and amazing side note. There was a guy in Pisco, my second area, that was harder than a rock. He barely wanted to listen to us at all. He was living with a less active member. You may remember, the less active members name was Brenda. She got sick one time and we went to give her a blessing. She had a quick recovery and decided to dedicate herself more to God and to the church. Her small conversion helped the man to open his heart to listening to us and he started little by little to go to church. Only one time while I was in the area, he went to church for the full 3 hours. That was a big step for this old and stubborn man. About 3 weeks ago, another Elder that served in that same area told me that this man got baptized while he was there!!!! It surprised me and made me so happy. Sooooo happy to know that the Lord works with his children, ever so patiently, until they can finally accept the invitation to come unto Him. I have pics of the man in his white clothes. It is an amazing testimony to me of the miracles in the Lord’s service!!
We had a baptism of Jimmy, as I said last week. Jimmy is progressing still. We saw him yesterday. He was playing soccer with his friends, and didn’t want to come inside to have a lesson, but I’m sure that he felt bad after and we’re certain that it was something that only happened once. We hope that he can remember his decision to get baptized always, and that he can help the other members of his family to also listen more earnestly to the message. It was hard to see our convert fail like that and not keep the Sabbath day holy, but I know that repentance is real. He can still change bad habits that he hasn’t quite overcome.
We had a training seminar with Elder Lynn G Robbins a couple weeks ago. He knows Spanish perfectly, and it was great. He told an amazing story about obedience:
Sometimes we think that the rules and commandments restrict us or that they don’t make sense or that they are dumb and too small to matter. One time, there was a hijacked plane that the pilot was trying to manage under much pressure. He tried to direct the plane in a course that would allow him to make an emergency landing on small islands in the ocean. The fuel wasn’t enough to make it to the islands, so he got on the intercom and alerted the passengers that they would be making an emergency ocean landing. He gave them specific instructions to put on their life jackets, but to NOT pull the cord and inflate them yet. He did not tell them why. Some passengers obeyed, while others complained and said, “why wouldn’t we pull the cord, that guys crazy”, or “he’s making a mistake”. Those passengers didn’t listen. When the plane finally hit the water, it broke into 3 large parts. The passengers that had followed the pilots instructions were able to get out of the openings of the plane to open water, then pull the cord and float safely to the top. While the passengers that didn’t listen, and had already pulled the cord, floated helplessly to the roof/top of the plane, and could not swim to an opening to get to open water. Many died in that plane crash, not for the crash, but instead for their blatant disobedience to a commandment that they DID NOT understand.
It was an interesting lesson learned. I am being as obedient as possible, so don’t worry! The seventy, Elder Robbins, said that our missionary companions are perfect pre-tests for married life. I’ve seen the blessings and consequences of that many times with Elder Morales. Sometimes we have had moments of disagreements, and it’s made the spirit leave. Many times I have done dumb things and offended him. But, as I humble myself and asked his forgiveness, our relationship has gotten better. We are doing great together. Last week we had a companion exchange, and I realized that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. Haha. I missed him lots! I told him that. I feel genuine love for this Peruvian! :)
On Thursday, after offering service, we ate BBQ at a members., It was totally spot on and delicious. Afterwards, another family invited us to eat their homemade sushi. It was so good!! I’ve never eaten so much sushi in my life! It was with deep fried small squid (whatever Pota is in English) and a typical food they have here called Causa. It is super simple but really good. I was so full after all the delicious food! After all that, and due to not sleeping as well as normal, I got a little sick and had a slightly strong fever. I didn’t want to stop working and rest, so we just kept going. I prayed for strength that I could finish the day. I did even though I was SUPER tired afterwards and went to bed like 30 mins early. I prayed that through the power of the Atonement and my faith, that I could wake up the next day feeling better and with more strength. As has been the case throughout my whole mission, the Lord answered my prayer. I woke up feeling much more energy. I know that the Atonement can heal us spiritually and physically. I have a strong testimony of it. The Lord felt our pains and sicknesses, that means physical, too. Even a small cold, he can help us overcome it. I know that it’s the truth!!
We are teaching a guy called Ricardo. His partner/wife that he’s living with (not married to her) is cheating on him, and they have been together for 23 years. They have 4 kids together. Needless to say he’s really hurt by it. We’ve been trying to help him get through it. Our last lesson with him, we felt impressed to teach him about baptism. When we started teaching him, he told us a story of what happened the day before. He was feeling sad and depressed, and started to pray that the Lord would give him strength and help him. He opened up his Book of Mormon, and read in 3 Nephi 18 about prayer and baptism. It helped him feel better, he says. So, when we started to teach him about baptism, he connected the dots. He felt like it was such a COINCIDENCE that we were teaching him about something that God had him read in a moment of need. We felt the spirit strongly. I know he did too and we invited him to get baptized. He said “yes” and we’re so excited for him. We’ve seen many miracles concerning baptisms and baptismal dates. We have 3 amazing people with baptismal dates for the end of April. I’m so happy for the progress and miracles that the Lord is giving us here.
That’s about all I have for this week. I think I’m all caught up on the stories and experiences. I love you so much. Know that I am thoroughly enjoying my mission, scared that it is coming to an end faster than I know, but also excited to apply all the things that I have learned in my life. I love this gospel. I love this work and I love that the Lord has been able to change me into a better person through these experiences. Just so you know that your letters are not in vain, I remembered that you sent me an awesome excerpt from a talk by Elder Holland from 2001 called “Ye Shall be my Witnesses” (I think). You sent me portions of the talk in a letter from February 2015. Anyway, I used that talk and portions of it in a district meeting last week. So thank you for the letter and the spiritual and awesome stuff you send me.
Know that I love all of you!!!
Pics: The only Mexican food I’ve eaten here. It was great. Also, PLANK from Ed, Edd, and Eddy. He’s gonna be our investigator in the practices that we do!