Wow, I have officially finished one change here in Progreso (Santiago). I can´t believe it!!! The Lord makes our work worth it because we have to work hard but he also helps us to not dwell too much on the time. The time is going too fast for my companion because…THIS IS HIS LAST CHANGE IN THE MISSION!!! I´m so going to able to finish (kill) Elder York`s mission with him. I feel blessed because he still is a hard worker and we are pushing to help the work along. As for me, personally, I´m doing and feeling great. I received your Halloween package and thought I died and had gone to heaven from all the AMERICAN candy and chocolate I had received. Thank you a billion times!!!! I still have this little tummy that has formed but the quest is ON to get rid of it. I think it was because I was too concerned about losing weight that I´m eating too much and actually gaining a little bit. The candy won´t help me but I will TRY to be wise in eating and sharing it. Haha!
This week helped me understand even better how the Lord will prepare people in His time to be baptized or be ready for the Restored Gospel of Christ and we just have to be ready to work to the best of our abilities to support and educate these people about the truths.
Monday was a peaceful and fast day. Tuesday is when I really felt the reality that some experiences can have in the mission. In the morning, we had a lot of extra time and needed to find new investigators so we knocked doors for some time. We came in contact with a very friendly Evangelist Pastor at his door. His name is Hector and he talked to the missionaries about a year ago at his doorstep. We talked casually for a bit and then began explaining our message of the Restored Gospel to him. The whole time, I felt really nervous because we were speaking to a man who studies the Bible frequently for his church and I wasn´t so confident in being able to answer his doubts if he had any. We explained the Restoration and the purpose of the Book of Mormon; he expressed various doubts. The whole time, I wanted to be clear as possible in explaining everything that I started to cut off my companion and Hector as well to say things. I felt guided by the spirit but I realized something different afterwards. By the end of our time with Hector, he agreed to read (or in his own words: “deeply study”) the Book of Mormon compare it to the Bible and wanted us to come back in 2 months. Needless to say, that is a lot of time to wait for a second appointment, so we left him with the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Afterwards, Elder York explained to me what he noticed and what lacked in the unity of us. I completely understood his observation and felt a little regret for not being able to teach better together. He also said something that had an impact with me: *we don´t need to be amazing masters of the scriptures or have everything answer or explanation in the world. We just bring the simple but powerful message of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon to the people and invite them to read and pray about it. We can answer every question that they have but unless they read and pray about what we share, they will not believe and feel that what we have is true. That is the simple but grand power of the Spirit of God.* In the night, our last lesson was with Rodolfo where we had planned to have a normal lesson including the Word of Wisdom. When we got there he had some questions that he had gotten after searching for information about the church other websites (that`s never a good outcome because rumors come from the web). After some random questions about rumors that we cleared up, he had some doctrine questions. Long story short, he couldn´t get past the thought that God and Christ are two separate beings because he has such a firm belief that they are one person. We spoke a little bit more trying to help him understand but nothing was going to help…it looked like this was the end of our time teaching him. He thanked us for the time we´ve spent with him and told us that we were more than friends to him. I felt God´s love when he also said that we were too good of people and he felt the Spirit when we visited. This whole experience tore me up inside because we had developed such a close relation with this great father who loved God and we have to stop teaching him. I cried and cried on the way home that night. I wanted the Eternal Life and blessings for this family and it wouldn´t happen. I now understand a lot better how Heavenly Father feels when His children don´t chose the right decisions for their life. I am going to be a better missionary in my love for the people.
On the bright side, we found a new couple last week named Patricio and Susana that have turned their lives around. Patricio was without work for some time and depressed when we found him. Since then, he has found a great job, has much more happiness and wants to get married to Susana. It has been amazing to see his evolution to this good man. He loves reading the Book of Mormon and studies whatever part of it when he has extra time at work. We need to first work on helping them get married and then be baptized but the changes they have already made have been incredible just in their personality. Felipe, the 17 year old that came to church last week, didn´t come yesterday and we haven´t been able to teach this past week either but he came to the youth ward activity by himself on Wednesday by himself and wants to go to the youth Church camp in January as well. Stinkin awesome!!!
We finished the week with having the primary program in church yesterday and it was precious! I miss my nephews, nieces, and cousins…but most of all, my parents and siblings. The primary theme was Eternal Families and I felt the spirit from these small and simple testimonies. I can´t wait to be wrapped in my Heavly Father´s arms as one of his sons. I also can´t wait to be wrapped in the arms of my loving family. Every single one has a special place in my heart. The Chruch is true and I love you…all. Ok, that was a little cheesy but VERY true. :P Take care and may you all focus in having the Lord strengthen your weaknesses. (Ether 12:27) Con Mucho Amor!!!
Elder Josh Boaz