From the Parent of a Missionary
I thought I would flip you guys out with a title in Spanish this time. It´s about time that you learn how to speak it!
This week was definitely tough, but my testimony is strengthened always that when we suffer our tribulations with patience, God gives us success and blessings. ALWAYS! I have also learned that just when you think you´ve got it or you know what you need to know, God whips out some new challenge to humble you to the dust and recognize the HE is the one who gives success, always.
I´ve really had to humble myself and grow closer to God and Christ with my companion. I love how trials give us the opportunity to grow and to love more and more. Christ taught a very true principle: he who forgives more is loved more! And the more my companion and I get over obstacles, forgive each other, give blessings, and work in unity, we come to love each other more and more. Elder Hernandez has repeatedly told me that I’m his only companion in his entire mission (and he’s about to finish) that he has felt comfortable with and really been able to feel the Spirit. I am so grateful that we have been able to feel Christ’s love together.
Our investigators are also getting quite a bit of love this week. But I’m learning an important thing about love for others in the mission: our tendency as humans is “I don’t want to offend them because I like them too much. I don’t want to ruin our friendship. So I won’t call them to repentance or I won’t share the Gospel with them.” This happens to everyone, let’s be honest. But something that my companion has really shown me is that he tries to get every single person he meets to accept the Gospel, and with every investigator or member he pushes and pushes them unto they do what God needs from them. Lots of times I’m shocked by the things he says or does, like waking up a poor 16 year old priest, ironing his clothes, and making him breakfast so that he could have no excuses to do divisions with us. Good stuff. With many of our investigators this week we invited them to repentance and set baptismal goals. We no longer tolerate sin!
We continue to see miracles with Rut and Jessica. Rut went to church this Sunday for the first time in 22 years and Jessica, after reading a passage in the Book of Mormon about baptism, started asking about what baptism is and what she has to do to get it done. She has a goal to get baptized in October — we’ll see how it goes. God is really working miracles in their lives.
The Chamo family is also progressing. Sergio has been struggling with an addiction to smoking, and after talking to him about it we decided to postpone his baptismal date to give him time to really quit. But we’ve already taught him all of the lessons and he loves every bit of it. Now the advantage we have is that we have time to get all of his family to follow in his footsteps. His wife, Dina, continues to doubt, but after we had a lesson with one of her close by neighbors, Hermana Mendoza, she really opened up her heart and asked us to reteach everything so that she could really understand. We are now going to work Word of Wisdom miralces!
Raul had a huge setback this week as well. After a few lessons with his Evangelical brothers present, he became really confused and somehow got the crazy idea that it was easier to just believe that there is no God and that all of the churches just come from human theories to make people behave themselves. Elder Hernandez and I were completely shocked when we heard it, and promptly began to chastise him. 🙂 For some reason, even though he wasn’t believing in God, he showed up to church, and we pulled him into a room and had a long talk with him. After talking about the story of Korihor, he started to soften his heart more and we gave him a great blessing. Hopefully he can start progressing again.
A few more miracles this week: we managed to get marriage and divorce papers (FINALLY) for a couple of my favorite investigators. Miriam´s divorce papers finally came and we are now just waiting on her ex husband´s signature. She should be getting married and baptized next week! Also, Luis and Amada Vasquez are able to get married now as well, and we are working with them in planning their wedding. Fun stuff!
Aside from the investigators, the area is really progressing as well. We had a record 127 people in church on Sunday, including several families from Satelite. After church, the branch president pulled us aside and told us that they would now be contracting a bus so that the members from Satelite can go to church without having to go in a public bus! I was so filled with joy at the announcement that I just want to go and scream it on the housetops — so many families that struggle with financial problems will now be able to go. No more excuses people! We managed to announce the exciting news in our last Zion´s Night activity. We had a record attendance of almost 50 people and we did a massive game of scripture charades. It was a very happy Sunday for me. And after doing a ton of service this week, like cooking with various families, we are really gaining the confidence of the members. I love this area with all my heart!
I now have 15 months in the mission. I continue to grow in light and knowledge every day as I diligently study the scriptures, and I see the miracle of the Lord every day as well. There is no greater feeling than having the Spirit with you and knowing that God accepts you as one of his righteous children. My little brother is now going on a mission too, and I rejoice in the success of all my cousins and friends in different parts all over the world. I love hearing their stories. I love my family, my savior, and this work. The Church is true. Remember that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ — only the hardness of our own hearts.
Elder See II
(I have to put the second now, because my Dad is the first and Connor is going to be the third!)