From the Parent of a Missionary
I praise the Lord every day as I watch how the Lord works miracles in the lives of the people around me! There is no more satisfying work than that of a missionary. I totally understand Ammon now:
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.”
One of the hardest parts of being a missionary is not glorifying in your own work, but recognizing that God is doing everything for you. I know that God helps being along the path to conversion every single week!
First off, our “little” branch finally broke 100 people in attendance! Me, Elder Carvalho, and the other two elders in the branch, Elder Webb and Lopez, threw a little party in the hallway and all the members were looking at us weird. We told them why and then they started partying too! We have more people going to church than a lot of the wards that are in our stake. The stake presidency is looking at all of the success that is happening here and is thinking about dividing our area and making Satelite into its own branch! That means no more 20 minute bus ride to get to church. YEEES! We got the assignment of searching for a branch meetinghouse and have been searching all week long. We hope to make this huge step in the growth of zion within a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, all of the members are seeing all of the success in the branch and are starting to “catch the wave” like Elder Nielson would put it. We had a record number of lessons with members and the branch presidency called four new branch missionaries to help us out. This week we will be coordinating and starting to train them to get the missionary work really going here! My companion and I are super excited to be part of this amazing era in missionary work, where the Lord is hastening His work of salvation. And I’m a firsthand witness of it!
The less active members continue to return to the fold like lost sheep who are hearing the voice of their good pastor for the first time in years. This week, God helped us to touch the heart of one member, Mario Cruz and his son, Hancen, to come back. Mario is a very smart man who has studied the Book of Mormon more than I have, but who inactivated due to a divorce and a smoking problem. This week, with the help of the members, he felt the desire to go back to church. We got to the bus stop at the exact same time as him on Sunday morning and we helped him walk through those imposing chapel doors. You can imagine what might be going through their head: “What will other people think? I’m not worthy for this. I can’t really change.” But it all gets washed away when they walk through the door and are greeted by a thousand handshakes and hugs! It is a great privilege to see it happen.
Other less active members who came to church last week continue to go. I especially liked watching Hermano Queme, who came for the first time last week, be so excited to go to church again. Before he was holding a grudge against all the members because they never visited him, but now he got over it after the wave of love and Christ’s atonement hit him hard. Other families are continuing to hold to the iron bar and move forward.
Another great story this week was Kristina, the amazing woman who we started teaching last week. She went to the church for the first time with her aunt and uncle and loved it. Her daughter, who has gone to the church for so long without her mom, was so excited to have her there that she didn’t want to go to primary and held her mom’s hand right into relief society. In our lesson after church, she asked us, “What do I have to do to get baptized?” I think that’s the best question I have heard in my entire mission. She continues on the path to get baptized on the 17th.
Raul is also continuing on the path. His whole family, including his less active parents, are getting more and more excited about church and even go to our famous Zion Nights. He is going through his last couple of lessons and we had a fun time teaching about the Sabbath, which is such a difficult commandment for Guatemalan people. He is having a hard time trying to keep that day holy, but we’re getting there.
We also had a great time doing a service project this week with the Chocon family. Their rusty tin ceiling was all rusted and caused leaks, so we ripped it all off and put a new one on. It was a bit dirty and rough: just my style. The next day we did the Zion Night in front of their house and played musical chairs with all the members. Everyone is becoming more and more excited about church!
My spiritual lesson this week came from a zone training meeting. Doctrine and Covenants 82:10. The Lord is BOUND when we do what he says. Me and my companion made an extra effort to follow our mission president’s counsels with exactness this week, and we saw the results. We will continue to do it so that the Lord can continue to bless us.
I will keep my covenants. I will endure. I will praise my God!
Love you all.