Mi Queirda Familia,
WOAAAAH! Conference just blew my mind!!! It was quite a sight. All of the missionaries in our district were watching conferance together and when President Monson made that announcement about the change in age for when young men and young women can go on missions. It was like the opening night to Harry Potter 7. All the missionaries literally cheered and were really excited. For the rest of the day, we were just awe struck. Think of the implications of what this means. The Lord must incredibly trust the youth of this Church.
Watching conference as a missionary was an incredible experience. I don't know if we realize, but General Conferance is an incredible opportunity to receive revelation for our lives. Almost every topic addressed would have answered one of the concerns of each of our investigators. It's fun to watch it with other missonaries. It's like anticipating a sports event a little bit. "Oh Elder Holland is up next, get ready for some loving chastisement." or "Here comes Elder Oaks. He's got some real bold sauce." Oh man I love conferance!!! My testimony was especially strengthened.
If I could I would write down every little insight that I wrote down in my Personal Study Journal. But I think I'll just stick to a few. First off, I loved Elder Nelson's address about "Ask the missionaries, they can help you." More than just what he said impressed me. The apostles of the world and including the prophet have such incredible confidence in us. I was really touched. Elder Nelson's comments gave me confidence that we can truly make a difference and do the Lord's work. I'll admit, a little earlier this week I was feeling really discouraged because our companionship wasn't seeing a ton of success. I was too focussed on the numbers that I failed to look at the many blessings we've been given. We have two solid baptismal dates. That's two more people brought unto Christ and a third one is well on the way. He also said that "the decision to go on a mission will shape your spiritual destiny." Look out how he phrased that: the DECISION to go on a mission will shape your spiritual destiny. Are we deciding to go on a mission for the right reasons? If our motives are anything other than a "desire to serve God" (D &C 4) then we need to change something. Don't decide to go on a mission for your girlfriend, for your parents or even for yourself. I say don't go on a mission for yourself because if you think that by going on a mission because it will somehow magically change who you are and make you a better person you've missed the point. Sure, you will be changed on the mission for the better, but our motives can't be self-centered. It must be because we love the Gospel and desire everyone to partake of it.
I also really enjoyed President Uchdorf's talk during Priesthood session. He made an excellent analogy using an airplane. Sometimes the passangers on a plane complain about the size of the peanut bag while they are soaring through the air...high above the clouds. Sometimes us missionaries get frustrated with not getting enough new investigators that we forget we've been called by God to build his kingdom on the earth and be literal representatives of Jesus Christ. As long as we have faith and dilligence, we can help inspire people to change their lives. President Eyring also addressed this point in Priesthood session. From what I got out of his talk, we have a responsiblity to help others realize their divine potential. So we must compliment others, encourage them and tell them that we believe they are of worth.
There were so many gems to be found in General conferance. If you missed it because you were tired or busy....Watch it! There is spiritual power to be gained.
I also loved Elder Oaks talk. Not necessarily because of what he said, but because of how he said it. The apostles have real authority and power to address problems of the world and say what needs to be done. They truly are inspired men.
Ok, we had some great experiences this week. Remember Carlos from El Salvador that we met last week that I mentioned called us over while we about to ride off on our bikes? We learned that he actually attended our church back in El Salvador but decided to forgo baptism to go into the military. He has regretted that decision for his whole life and believed God cursed him for it. He went through many trials in the army and almost died at one point. He lives in poverty now: has no car, no lightbulb his living room...no chairs. We had a very spiritual lesson with him sitting on a few old buckets covered by his shirts. We committed him to a baptismal date and he actually came to Priesthood session this weekend. He's met a few of the men in the branch and is making friends.
How marvelous it is to be involved in giving this man a second chance to accept the Gospel and be baptized into the throng of God. He is even preparing his finace to listen to us. I am so excited to help this man progress. I pray he doesn't give into temptation. As missionries we are helpless to keep him from making mistakes or rationalizing that he doesn't need the Gospel. We can only bear testimony and show him the way, he must choose to follow it. That's how it is with every one of us. I've really come to understand how God feels when we choose to follow him and his son Jesus Christ...its exaclty how I feel when I see an investigator I've come to love decide to be baptized... it's exactly how I feel when I see my siblings decide to get baptized go on missions and serve other people...its exactly how a parent must feel to see their child choose the right...except God's feelings are magnified 100 fold.
We also had two powerful teaching experiences this week. My ability to teach in Spanish has gotten so much better and I know the Lord has been strengthening me. I can understand investigators concerns and address them. I've realized that when I make a conscious effort to speak the things put in my mind by the Holy Ghost, I can speak with more power and when you speak with power and the Holy Ghost backing up your words...you can physically feel it. You feel more confident.
Juana and Tania are still progressing. We taught them the Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom this week. I don't think we'll have many problems there. Juana actaully fed us hot chocolate and bread with her nice china when we came over Friday. We really love this family and we need to invite Juana to be baptized so that she can be baptized with her daughter. It will happen we just need to find the right moment when the Spirit is strongest.
Anyways the mission is giong great. Oklahoma is getting colder and riding a bike keeps sounding less and less attractive. But we need to ride bikes in orderto make ourselves available for people to ask us questions.
I'm so excited for this work to progress.
Have a great week everyone!