I seem to have found myself in the Jungle. Here in Vinces we are allowed to do everything that the mission does not let you do. We ride motorcycles out to the distant parts of the field and jungle. We stand shoulder to shoulder... stand... in the back of trucks going who knows how fast out to other distant parts of the field and jungle. There are Cocoa Beans the size of Rugby Balls, not even joking. We live by a river that winds and twists like a lazy anaconda. I absolutely love the adventure we're having out here! Oh yeah, and I took a spoonful of sauce to add with my rice and I uncovered a fish's eye. He winked at me I think, that threw me for a loop haha. Now I'm a real tree cat, river rat, and the surprises keep coming!
We have a boy named Nephi in our Branch and he is in a state of apostasy, which is kind of ironic if you ask me, he's got a neighbor named Moroni also, haha.
I have never been happier and more aware of the Lord's hands in my life. It has been a pleasure working with Elder Salas and I am really learning the virtues of Charity, Patience, and pure obedience by example. The key to life is wanting to be obedient and having the charity and patience to set the example for those who don't enjoy quite what you do. We have our ups, we have our downs, but I was touched to get a hug and hear 'thanks for being my companion, it's fun to work with you.' I lack a ton, but we have progress.
In our little branch a good day of attendance at church is 80, the other branch is 40. We are working together (the 4 missionaries) to change this district for the better and it's been a blast. We're getting to know the members, the investigators, and we should have 6 baptisms by the end of this transfer, but please pray for them.
I want to finish up with a few stories that have really changed me for the better out here. The question isn't why we came on the mission or why we are members? It is why we stay in the mission, why we still are members? Why do we keep the commandments? Cause (from my standpoint) any missionary can serve, any missionary can be obedient, any missionary can study, any missionary can pray. It's different to really lose yourself in the work. It's way different to look and love to be obedient. It's much different to analyze the scriptures to see to the needs of those you seek. It's a mile apart to really converse and accept the counsel the Lord has ready for us. I've been blessed with an Elder Elliot from Texas here, he really has taught me to meditate, to do the little things, to simply be an example of love.
I lack so much, but was touched by the help of the Lord during a nasty bible bash. Two elders got into a bible bash that really killed the spirit, I felt it leave the room as it began in the house of members. This is the only time I will thank the Lord for allergies haha, my right eye freaked out and I had to get that fixed up, taking me away from the situation that I was too chicken to stop. Nothing more needs to be said. You never bring people down, you never bible bash, you never bash with your Mission Manual, you never bash with opinions. You simply live a life similar to the Savior. Set an example and others will see it. Many will follow, many will not, but those that follow will be saved on high with you. You walk a half hour, even if you'll be late to the house, instead of paying 50 cents for a ride on Sunday Night. You simply testify when guided by the Spirit. You simply hold your tongue but you NEVER hold your faith. That is your defense. You don't attack, but you don't back down either. You be the one to stand aright, even when you stand alone, as said our great prophet, Pres. Monson. I've fallen too much in the little things to do it again, I've seen the hand of the Lord too much in the gift of forgiveness to turn away.
I stay in the mission and I strive to repent each day because I feel like Jacob with Sherem in Jacob 7:5. There's simply too much in my life to deny the existence and help of a loving Father in Heaven. Be an example of the believers. Examples shine... in other words, turn on your flashlight and let others see. Be an example, Live the Gospel, knowing it does nothing if you don't apply it. See how much the Lord has blessed you and simply love every waking moment of this short life we've been given.
I love you all so much and can't be happier for the mountains the Lord has given me to climb, cause the higher I climb, the closer I am to Him. 'Then Work and Watch and Fight and Pray, the fight with sin is real... put your shoulder to the wheel.' I love the Lord, I love the work, I love the help I receive daily and hope you all feel and do the same. Thanks for being the family and friends worth serving, now go and serve the Lord.