I have been sitting here thinking for some time, what am I going to write? In the last few days I have pondered, reflected, prayed, laughed, as I passed the memories that I have from my mission. As I reflected, I can't think of a single negative thing that had happened on my mission. Even the times where I might have felt sad or upset, I look at them now and I thank my Heavenly Father for them. The final stages of my mission have been the sweetest thing that I have ever tasted. The Lord has changed almost everything about me....And thanks be to Him that it has happened. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me in the next walk of life.
Yesterday, a sister told me, "What a blessing that you are going home now!"
I said, "I don't know if I would call it a blessing." She then asked me what I had meant... I paused, I didn't know why I would be upset to go home. My future wife and kids were honestly the entire reason that I went on my mission to start with, now the Lord was giving me the opportunity and I was somewhat stepping on His offer and saying no thanks. She then looked at me and said, "You have served the Lord extremely well here in our area, and I imagine through your whole mission. Now the Lord will support you and bless you with your future goals that you have. An extreme calmness fell over my whole body and I knew that Heavenly Father was, is, and will always support me, so long as I live worth of it.
She then offered to put me in contact with her 22 year old Colombian niece who was recently baptized, and we laughed. I know that the Lord supports us. There is a pain that comes with coming home, but even though I may miss the people here, the way of life, and people always looking at us, I feel at peace with everything I have done and will do. President Holm always said, "Peace is a gift from God, after a job well done."
I love being able to help people find peace in there lives, in their moments of chaos, in the times of instability, through the atonement of Jesus Christ. This is the only peace that we can carry with us in this life. I have seen people using drugs, alcohol, sex, partying, a new relationship, and more to find peace. But all of those things eventually wear out, the effects of drugs leave after minutes, alcohol goes stale, sex seems to be in the worlds eyes a fun recreational activity on the weekend that helps you tally points, partying lasts until you get tired and fall asleep, and a new relationship becomes an old one after weeks. But the atonement is infinite and everlasting (2 Nephi 9:6-7). Just like the infinite and eternal covenants, that we have the opportunity to make, are sealed up and bound on earth and in heaven, by the priesthood (Matt. 16:15-19).
I know that for the last two years of my life I have been lifted up and even carried by the grace of Jesus Christ. I know that I have taught the very same gospel that Jesus Christ taught when he very first ministered to us here on the earth, and that he taught even further back through his prophets. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love the pages of that book every single one. I know that Jesus Christ made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins. I know that this life is going to pass by us as if it were a dream (Jacob 7:26) and we will be able to stand before God to receive our judgment and I am honestly excited for it. This life is not reality, our reality is with our Heavenly Father and our eternal families, and we choose to live that or we choose the opposite. I pray that we all can return and live together. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
This week has been amazing! Elder Rangel and I had set an appointment right in the middle of weekly planning, woops, but it was just right next to our house. So we went and there was no one there....sad....but we started walking back to the house and we passed a lady that was a little distance off and she was outside smoking. I waved to her and smiled and keep on walking so that we could finish weekly planning and get to our appointment that we had right after. I got the impression that we needed to talk to her, but I keep walking... "we have to be on time!" I was thinking. So I ignored it 2 more times after that, we got a good 200 yards away and I stopped. Elder Rangel looked at me and said, "Come on let's go back." We went back and she was getting ready to walk in. She initially tried to brush us off and I just smiled and started asking her questions about her life. All the sudden, all the walls just fell. She started telling us about her children and grandchildren that she was looking for a church and then she expressed some concern about her family. I offered to pray with her and she said absolutely. The spirit was so strong in this prayer! I loved the feeling that was there! I didn't want to stop praying. Eventually the prayer came to an end and I looked at her, and with tears in her eyes she asked if we could come back and visit her. She expressed gratitude for us coming back and visiting her and wants to know more about what we do and teach! A super great lady.
That was miracle number one, miracle two. We taught a young mother named Rubi who when she had prayed about Joseph Smith finished looking up and saying I know that this is true! I love the way I feel right now! It was just so great to see so much light in her eyes! Like she discovered some hidden civilization!
