From the Parent of a Missionary
You just gotta love general conference in the mission. It just doesn`t get better! And the events in this week went right along with the spirit of conference: full of surprises, emotion, and the Spirit.
On Monday I finished the Area Presidency challenge for Central America (I don`t know if this happened in the US?) to finish the Book of Mormon before General Conference. Contrary to my normal procrastination, I finished a bit early. This was the second time I have finished it in Spanish, and I used a really old version that I found in my apartment and marked all of the references to Christ. I started in early November, so that was cool. And as I took up Moroni`s challenge for the 8th time in my life, kneeling before my maker to know if this book that I love so much is true, I found that my prayer changed. I was no longer praying to know if it was true, but I was praying for him to strengthen the testimony that I already have. The Spirit guided my prayer and God answered me. With every verse, every page, I know that it is true more and more. No book that good could be a lie! READ IT! ALL OF YOU!
Well, that`s that. The next fun thing in my week was a service project on Tuesday morning. We woke up bright and early, farmer style, and went on a 15 minute jog to get to the Vasquez home, who had recently built up a GIGANTIC stack of firewood in the road outside of their house. We got there bright and early to help them haul it all in and stack it up. I was sweating a bit more than usual, but it was fun. It`s amazing to see how different people live here. Without that huge stack of firewood, they literally wouldn`t make it through the “winter” which is really just the rainy season. And they have been working for a month and a half to get it all.
We had another great experience with a less active member named Iris. I have visited her several times without progress, so we organized a visit with the relief society president. Women, I don`t know what you have, but there is a charm between women that we men can never achieve. Iris committed to come to church and to present her new baby and baptize her 8 year old son. Whoop de do! I love working with members, and I know that with the missionary work really moves forward.
The battle to baptize Juan and Vilma continues. We thought we made some progress this week when we talked with Vilma without her husband, and she agreed to get baptized and said she wanted to talk to her husband about it. We came back and talked to Juan, and he said that he was already baptized and doesn`t want to do it again, and that his wife was already baptized too. He even accused us of worshiping Joseph Smith a bit. But with the Spirit and with patience, we calmed him down, helped him to understand our purpose as missionaries, and committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. With patience and in God`s own time. I know that they will get baptized some day (possibly in the distant future….)
The Lord has helped us with several not so small miracles to work with the Ortiz family, a part member family in the ward. About a month ago I described a contentious meeting we had with them and my frustration in being unable to reactivate the mom and convince the dad to get baptized. So we started working with their Daughter, Sessia, who is relief society president. We invited her cousins to come listen to the missionary lessons in her home and then invited her parents to listen with us. Now we`re killing three birds with one stone. Nolvia and Londy, the cousins, are very interested and progressing in the lessons. Silvia and Rolando, her parents, both came to general conference and were touched by the prophet`s message, and now Silvia is going to go to church and Rolando is thinking about baptism for the first time in 13 years. The family is happy in the Gospel. And to top it all off, the Lord gave me a laughable miracle. I had promised Junior, Londy`s four year old son, that I was going to bring popcorn and a movie for him in our appointment, but I had totally forgotten about it. He tugged on my shirt as I was leaving and asked where his popcorn was (it`s a pretty rare snack here). I was about to tell him that I forgot when I realized with a start that I DID have popcorn and a movie. I had popcorn in my backpack because I was going to make it for General Conference and I had a movie because I was going to lend it to a member but forgot. To everyone`s surprise (including mine) I pulled out the movie and popcorn and gave them to Junior to use in his Family Home Evening. Miracles!
I hope everyone enjoyed General Conference as much as I did. I could go off all day about how much I loved it, but you all saw it as well, I suppose. I think the conference theme was that God really loves us and wants us to return to live with him, so he gave us commandments to follow to help us achieve happiness in this life and the life to come. The messages touched my heart and gave me the spiritual energy I need to keep moving forward. If I had to pick a favorite talk, it would be Elder Bednar`s on the Law of Chastity. Yes, I know I need to get married.
Well, I love you all. I hope you have a great week!