Semana 79: If It Was All Over Today, I Can Say I've Seen The Best Thing A Mission Has To Offer
It's been another week in paradise here in the Utah St. George Mission. Overall, it has been a crazy week. We have had a lot of good things happen this past week here in Beaver. First of all though, how is Bug? It was weird not emailing back and forth last week when you were on the road. I hope you got my email with the pictures attached. It was fun going out to Snow Canyon before leaving St. George. I love serving in St. George but I'm glad to go wherever the Lord needs me. I got test results from my A1C, it was 6.3 so I thought that was pretty good. I haven't had it that good in awhile.
The first few days in Beaver were different for me. Beaver is a little town approximately 45 minutes north of Cedar City with about 3,000 people. The Beaver stake (which we cover) consists of about 2,500 people and 2,000+ are members. The best way to describe Beaver is like a Mormon version of Packwood, WA. It has two grocery stores like Blanton's Market and a few motels but it is TINY. It has been different working in a bilingual area with white people as well. I've spent 19 months only looking for Hispanic people to teach and now I can teach everyone. It has thrown me for a loop. The skills I have worked so hard to hone have now become practically useless. It is funny to me how I feel like a new missionary all over again. It has been good for me though to have this change to see another aspect of missionary work. In Ether 12 it says, "my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that afaith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all brighteousness."
The Lord has many challenges for me to overcome this coming transfer that is for sure but I'm excited to see where they lead me.
Thursday morning was fun because we had DTM. This is the first district I've been in that doesn't have sisters. We also have a lot of Spanish-speaking Elders in the district. My companion, Elder Earle (who is from Wisconsin), is the only one that doesn't speak Spanish but as you fully know, I love speaking Spanish more than any other missionary in this mission and I'm working on helping Elder Earle speak Spanish. :) One thing I've been doing lately is praying in English but with a thick Spanish accent. :D I've always loved doing accents. ;) Elder Ayala is in the district, as well as Elder Valdez, the first elder I trained. Thursday night we met with the stake President, President Robinson. That was another first for me in my mission. In Spanish, we don't go to stake coordination’s and we mostly do everything internally with the branch.
After a week of getting accustomed to the small town life and trying to get the work going we had a fun and successful Saturday. We had a really good first lesson with this family called the Guzmon’s. We met them on Wednesday and came back and they were sitting in chairs in their garage waiting for us. We met with the mom, a son that is 18, a daughter that is 13, and a younger boy. The husband wasn't there and neither was the 17 year old girl. We had a great lesson and they seem excited to learn more. I just can't wait to share the gospel, ESPECIALLY with mi gente! I feel like this is one of the families I was sent here for. I already love them! I just know this church and gospel is true!
The last lesson of the night was with a family that lives by President Robinson. They have spoken to missionaries many times and a previous missionary offended this family like many other families here in Beaver by being pushy. :/ I was apprehensive to knock this door at 8:30 pm but we did it and it paid off. Rachelle came out and was just hilarious. She is from So. Cal. and just says whatever she is thinking. That is something else that is so weird to me. Hispanics have such a different demeanor. They are a lot calmer. I can't explain it but white people are just different. I'm still not completely used to it but I'm coping. My body is starting to get used to white people food again. For the firsts three or four days my stomach was really upset from eating white people food. Every time we knock on Hispanic people's doors and I smell Mexican food I miss it!
Sunday I went to three sacrament meetings. It was also the first time in 19 months I've been to a sacrament meeting in English. There were several really great talks. I enjoyed it but I missed translating in the Spanish branch to English. I've been so blessed to have spent 19 months in full Spanish areas. Even though times have not always been easy, I have grown to love Spanish culture. In the coming months and years in this mission, there will be less and less opportunities to be a full time Spanish speaking missionary.
The greatest thing of that happened this week and quite possibly the best thing of my mission happened today. This morning we got the opportunity to go down to St. George to witness the sealing of Martin and Carmen Gonzalez for time and all eternity with their two children. It was last August that Elder Leguizamon and I baptized them and they have just continued onward and upward during this past year. I can't even begin to describe the happiness I felt being in the St. George Temple and witnessing their sealing. I have baptized a lot of people but none have been as strong as Martin and Carmen. It felt like coming home, driving down to little old Dixie and then getting to be in the Temple with many people from my favorite branch in the mission. The love that was there in the temple was indescribable and the spirit that was present was tangible. There is nothing neater than to see the crowning ordinance performed for a couple that a year ago knew almost nothing about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was also told a family I taught the new member lessons is to be getting sealed on October 4th!!! It is such a surreal feeling to know that all this is taking place. I've just felt so at peace today. There is nothing that can replace the joy missionary service has brought me.
The mission has taught me so much about service. As King Benjamin taught, "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn awisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the bservice of your cfellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
Service is all about love and I love these people. I love being a missionary in general! Life is all about service and sometimes we cannot choose where we serve. Grow where you are planted, serve without hesitation and the Lord will do the rest. I'm livin' the dream! Vaya con Dios!
Dios es amor,