First of all I would like to wish Jord and Trista a happy anniversary! I am proud to say that I was there on that great day in Salt Lake! What a great memory I have of being there for that special day. In other news I am shocked about the Rangers, I guess that´s the good thing about the mission is that I didn't have to see it or dwell on it haha.
As for my week here in colorful Cali, Colombia, it has been a tough but great one at the same time. As the work goes we had some stumbling blocks with our investigators, and Elder Matos was as sick as a perro this week. He just caught some chills and weakness one day and couldn't shake it for about three days. So for 3 days we were stuck in the house while he tried to recover. Luckily we were able to go to General Conference and partake of the spiritual feast that it was! So combined with my good 24 hours of study time in the house and General Conference, to say that I got a fill of the good Word of God would be an understatement. But I loved studying in the house because every morning it seems like just 1 hour just isn't enough. I have learned so much this week! And what an announcement! I know of a few sisters that I knew from HT that are very excited about this news haha. And I got to watch it in English! Me and 2 other gringos were able to watch the conference separately and hear the good words of the apostles and prophets in our native tongue!
As for my investigators it's a little bittersweet, we had to let go of Jorge Octado this week. After the powerful lesson we had with him he started asking around at his Catholic church and apparently heard some things that hindered the growth of his faith. The next 2 lessons he just wanted to argue with whatever we were teaching no matter what it was, for some reason he just can't turn from his catholic roots. Very sad but I hope that someday he will remember that powerful experience and allow his faith to grow so that he can cast out all of his doubts.
On a brighter note, Maria Eva is still progressing, but she is having some trouble recognizing answers to her prayers. She feels like she doesn't feel how she should when she is praying. But she is determined to find an answer, she really wants a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of these things. In my personal study I studied personal witnesses to see if I could help her receive her answer.
I came upon the stories of Enos and Alma, two of the more famous conversion stories in the Book of Mormon. I read about how Enos hungered and prayed all day long to receive his answer, (Enos 1:3). And about how Alma "fasted and prayed many days" to know of the truth, even after he saw an angel of the Lord. (Alma 5:45-46). I came to realize that it takes extreme faith and at times sacrifice to prove to the Lord that you are faithful enough, and ready to act on an answer from the Holy Ghost. And then in General Conference I was able to learn about true conversion from Elder Bednar, he talked about how conversion cannot be borrowed. Conversion happens over time by making good choices and experimenting on the good word of God. This helped me a ton to see why sometimes people don't receive personal witnesses easily, because as another general authority said this weekend, there is no witness more sure than a witness from the Holy Ghost. Even an angel in Alma the Younger's case. With an answer from God comes much responsibility to act on it.
Other than those few bits of news there hasn't been a ton to note here except that we did contact a few of the new people we found in all the finding last week and we are very optimistic about thrusting in our sickles this week! President Prince has set a goal for the mission for every companionship to extend 3 fechas bautismales this week, and we are excited about what is in store!
Other General Conference notes: I loves Elder Eyring's talk about how sometimes our will influenced by the world sometimes affects our closeness with God, we create the pavilions that obstruct our closeness with heaven. We must be submissive!
Another one was Elder Holland, it got me motivated to "feed the sheep" and prove to the Lord that I do love Him enough to serve Him with all my might! What a moving talk, I love Elder Holland.
But perhaps my favorite was Dieter F Uchdtorf, saying that we need to take our time in life and enjoy every blessing that we receive. We must not live life with the finish line in mind, that is what I plan to do here in the mission! Take advantage of every day and every opportunity I have to teach these great people! Let's all take a few time outs now and then and enjoy life and recognize how blessed we really are! Count your blessings, they are many!
Have a great week! ¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos! -Elder Eliason