Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Trial of Faith

President and sister Prince visting zone

Birthday cookies! #thumbswayup

Hiya Familia!
Wow I can definitely remember the times when school was just about to end and there is excitement of summer in the air! I can imagine the kids are getting pretty excited! Keep focused for the finals! And I just cannot believe the life Code's is living these days. Great interesting job, apartment, roommates who take you to the beach, I guess that is the reward after a misión well served haha! Let's hope! Thanks mom and dad for the great updates every week. It is weird however when you guys talk about the weather, seeing as how I left in the Summer and it hasn't changed since I've been here haha. Oh, and my watch did break mom it almost made it halfway! I'll just get another one here. And dont worry about the wáter problem, we get a huge jug of wáter from the dueño of our house so I don't usually ever drink the water.
Well things are just dandy here in Buenaventura, the animo (encouragement) of the branch has gone way up after the changes. We have had some really succesful activities these last couple of weeks and we have seen the highest attendance in the history of Buenaventura the last two weeks... such a good feeling to see the fruits of all the work we put into the branch. I love this type of work because you get such a close relationship with all of the members, and you get to see more how the church works because you are constantly teaching and training leaders how things are done in that organization. I am amazed at the "leadership training program" on lds.org, it is helping so much, you should all check it out!
I had a pretty amazing experience yesterday, we were teaching a Young man named Bryan Solis, who had recieved a testimony of the truth a while ago, had changed so many of his old habits, and had been ready for baptism. The problem was that he wasnt accepting it, for some reason. Every time we talked about it he would hesitate saying that now wasn't the time, and that he wasn't prepared. 
We prayed, fasted, and studied a lot to try to find out what he needed because he just had to enter the water, he is that solid. Nothing came, and we had no idea what to do. We went to his house yesterday after church to try to find the problem. We tried sharing Mosiah 18:8-10 trying to help him understand that he met the requisites for baptism. We asked the same question as Alma:
  "Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord.." 
He responded that it was fear that was holding him back, that he didn't want to let the Lord down after having changed so much. We tried everything knowing that this Saturday was his day for sure, but he kept on saying that he needed more time. 
Then a scripture came to mind, and I knew what was going on, the trial of faith had arrived. Bryan had been given evidences that this is the correct path with the way he had been changed being the biggest. But the Lord will never make the decision for us.. we must act in faith being a little unsure trusting that the Lord will come through. We shared Ether 12:6 and he began to sob, he read that scripture about 3 or 4 times and it was obvious the Lord had given His answer. Bryan received revelation! He said he didn't feel any more sure about the decision, but he knew that was what the Lord wanted him to do. Now, it was nothing that I did that makes this experience special for me. It was the fact that I was given an opportunity to see the Lord's hand in action from a front row seat. I felt like the Brother of Jared, being edified by feeling of the Lord's hand right in front of me. I love being a missionary!
I have been studying the New Testament a lot lately, trying to learn more and more about the life of Christ so I can try to emulate it the best I can. I have been pondering the experience of Peter walking on the ocean this past week. It is when they had been sent home after the feeding of the 5,000 with the fish and bread and there was a terrible storm threatening their lives when the Savior came:
 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good acheer; it is I; be not afraid.
 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was aafraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little afaith, wherefore didst thou bdoubt?
I think we are like Peter a lot, wanting to be like the Savior taking an initial step of faith in his direction, recieving His Grace to do amazing things, but like a little child learning to walk, we fall. 

Luckily, He will always be there to stretch forth His hand, pick us up and teach us something new. If I could tell you all of the times I have felt like this on my mission! The important lesson I take from this is that with faith in Him who is perfect, there is so much we can do. It is when we doubt or think about it a little bit, that we start to sink. I apply that to Bryan a little bit. When he thought about it too much and doubted his worthiness, he sunk. But when he acted in faith, he felt the Spirit and chose to walk

So we will be having the baptisms next week and we are very excited about it. We also had Zone Conference this past week, those are so great I learn so much and it gives us extra excitement for the Work. Elder Inga and I gave a training last week to the Elders here about the "why?" of missionary work. A lot of the time we get too caught up in the "what" we do that we forget why we do it. Behind all the study, finding, key indicators, area books, leadership roles, and manuals, there are people being prepared, found, taught, and saved. 

It is a huge responsibility to be a missionary, and we must put our hand to the plow the hardest we can to be able to say at the end that we worked with all our heart, might, mind and strength. It was inspired by the talk by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf a few priesthood sessions ago. "The what informs, the why transforms." If we always keep in mind the why of our work, we won't just be filling out planners every night, but we will be prayerfully seeking revelation to find out where to use our time the next day. I think we got the Elders to really focus and we saw the results this past week!

Good news about Juanchaco! It got approved! We will be headed there soon, we just need to find out about the details, send them to president and we head out on about an hour boat ride to Juanchaco, I am beyond excited about the experience. I feel like the missionaries who first reached England, the one who jumped from the boat wanting to be the first one there with the Restored Gospel! What an opportunity!
Well that's all the time I have folks! Love you all so much, keep praying for us here we need it!

Elder Eliason

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