|Former Provo MTC companion Elder Whitney and I at Dominos today.Yeah, REAL American pizza!|
|Divisions with Elder Carbajal. Silent, shy, gentle, but a powerful missionary.|
What? The Super Bowl was yesterday? That is a surprise! You know you are far far away from the U.S. culture when the Super bowl is no where to be found!! It's so great being out of the world for this little bit of my life, it gives me the opportunity to really "find myself in the service of others." But how great that the Cowboys are still tied for 2nd in Super Bowls haha...
Well all is still well here in Valle Grande, people seem to just keep coming out of nowhere! The members really responded well to the missionaries talks in church last week and really helped us out this past week.
Something really cool that happened this week was divisions with other missionaries! Something that is great about being a leader is helping out other missionaries and seeing their areas, investigators, and ways of teaching. I learn so much from everyone of them and it is really gratifying and fulfilling to be able to help them in anyway I can.
I was able to work with one Elder who is named Elder Carbajal, and he is known in the mission as being one of very few words and really shy. He is a convert of about 3 years and always desired to come on a mission. We had an experience during a lesson that I will never forget. This young man that we were teaching was having trouble accepting the Book of Mormon as scripture, he believed that the Bible was all that we needed. When I had finished teaching how we got the Book of Mormon and the test that it presents us there was a great silence in the room.. then after the silence Elder Carbajal opened his mouth and started to testify. Everyone in the room felt the sincerity of this Elders testimony, his words were without eloquence but there was no doubt that he knew what he was saying was true. It was something I wasn't expecting to feel, and it was powerful. It reminded me of earlier in my mission when I struggled to form Spanish sentences trying my hardest to express what I was feeling in my heart, I realized again that words don't mean as much as what is in your heart. That is something I am so grateful for here in the mission!
Lida Gomez- we had to postpone the fecha because she is going to have surgery on her mouth tomorrow and wont be able to get baptized until the 24th, I hope I am still in this area when she gets baptized because it has been such a journey to get her where she is at. She really knows that it is true. In fact, we have only been able to see her one day a week (if that) for this whole time that we have been teaching her. It just goes to show you that what the investigators do when we aren't there is way more important than what they do when we are!
Familia Bonilla Vongera- We are still trying to work on the marriage thing with the parents, and it is more difficult than it seems. They have to send papers to the government for every child that they have (6) and it is pretty costly. The kids however are an inspiration, they come to every activity, church event, sacrament meeting, and whatever other possible activity they can go to. Even the smallest one got up and bore her testimony this Sunday, it was incredible. At first the parents were a little hesitant with letting the kids get baptized first but have now realized what a blessing it would be for the family. So hopefully they will be baptized either this week or the next!
Yep, that just about does it! I think I will have more progressing investigators to tell you about next week, there are many, many people we are teaching right now that are on the verge of conversion! It's a really exciting time in my mission right now! However, I fear that my time here is coming to an end. The mission is growing rapidly, and I mean rapidly. I'm talking 20 new missionaries every 6 weeks with only about an average of 8 leaving. We have 4 missionaries in just about every ward/branch in the Cali area. It is such a blessing because when Medellin was in the mission we had the same amount of missionaries in twice as many chapels. With that being said our mission is SUPER young, I am considered in the older part of missionaries if that is even fathomable. 75% of the mission has less than a year. WOW, I know haha! But I am excited for what the Lord has in store for me!
I would like to share with you all something I have been pondering this week, a lot of it has come from 1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
It makes me think in my studies every morning, am I just trying to make sense of these things in my mind, or am I really "getting it?" The carnal mind can't understand the things of God, it can just understand conceptually. It's like how a blind man can understand conceptually the principle of sight and how it works, but does he really understand it? Someone can conceptually understand the principle of repentance but if he has never felt godly sorrow and really felt the joy of true forgiveness the concept is still foreign to him. It is easy to understand conceptually how the Gospel can bless lives, but is another thing to live it and have the Holy Ghost imprint the truth and validity of the doctrine in our hearts. Reading and hearing the Word is not enough, we must experience them spiritually by putting it in practice, then God will make sure that we know by His Spirit that it is true. Then we really "get it," not because it makes sense, but because we have felt it in our hearts. Just like the Nephites in 3 Nephi 19:31-33:
31 And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father;
32 And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed.The words which the Savior prayed were understood by the hearts of the Nephites, not by the mind. I'm not even sure the words were spoken, maybe He was praying with His heart, and all the multitude felt it and understood. Imagine if all of our prayers and studies were like this!
33 And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed.
Thank you family,
¡Sé cuán afortunado he estado por haber tenido el apoyo de cada uno de ustedes! (I know how lucky I have been to have had the support of each of you!)