Monday, January 14, 2013

"Staying in Valle Grande for what looks like 1 more transfer!"

Ruben Cano at the Baptism!

All in White!

Ruben and Alejandra outside the stake center.

The zone at transfers. Had to say goodbye to my ole buddy Elder Laws.

Que tal familia!? (How are you family?)

Well another transfer has passed by here and I will be staying here in Valle Grande for what looks like 1 more transfer! I am glad I will get to finish Elder Celaya's training and be here some more with these awesome members and investigators that I have found here! 

This week was just extraordinary! Tuesday we had the long awaited baptism of Ruben Cano! All 20 of the new missionaries were able to be there to witness the baptism. They were welcomed into the mission by seeing what we do here in the Colombia Cali Mission, baptize! 
Ruben was able to express what he felt throughout his process of change that he has experienced in the Gospel, and everyone was blessed with the spirit of his grand testimony. His member girlfriend, Alejandra, was also able to be there and share the moment with him, she later thanked us as missionaries for what we had done to help Ruben and we responded saying that we had no idea what we did and that really it was the humility of Ruben to submit to the Lord's help that was the catalyst for the change that was wrought in his heart. Without Christ, it wouldn't have been possible. What an experience it is to witness!

We also worked like dogs this week trying to find new people to teach! After having baptisms you see what this message can do for people, and it motivates you to find more people that the Lord has prepared to hear it! We ended up finding a lot more than we expected! In this mission we find through members, people progress faster and longer lasting when they have friendships and sources of strength in the members, and this week all of our members left to Bogota for the annual temple trip! 
So this week we were a little on our own. We decided to talk to everyone that we saw and see what happened. We prayed that we would be led through our personal initiative to the people that would listen to us, and that they would be blessed to hear the message that we bring. We planned out carefully what we would do each day and set goals of what we wanted to accomplish. We gave our best effort and we saw miracles... People started coming out of the woodwork contacting us and asking about us, taxi drivers, phone operators, etc.. it seemed like this week people just had an ear for the gospel. Even people in the houses of the investigators we had already been teaching wanted to listen. It's just another thing the Lord has taught me here, if we do all we can and have a willing heart, the Lord will make up for our deficiencies

This next week we will have the baptism of Merlin Hurtado! Just a week ago we went to teach her, and she told us that she didn't feel prepared for her baptism and that she felt like she needed a few months to sort things out. A few things happened with the family that made her question the validity of her testimony and she felt like she wasn't ready for such a commitment. We thought and prayed long and hard what she needed and we had the impression that we just needed to sit down and talk with her to help her out. We knew that if we would listen to what she said and to what the Spirit was saying, we would know what to say or share to help her recommit. We went to the chapel with her and had a powerful lesson, we asked her some questions and bore pure testimony of what we knew. At some point she was touched because she left that lesson wanting to get baptized that very day. That experience helped me realize that sometimes you just have to trust in the Spirit even when you don't know what you are going to do. The Lord will always reveal if we are willing to listen.

I have learned a few things in these 6 months... the biggest being that we must trust in the Lord. He promised Peter, and the Apostles, that he would make them "fishers of men.." if they would follow Him. Then after His ministry they went back to their old fishing ways and stopped following Him. Obviously they didn't have much success. Then He came and told them to cast the nets to the right and they would find fish. Through Christ, they caught so many in the net that "they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes." No wonder the Lord tells us:  
  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)
I love this example because it shows the difference of what we can do ourselves, and what we can do with Him at our side. This is why obedience is so critical, how can we expect to abide in Him if we don't do what He says? The mission has shown me this and I am ever so grateful!

Have a great week! Elder Eliason

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