From the Parent of a Missionary
These words of Ammon were the theme of our companionship this week. AS I continue to work in the vineyard of the Lord, I realize more and more that it isn`t me that is having success — it is the Lord. God definitely prepared me to be a leader, because he taught me how to be humble first by putting me through a long period of trials and hardship. Now I know where real strength comes from — I can honestly say that if I had been a leader sooner, I would have been pretty prideful about it…. But God changes us every day.
As usual, we had a week filled will miracles. I am learning a ton from my companion because he has a super positive attitude about everything, and we can turn even the most miserable situations into something to laugh about. We are learning how to be righteous leaders like the Good Shepherd, not just annoying leaders that constantly bug at the people beneath them so that they do what they`re supposed to. And I`m learning how to be a better person as we constantly praise our good attributes and give suggestions about how to get better. Definitely have no complaints there.
Our zone, Zona Milagro, is getting better bit by bit as we constantly encourage the missionaries to increase their faith and be servants of the Lord. This week, I did two different division — one with Elder Vasquez from El Salvador, who is the only member in his family and came to the mission after having a ton of problems in his family. I was amazed to have him there by my side, and he is an incredibly hard worker and very willing to learn. I learned as much from his as he learned from me. I also did a division with Elder Kerr from Arizona, a relatively new missionary that still struggles with Spanish. I went to his area in Ciudad Quetzal and realized the challenges that he was growing through there. He knew no Spanish before the mission and needed someone to lift and help him. Despite all that, he had such a simple and powerful testimony that he melted the hearts of the people that we visited. I loved it. The biggest lesson I learned this week is that the leader has as much to learn from others as others from him, and as I get to know the missionaries around me I praise God, because he has permitted me to learn from the challenges of others and be a light for everyone around me.
After an interview that I had with my mission president this week, I learned how we can really become the good shepherd. I asked the president in the interview how we can correct missionaries without judging or offending them. HIs answer totally surprised me: “Elder, if you act as Christ would with all of your missionaries, you will never have to correct. You will teach correct doctrine and they will correct themselves out of love and respect for the Savior and for you.”Your dominion will flow without compulsory means (D&C 121:46)” That completely changed my attitude with the people around me. With my companions before, I often felt the need to chastise and correct without really teaching them why or getting them to love me because of it. I am now trying to follow the savior`s example with the adulterous woman: “I do not condemn thee. Go, and sin no more.” As we love and forgive those around us and offer a hand of support, they will change themselves. Afterwards I went to talk with Sister Stay, the president`s wife. She totally surprised me with a happy greeting, and saying, “Elder See, I wanted to thank you for the example you are giving. I can`t tell you how many missionaries have told me “Elder See changed my life.”” I was a really touching moment for me — one of those moments that the spirit confirms to you that you`re doing what you`re supposed to.
Miracles are happening in my area like I have never seen before. God is truly pouring his spirit out upon this people and softening the hearts of many to hear the glad tidings of the restored Gospel.
This week we met several new families to hear the Gospel. The de Leon family is one family who was being taught by other Elders but recently moved into our area and we received them as a reference. In our first appointment with them, they were sitting there waiting with their Books of Mormon and pamphlets, and quickly accepted a baptismal date and the invitation to go to church. They are doing everything they need to to be baptized in a few weeks- they are a Golden family and even have friends in the ward already.
There is another guy we are teaching named German. He was driving by us on his motorcycle and stopped to talk to us — he apparently wanted to practice his English with me but ended up inviting us to his house for an appointment. It turns out that two years ago, some other Elders gave him a pamphlet of the Restoration but never came back to explain it to him. Thanks to that seed planted two years ago, the first thing he asked in the appointment was, “How can I know if Joseph Smith really was a prophet or not?” We happily gave him the answer, and he is now reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.
Another miracle: we went with the young women`s presidency to go do some visits to a less active sister. When we got to her house, she started telling us about a nearby member who had recently lost his job and had no food for his children. We then realized the true purpose God had for the visit and went into rapid response mode: those amazing sisters went out to by food and supplies and we went to Hermano Jose`s house to give him the food. It was a very touching moment for everyone.
Another miracle: we went to a 7:00 PM meeting in nearby Milagro and as we left the meeting, we realized that all of the buses passing by were completely full and we would have no chance of getting onto one of them. I looked at my companion in despair, but he just smiled and jokingly poked out his thumb in the hitchhiker’s sign. To our complete surprise, the FIRST car to come by stopped and said “Hey Elders! Come in!” We hopped in, and it turns out that he lived a block away from us and agreed to take us to our house. The driver looked at me and said, “Hey, I recognize you from a church activity in Satelite.” Apparently he was the boyfriend of a member in Satelite and is not investigating the church. We was struggling with the decision to get baptized or not, and my companion and I started to talk to him on the car ride, The Spirit came and testified to all of us that God had heard our prayers — mine to get a ride, and the driver`s to get an answer to his prayers. It was an amazing moment.
I could keep going on all day about how awesome this area is, but I am hitting record numbers of investigators with baptismal dates and lessons with a member. We are working hard and lifting others around me. I feel satisfied at the end of every day because I know the Lord is working through me. I know the church is true!
Elder See II