Thursday, August 6, 2015

Great Experiences (July 21)

Sorry I couldn't write you guys yesterday, it was Colombian Independence Day and we had a crazy monsoon hit Arjona, and so the power went out. I am just fine health wise. I am actually working harder than any time in all of my mission. We are having very little success, but I am not phased because I trust in the promise that if I work hard, be obedient, and keep a good attitude, I will see the results with time. I am still in Arjona as District Leader AND Elder Escobar`s trainer. I am learning a lot of patience with Elder Escobar. He is improving, but in very small ways. He is largely the same person that I met 7 weeks ago. I'm excited for Russell Brown's mission call. Tell him something for me: Gordon B Hinckley once said "Every, and I mean EVERY, good thing I have in my life-I can trace back to my decision to serve a full-time mission". I am so proud of the way all the kids are growing, but sad to miss some things like Jack becoming a Man, and Ava excited to start Kindergarten. The schools in America are so much better than Colombia. There are about 10 high schools in Arjona-not because there are enough people to have 10 high schools, rather because the schools take advantage of the system and it is a big business where there are not only school rivalries, but one school tries to compete with another for business. And everyone has their uniforms. I'm glad that Ava is still Cancer free. It is one of the biggest blessings I have ever enjoyed in my life. And I still thank our Heavenly Father that she is OK. Here are 2 great experiences from last week: This has been a pretty great week! Pretty tough with Elder Escobar still, but we are slowly making progress. It all started this Tuesday with a Less Active family that we are visiting that has been Less Active for about 7-8 years. The Gonzalez family. We had a Family Home Evening with them this Last Tuesday, and the Mom has been the main reason why the family members don't go to church. She is very prideful, and has told us that she is in all ways superior to her spouse, who is also a member. Their oldest son invited us to do the FHE. We came, and the son had invited a non-member friend. I shared a video that I had Called "Living Below Your Privileges", where there is a man on a cruise that doesn't take advantage of all the amenities that were all along included in the overall price of the cruise. The family at first didn't get what we were trying to say, so I told them straight up "We have the God-given privilege of having an eternal family, and we don't even go to church, read the scriptures, or pray. We cheat ourselves of so many blessings only because we don't have the courage to act." The message hit the Mom very hard, and she agreed. She humbled herself in this moment. We had a great time with games, and a treat, and more Mormon Messages, and it was a great night! Later in the week, we visited their house and the oldest son told us that it was a very testimony building moment for him because he said that for a moment Elder Escobar seemed to look like one of the first missionaries that taught the family, and I looked like the American missionary that baptized him. The Mom told us that that same night, she had a dream that God was standing in the door of their house and told her "Its time to go back to church." So they did. And finally the greatest experience of the week. The other day we found a young man named Antonio who was baptized about a year ago, but it seems as though the missionaries that baptized him did so without having had taught him very much or keeping good records of him. He came to church, without any sort of invitation from us. We told him in church that we wanted to visit him, so we did. We taught about the Book of Mormon and his daily reading of the Book. In the end of the lesson I asked him to offer the Prayer. Now, it wouldn't normally be a problem for someone. But Brother Antonio has a type of speech/mental impediment that he stutters phrases, and he started the prayer like this "P-P-P-P-P-P-PAD-PAD-RE CE-LE-LEL-PAD-RE-PPPADRE..." He spent about 5 minutes trying to pray but literally couldn't do it. So I felt impressed to tell him that if he had faith and desired a blessing we could give him one. He accepted and we went inside to do it. We gave him a blessing for fluidity of mind and tongue, and that it would not stop him from following God`s commandments. We finished and went back outside to finish with the prayer. He was quiet for a minute and then started "Padre Celestial...Te damos gracias...Te Pedimos...en el Nombre de Jesucristo, Amen." Without stuttering once. And afterwards he did not have any problem talking, and asked when we would be back. It was one of the coolest moments of my mission. Anyways, I am thinking about buying a really cool personalized scripture case for my Book of Mormon, that the mission does. Its leather and they do your name and a picture from the Gospel art collection, and a scripture on the back! So, Ill let you guys know how it goes! Until next week, I love you guys so much!