Has all of this time really gone by so quickly? Was yesterday really
the last time that I am going to call home? Strange. The time has
literally flown by. I don`t want this time to end...I want to stay in
Peru serving my Lord and Saviour until the trumpet sounds...but then
again, I`ve got other things that He wants me to do. Funny how life
always seems to be full of submitting ourselves to God`s will.
This week has been super great for me! I feel like I have learned and
grown a lot. I continue to progress and grow. I know that Heavenly
Father has had His hand in a lot of things lately. He`s answering my
prayers and helping me to have yet another `change of heart.` It`s
funny because I remember in an Elder`s Quorum lesson before the
mission one of the older men asked the question, `how often should we
have a mighty change of heart?` That question has always stuck with
How often should we have a mighty change of heart? Well...after a lot
of meditation, I will attempt to provide the answer. I firmly believe
that a change of heart is when we decide to put God`s will before our
own. When we choose to do our own will, it is a sin. Period. There are
no but`s to it. God has said that if we even say a prayer without real
intent, it does nothing for us. That, to me, means that we must always
do it His way, not ours. So, my answer to that question is that we
need to have a mighty change of heart every time that we sin.
This past week, I have felt that spirit working within me as I try to
become the missionary and leader that my Father in Heaven expects of
Towards the beginning of the mission, President Chipman gave us a talk
entitled `A Consecrated Missionary.` This talk teaches that to really
be a successful missionary, we have to put everything on the altar of
sacrifice. I would say that it`s the same for our lives. If we want to
be able to come back to our Heavenly Father with a clean heart and
pure intent, then we have to give Him everything.
This week, I tried to do that. Elder Smith came from Morropon on a
work visit this last week. In the afternoon, I really wanted to have
success. I wanted Elder Smith to have a good day because he`s been
struggling to find new investigators there in Morropon where it`s just
a super small town in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to show him that
God really is preparing people and if we simply have faith and work
hard, we will have success.
In other words, I wanted God to give us success in THAT moment.
However, He had other plans.
I tried to control things. I forgot that I simply don`t control them.
God is the one that directs this work, not me. I fought and fought to
find new people, to teach old investigators, and I began to run out of
things to do. Finally, after being rejected for the 20th time, I
decided that I needed to lift our spirits, so we visited a member to
read the Book of Mormon with him and ask for references.
We read just a tiny bit from Mosiah 3 about the Atonement. It seemed
to help bring the spirit back a bit. The teenager that we visited even
had a few friends that he planned on sharing the gospel with! When we
left there, I felt a bit better.
We also happened to be out with another member. He suggested we visit
his aunt who lives nearby, and he told us that she wasn`t a member and
that we might find her a bit anti mormon. Well, I felt good about it
for some reason and we went.
Come to find out, it was a GREAT reference! I know that God put us
there at the right time. We didn`t share a big message, but Alfredo
(the member) had a great experience because she accepted us. The
spirit was very strong there.
Reflecting on that experience, I feel that I was able to learn
something very important. I cannot expect God to just give me
something when I want it. I need to do HIS will. If that means that I
need to slow down a bit and look for what the spirit is directing me
to do, then I need to do that.
The next big thing this week was a work visit with Elder Lindsay. I
learned a TON from him! We talked a lot about some of the things this
mission needs to get better. I really like his attitude and his
ability to really make a lot of effort to improve. He told me about
his plan to just take one thing a month and really improve on it until
it`s just a part of who he is as a missionary. Lately, President
Rowley has been making some big changes in the way we work. It`s not
really a change, it`s just that he`s calling some things to our
attention from Preach My Gospel. They`re very needed changes.
I did feel good about a lot of things that I am doing. I am applying a
lot of what President has been teaching us. However, I was able to
realize that there are a lot of things that I lack.
Maybe that sounds like I`m discouraged about my work or something, but
I just want to testify to you all that I know that Ether 12:27 is
true. When we come closer to the Lord, He WILL show us our weaknesses.
We WILL be more concious of what we`re doing wrong. Is that a bad
thing? No. If we didn`t recognize that anything was wrong, we wouldn`t
ever improve. We wouldn`t ever ask for God`s help because we would
never be able to recognize what we need help with. I have found that
the closer I come to the Lord, the more I can see my defects.
I guess we could think of Him as the `light of the world.` Let`s say
that I paint a painting in the dark. When you look at it in the dark,
it looks super good! However, if I bring a candle a bit closer, I can
see some things that I need to change, so I change those things. As I
bring the candle closer and closer, I see more and more things that I
need to change, maybe many things at once! However if I slowly and
deliberately change each and every thing, my painting will become
better and better. As the light intensifies, it requires even more
effort to perfect my painting.
Christ is the light of the world. He has asked us to `be perfect, even
as His Father in Heaven is perfect.` Here on the mission, I am
learning this lesson. I am eternally grateful for those that have been
brave enough to tell me what I need to improve on, using the light of
Christ to discern what it is that He would have me change in myself.
Elder Turcious told me to be patient. Elder Ramirez told me to work
hard. Elder Naranjo told me to have fun. Elder Castillo told me to
love more and be optimistic. Elder Huaman taught me to be concerned
for the needs of others. Elder Chinchay taught me to work with other
people together. Elder Woodburn is teaching me today. :) I hope to
learn from him how to be more tactful when working with leaders in the
I`m not sure why all of this is coming out now...but it`s been on my
mind for a while, and this week sure was a great week of learning. :)
As for our area...we`re doing ok. :) Our ward is struggling. It`s been
three weeks without a Ward Council Meeting, and the leaders don`t seem
to be worried about it. The other day we were able to talk to our Ward
Mission Leader who hasn`t come to church for three weeks. He tried to
tell me that by visiting the sick and afflicted, he was making up for
not attending church. He tried to describe it like he was paying off a
debt for not going to church.
I asked a simple question: Why do we go to church? He responded: to
renew our covents. Me: And how long has it been since you haven`t
renewed your baptismal covenant? Him: 3 weeks. Me: Do you think that`s
ok? Him: Obviously not.
Direct, no? I tried very hard to control myself in this moment, but I
knew that I had to be direct. I then explained to him how I felt about
our baptismal covenants.
It really doesn`t matter what we do. We can serve God all of our
lives, and give Him everything that we have, but we still wouldn`t be
worthy to enter into His kingdom. I can visit the sick and care for
the poor and give everything I have, but it simply wouldn`t be enough
if I don`t accept the Atonement in my life. We are NOTHING without
Christ`s sacrifice. The Sacrament is what allows us to be clean again.
It is the ONLY WAY to get back to our Father in Heaven. There is no
other way. (I can`t take credit for all this...Mosiah 2 helps me out
quite a bit. :) Actually, the whole talk from King Benjamin helps me
out a lot with this)
Anyway...that`s a bit about this last week! Hopefully this next week
will be even better. We`re struggling to find people to get baptised.
We have a lot of great investigators, they`re just not ready or
willing to take that step yet. Hopefully this week we can have a few
with baptismal dates.
I love you all! It was super great to see you all yesterday! I hope
that you all can come closer to Christ. He doesn`t ask us to make
leaps and bounds each and every day, just one step at a time. There`s
no need to rush. It`s like learning to fly...hey wait...it`s this a
worldly song? Weird. :P
Love you tons!!!