Hey Everyone! Hope all is well with each of you!
Man this week has been so great! I have learned so much and witnessed some awesome miracles.
So to start off what I have been learning. This transfer I have made it a goal to learn the first 5 principles of the gospel better. My goal is to cover one each week, read about it in preach my gospel and then study the scriptures about that topic. This week I have been studying faith. I feel like I have already studied this a lot before my mission and on this mission but I still learned so much more! Most of my studies this week were focused in Ether 12 and Hebrews 11. Both of these chapters talk all about faith, what it is, what it isn't, and how faith can bless us if we exercise it. One of the things that really stuck out to me this week as I was studying was how faith and missionary work are connected. As a missionary I teach so many different people and it is pretty safe to say that the majority of the people we talk to aren't really all that interested. With this it is easy to get in the mind set sometimes that this is how it is going to be with everyone you talk to. As I was studying it really hit me at how this type of thinking is the exact opposite of faith! In Ether it talks about how many people were converted among the Nephites and Lamanites, not because of their desires or not how good the teaching was or any of that. They were converted because of the faith that these missionaries had. They had the faith that the message they were sharing was directly from God and that because of that it had the power to change the hearts of men. It was a good reminder to me that the faith I have in God and His word has a direct correlation to the conversion of the hearts of the people I teach. Because of this I want to work all that much harder to study the scriptures and the word of God so that I can strengthen my faith. I know that as I do this I will see so many more miracles during my time on the mission.
Okay so now one of the miracles I saw this week that demonstrates how the Lord is working with his people. So my companion found this lady, Myra, a couple of weeks back who seemed awesome but then we could not get in contact with her. Finally we got a hold of her and it turns out she had been pretty sick. She was feeling better though so she invited us over and we started teaching her. The first lesson we had with her she said yes to a soft baptismal invitation (basically if she finds out it is true would she be baptized). Then when we went over for the second lesson she had been reading the Book of Mormon and accepted an actual date in March! She talked about how she wants this in her life and how she has been waiting for this. It was amazing to see how much the word of God touched her and how he had prepared her for us to share the message of the gospel with her.
To end the week I was able to return to Manteca to attend the baptism of Benito last night. It was so wonderful to see him enter the waters of baptism and to take that first step in becoming closer to God. He bore a short and simple testimony about how grateful he was for the missionaries that kept coming for the last two and half years and also about how happy he felt. You could feel the spirit so strongly and see how much the gospel has already changed his life. I am so excited for him and his wife to now be on that path where they can start preparing to go to the temple next year. Once again I was reminded about how this is the Lord's work and how He is working with the hearts of God's children to prepare them for this path.
I know with all of my heart that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is here on the earth and that it can be found within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that when we follow the teachings found therein and strive to make and keep covenants with God that we experience so much joy and peace in our lives. I am so grateful to be here in California sharing this message with God's children and I feel so humble that the Lord has trusted me with this work.
I hope all of you will always strive to keep the covenants you have made with God and if there are some you have not made to prepare yourselves to make them! Also I hope each of you will take the opportunity this week to study those two chapters I talked about and learn more about faith and the blessings that are in store when we exercise it!
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
p.s. the pictures are of Benito's baptism, he is in the middle, and the other is of some ducks that decided to take a swim in the pool the other day. We had to scare them off though because I was worried that the chlorine would hurt them. Anyway, hope you enjoy them!