Another is that we had a young lady that we have been teaching, named Karely, for quite some time. We stopped seeing them super frequently but would stop by about every other week to say hello and see if they had taken any initiative to read. This last week she said she found her book of Mormon again and started to read it. We read a little bit with her and invited her to pray! She prayed for the first time, and she loved the way it felt! She is going to be baptized eventually! We just don't know when.
Lastly, Miriam was baptized! She is so funny! 12 year old Guatemalan girl who is almost done with the book of mormon! She is going to be a great example to her family!
I've gotta run! But I'm glad that I serve a God of Miracles and I know that he loves and serves us daily. I am striving to do the best I can to serve him and he just keeps giving me blessings! Even my trials are to biggest blesssings of my life! I love being a missionary!
The Lord has really been blessing me lately! I know that he is guiding his work. Just this last week we met with the Relief society President and she asked us to make a list of the less actives in our branch and pray for them morning and night for 21 days. We started to do so on Thursday this last week. Come Sunday, there were 4 less active families that came to church and they loved every second of it! The Lord is still working miracles among his people!
Temo is doing super great he is going strong and he is making lots of improvements, he blessed the sacrament this week and he is still going strong!
Miriam should be getting baptized this Saturday! I need to tell you all about her! She's amazing! And we had another family that is working on getting married or separating, they are struggling a lot, we committed them to praying every day together. I know it'll be super great for them, and they'll make the necessary changes!
I don't have anytime, but this week was amazing! Elder Rangel are getting things lined up for a baptism, we got a new lovely family we are working with and a new mission president. The Lord has blessed us with a new Branch mission leader and I've never felt more blessed in my life! I love being a missionary! Love you all,
This week has been great! The Lord is really showing us some amazing miracles! This week we had a baptism for Artemio Gutierrez. He had been living with his girlfriend, he knelt down to say a prayer. Finished it, all in Spanish (His girlfriend only understands and speaks English), and then his girlfriend came marching in and grabbed all her stuff and left! We asked if he was ok with it all and he said, "Absolutely! When can I get baptized now!?" He is amazing! Going to be a great rendition to the branch. After that we found out that a young man that has been coming to church for a while now is not a member so we are looking to baptize him shortly as well as another young lady named Miriam and we found an elect family that wants to get married and baptized on August 2nd! The Lord is setting the people in line to be baptized! It's amazing to see!
I love being part of Christ's church! I cannot tell you how much I love being a missionary! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I can barely talk about him without getting emotional because of how much my life has changed because of him. The atonement is applicable for EVERY individual, and we have the knowledge and capability to bring it to them.
As I was pondering during sacrament meeting this last week I was looking at a picture of Jesus Christ showing the apostles the pile of fish that they had dragged in after he called them back in off the water. For a split second, my mind flipped a switch and I started to think about how I was doing in my "fishing" (missionary efforts). And a scripture flowed through my head about the apostacy,
11 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God,that I will send a famine in the land, not afamine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but ofhearing the words of the Lord:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, andfrom the north even to the east, they shall run toand fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shallnot find it.
These people that you and I see everyday, they have this hunger, they want to partake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will be 100% honest with you, I would rather go days without enough any fish to eat or catch, than to not give the people I love an opportunity to share the gospel! I love my brother. I am forever grateful for the grace that I receive from him EVERYDAY. My life would be impossible with out him. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
This is a picture of me, Elder Rangel (The Hispanic), Elder Holley (The small blonde one), and Elder Wery, who is from Poway and knows Chance and Tad.
I have had a blast this week! Temo is a man that we have been teaching recently he has already recieved all the lessons and wants to be baptized way bad. His girlfriend is living with him and that is what is keeping him from being baptized. He is an extremely humble man. We also have another girl who is 12 years old that has been reading in the book of mormon. She started reading about 2 weeks ago and as of Saturday she was in 2 Nephi 20! She loves the book of mormon! She tells us all the stories and comes to church and is really excited to get baptized! There are tons of other investigators that are progressing a little bit slower, but they are really enjoying the lessons and truly seeking to know if it's true! I love being a missionary! The Lord blesses me non stop, the worst my mission has ever been is wonderful! Just like life! It might not seem that way, but I promise that it is! We just have to make the decision! Love ya!