What a Conference, right?! Wow! Hey and a thanks for the birthday wishes, the rumor slipped and the Bishopric is doing a Birthday Family Night for me this Thursday.
Alright then, just a note to you all... the buses in Portoviejo were short and fast (so I thought), Vinces was a ride in bumpy Zoo Trucks and Motorcycles. In Manta I am reliving the Tree Cat of old, Bobbing and Weaving, Jumping and Praying (but not like the Hypocrites) in these buses. There is no bus that I haven't drilled my head! Haha anyway, it's good to be back on the coast. The fish is awesome, I hope I stay away from Guayaquil and stick put in the coast. I should, cause my companion lacks 2 transfers, I could be here awhile...
What a Conference! We could talk all day on that, but I'll just list a few of my favorites. PRIESTHOOD SESSION!!!, Elder Richard's on Pain, I don't know, it was all great. We were in the Stake Center, just me and Elder Baum in the room with English on TV, that was nice. It makes me sad to see how no one comes or sees or bothers about the Saturday Sessions... some come for Priesthood, Sunday Morning fills, and the crowd dies as Conference does for the Sunday Afternoon Session, but I loved it!
As for my week... it's been normal being District Leader, but this week I will get a much better look of what I have in store, it is fun! Elder Barcia and I are hanging in there! It's fun, but it's different. He lacks 3 months. He's on cruise control, but things are going to rock as we learn to finish strong together! I have really been tested on my patience and love this week, the sector is HUGE, we would fit 2 or 3 stakes from home here, no maybe 5. So I can never complain of having nothing to do! Haha, I will tell two stories that I hope will change your lives and your outlook on the little things (I think I always talk on little things, don't I?)
We have been blessed with a Mission Leader who was baptized a year ago and is waiting his mission call. What excitement he has for the work! It shows in following inspiration, no matter how small. We went out visiting one morning with him. The plan AND it's backup fell through haha, but as we went to the first house ,right across the street was a family out on a porch with loud music playing. I felt the slightest hint to at least say hello. I didn't even do that. We went to plan B up the street and it fell through. I had forgotten of the tiniest impression to say hello to that family, but our Mission Leader had felt it too. He begged us to go back, so we went back. I introduced us as Representatives of Jesus Christ and all 5 stood up, 4 left inside, a lady had stood up to fix the seats for us! We got talking to her and had an awesome first contact! We didn't realize the importance of that tiny impression until the next visit. Gabriela Ramirez told us the next visit that when we came by the first time she felt something inviting and hoped we would come over. We left. But on returning a few minutes later something hit her heart 'They are sent from God, accept them.' As I opened my mouth, she knew God had directed us to change her life. We go back Wednesday with her busy schedule, but unfolded a life story of seeking the truth, visiting many churches, and being blown away by the impression she felt in simply seeing us.
What would have happened if we didn't go back? If we were lazy and would rather hit lunch early? If we hadn't followed the Spirit? Yes, it's true, contacting, tracting, it blows haha. But when it is by the Spirit, when you follow an impression, you can be SURE that the lesson to be learned (for you or them) is of God. Follow impressions, don't let the Spirit die on you... or better said, don't die on the Spirit. It won't smack you on your Road to Damascus, yet it will simply whisper and guide you as a mother guides her child by the hand. I love the work!
The next lesson was learned by a 9 year old in a family where his dad is not a member, but he and his mom are. I asked him why he likes swimming, I thought of living the Gospel with the response he gave. He told me 'porque me gusta hacerlo, y aun que no soy perfecto, estoy mejorando cada día!' or... 'I love doing it, and even though I'm not the best, I am improving each day!' That lesson turned into tears of hope and joy as the father accepted to prepare for baptism. Let us learn from the children, let us apply what we have learned in Conference. We like what we do, we like how we feel. We are not perfect, but we improve every day. That is the mission, that is the Gospel, that is life with your hopes set on Christ!
Live the Gospel, know I love you so much. I'm not perfect, but I love the little joys I get from 9 year old boys that swim, from women who recognize they need what we have, from families that pray for us and we arrive to comfort them. The mission isn't baptisms, the mission is recognizing that we love the Gospel, we want others to have it, and we improve daily relying on someone who IS perfect, Even Jesus Christ. The mission is the best thing in the world. Serve one. Stay on one. Don't pass time, live it. Christ loves you, repent... we like what we do and how we feel.
I'll have a great birthday with a fun Weekly Planning Session! Haha, love you all, There is no better joy than living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.