Semana ciento dos:
I Couldn't Have Dreamed Up A Better Mission
Well this is it! This will be my last email home. I don't think I ever imagined this day would come but it has. It still hasn't fully hit me that I've served for two years, I've had moments where I've felt it but for the most part I feel like Wednesday is going to come and I'm going to put on my white shirt, tie, and tag and just do what I've always done. This has been a really good week even with more people slamming the door in our faces. Haha. The Oliva’s family came to church which made me happy! We tracted a lot and found some new people to teach (all the tracting explains why more people were rude), and to top it all off the branch threw a surprise party for me on Sunday night.
Last Monday after emails we went and got to play basketball with four other companionships of elders. We haven't exercised in awhile so my lungs were on fire but it was a lot of fun. We went over to the suit shop because the Carpenters were there. They are just the nicest people! They wanted to buy me a suit because I'm going home but I insisted my suits are just fine. Elder Ayala ended up getting suits instead which made me happier than anything. He needed new suits more than Elder Wright and I. That night we spent WAY too much time teaching a "pastor" who, come to find out is a member. It wasn't till I committed him to read and pray about The Book of Mormon that he told us he was baptized and that we might consider him to be an apostate. I really felt sorry for him more than anything after he said that though. I could see that he has had things happen in his life that have been difficult and yet there still is a part of him that knows The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church. It just reaffirmed to me the power and divine authenticity of The Book of Mormon. It is after all the keystone of our religion.
Tuesday was tracting day. Elder Wright went on exchanges and crazy Elder Banta came to our area. By the end of the day Elder Banta was pretty frustrated because he didn't know what was going on. It reminded me of how hard my first few days in the mission field were when I didn't understand Spanish. Now I'm working on reading the Book of Mormon in German but that is a WHOLE other story. :) We had a good lesson with Natanael and Ana on the word of wisdom. They drink a lot of coffee so the next time we teach them I told them we are going to take their coffee. Nathanael is a good guy. The will probably be getting baptized in two weeks!
Wednesday wasn't too exciting. We had a few good lessons but I felt really sick all day. I must have ate something bad because I had no energy at all and could not eat.
Thursday we helped Natanael and Ana move. It was fun getting to help them and not just be a missionary but be their friend as well. I think it is small acts of kindness that help people to know we really do love them. I love them so much and I know they need what we have. There is no other church with the fullness of the gospel. I saw this quote that says, " A mission is not a casual thing, it is not an alternative program of the church. Neither is a mission a matter of a choice anymore than tithing is a choice, anymore than sacrament is a choice. Of course we have our free agency, but the Lord has given us choices." - President Spencer W. Kimball. I love that quote because serving a mission brings more blessings than any mind can comprehend unless they had dawned the tag, which carries the name of the Savior for 18 or 24 months.
Saturday was a really good day. We had dinner at the Gonzalez's house over in Sunset and the Alvarado’s also came over as well. Both of the families are two of my favorites that I've met here. Sister Gonzalez made us a great dinner and the company was great. What more could I ask for? After dinner we had a GREAT lesson at the visitor center with the Oliva’s family. There is just something special about that place that helps investigators realize that this is not just a good church, this is His church. This church does not just teach good things, it teaches the only full gospel of the Father and of the Son.
Sunday came and the Oliva’s family came to church and so did Serafin. There were a couple of other families I expected to be there but I was happy to see those that did come. I got up and bore my testimony. It was a weird feeling to know that was my last time I would ever do that as a missionary. Later on in the day we had dinner with Indira and her two sisters. We have only been teaching Indria and her family for a couple of weeks now so I thought it was nice of them to feed us. Jose Chavez (President Chavez's son) came with us. We had ceviche and it was really good! It is the perfect meal, especially in the summer when it is hot. We went and taught a couple people. One of them was an older lady that insisted on covering her head to pray and changing into a skirt because she said pants are for men... even though she was wearing pants... it was interesting. We left because we supposedly had a meeting with President Chavez and brother Lopez about missionary work. We got to the primary room and there were about 75 people there all from the different Spanish branches that I have served in here in St. George. Elder Ayala recorded me walking into the room. I was completely in shock. I had no idea about any of it and just to see all these people that have been apart of my life for the past two years was humbling. Even some of our investigators came. Several people got up and spoke and thanked me for what I've done. They also had a dinner and everything afterwards. I couldn't believe it.
Looking back on my mission I just feel so blessed. Through the good times and the trying times I look back and realize I never would have envisioned my mission to be what it has been- I wouldn't change any of it either. I really couldn't have dreamed a better mission experience and for that I know the Lord has single handily directed all of my affairs. I love you all. I will see you at 12:14 pm. Remember to replace fear with faith. Vaya con Dios.
Dios es amor,