Hello lovely people!
We are now entering week 4 of this transfer, so that means that I have about 9 weeks left in the mission... :O / :( crazy stuff. So much to learn and do in so little time! But the Lord isn´t letting me get by that easy without a few learning experiences up His sleeve before I finish.
First things first, Chari and Isi went to church on Sunday and are still progressing. Chari wants to put off the baptismal date until Sept but I´m almost 100% positive she will change her mind and just needs a little down time so that her life calms down a bit. She wasn´t going to go to church and then we explained that God needs to come first and in an instant she changed her mind and basically said Okay, God gives me everything so if that´s what God wants I´ll go. I love how the Lord changes peoples hearts in a split second! It´s my favorite.
Here´s a small miracle. Remember my last comp Hna Crockett? Well her dad served here in the same mission and more specifically here in Cádiz. We were passing by inactives on Wednesday and met a family who is very offended and very bitter from past experiences with church leadership. We talked for a long time about the topic and the importance of forgiveness and my comp changed the subject and asked them about the missionaries that first taught them. He talked about them as if they were angels, with a smile on his face and a gleam in his eyes. Then she asked him their names, something I never would have thought to do. He said his favorite was Elder Crockett...I jumped on that and asked for more details. Allan Crockett, my last comps Dad was his missionary! Small world? No. God puts us where we need to be at the right time for his purposes. I got his email and now her dad will be a able to contact him and hopefully work with him. I love the plans of our Heavenly Father.
We got to see the Boullosa family again this week and gosh I love working with them! They are so ready to come back to the church! They are having some issues in the family and so in comes the youngest son (if you remember, Javi, 30+) and basically solves everything for us. He was quoting scriptures and citing prophets like an active church leader, amazing. At one point I asked him why he wasn´t wearing one of our nametags as a joke haha. He knows that he has to come back to church and says that over the past years he started to study science in depth and is convinced more than ever that God lives and that the church is true. He quoted someone saying "A small amount of knowledge bring us closer to science and a lot of knowledge brings us closer to God." I fully agree. His mom, Angelita went to church on Sunday and loved being back :)
The longer I am out in the world the more I see that almost everyone is depressed. Church members, non-church members, it´s how Satan is attacking people, making it so that they feel awful and don´t have the desire to do anything. But to that I would like to include a quote from our wonderful prophet from last conference "each person has within himself or herself the “power to increase the sum total of [the] world’s happiness … by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged.” Said he, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
Like I mentioned earlier I am love God´s plan and I am learning a lot. This week, transfer, area, I have been here to learn about love. How to understand it, have it, and show it, even when you think you can´t or when you don´t want to. And I have come to realize, (at least for me) that in order to truly love God and others completely and fully we have to first learn patience, faith, humility, trust, and obedience. I had learned about the others from my past time spent and experiences had in the mission, and so lately I have been praying to understand and acquire love. All those of you who are married know exactly what I mean and this shouldn't be anything new to you but for me it is different when it is not only a theory or a topic of conversation, but something that has to be lived.
Not only God, but others have to sincerely be more important to you than your pride, your opinion, your impatience, your fears, your doubts, and your weaknesses. But when you don´t feel that love, and want to feel it what do you do? You pray (Moroni 7:48), you work acts of righteousness (aka service), and you trust in the grace of God, the one thing that overcomes all and helps work miracles and masterpieces in us. And all of those traits that you have already developed become necessary, they become crucial. It takes all your humility, patience, and faith to trust that God will give you that type of love.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
3 Nephi 12:
44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;
48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
I think that become the hardest thing for us sometimes, the thing that stops some of us from that perfection we are seeking. Our thoughts, our words, and how we treat not only family and friends but also enemies. But when it becomes difficult I think of Christ and the words of Nephi in Ch 1:9
"And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."
We suffer because he suffered for all of us that we may repent and be perfected in Him, because he loves us. So the words of a song from Moulin Rouge come to mind in that "Come what may I will love Him" no matter what trials I have and no matter what happens, and that kind of love takes faith, trust, and a humility to accept His will and plan for me and for others.
I know that God lives. He cuts me down because he loves me. He sticks me in the fire so that I come out purer and more clean. He gives me trials so that through my perfection I later can be truly happy, forever. And so now more than ever I can say that I truly look for and accept His will because I know that it is the best thing for me. And because he loves me I can sincerely say that I love Him more than ever.
And so I leave you with this last scripture,
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
I LOVE ALL OF YOU! Thanks for your support and for taking this journey with me.
ps- still waiting for people to send me photos so until next week i hope!