If it ain't the old gang again... well I wish you all a good day on my companion's birthday! We'll go have a ride on the town today. I have lost a lot of weight, but putting on my blue jeans today, I realized that this mountain has done my thighs and rear quite well! I love this work and it's fun to see the changes and progress! As for the work here, the mountain doesn't kill us as missionaries (the insane ones at least haha, I just LOVE running up and down the sketchy hills) and it's not that the people aren't receptive, they are just really lazy to be honest. With Elder Hasvold, in two weeks we found almost 40 NEW investigators, not just people we contacted and taught something, but out of those 40, maybe 5 have gone to church. The investigators would rather sit at home than hike up and down to an unknown church and the less active members would rather do the same than sit in sacrament meeting. It's been real tough. I noticed that the majority of the active members either live down by the church or on the slopes right above the church... less movement. That has been the biggest struggle, but Elder Gonzalez and I are getting it up again with 14 investigators at church the past two weeks! I have a story to share on the hill and the members to motivate you all, as it did me, not to rag on the work here...
Kayla Gomez got baptized! It was such a wonderful baptism full of family and friends from both wards, I'd send you pictures but the computer isn't my friend today. We will have a baptism this week and if all goes well, 2 the following week! We are finally lifting 'The Wart of Guayaquil... Mapasingue' haha, but the work is beginning to take flight, it has been so fun and very tough to get this sector up and going again. I just love the challenge.
Anyway, I learned a very important lesson this week, well it was retaught in my life this last Thursday. How important is the Sacrament to you? What does it mean PERSONALLY? For we all know what it means generally. How would your life be different without the Sacrament, or would you like to feel its utter importance in your life? Well we were visiting a 10yr old girl and less active family who will be baptized this Saturday and a few family members answered 'yes' when I asked them if it'd be easier to be active in the church with the help and faith of their parents? The inactive mother got offended and ran me up the wall with how she reads the Book of Mormon, prays and has never lost her faith. I didn't want to offend her, yet didn't know what to say. Then a strong spiritual impression taught me a lesson and then her as I shared what came to my mind. 'But... there is something you have lost... The Sacrament, and it's about time to get that back into your life.'
Now don't misunderstand me, SHE IS NOT THE BAD GUY IN THE MOVIE, the lesson ended well and it was such a joy to see her in church on Sunday and shake her hand, yet we all learned the NEED, not just the importance, of the Sacrament. Let us all think twice about the Sacrament. Why we take it? When was the last time? The blessings we've seen or those we'd still like to see? Like Elder Oaks said, Sacrament Meeting is the most important meeting in the Entire Church. Let us renew our covenant with the Lord. Let us be clean again. Let us become who God and Christ simply beckon us to become by repenting, as Elder Anderson once said. We may be doing all well, but without the Sacrament, we are kidding ourselves. Making covenants doesn't work without keeping them and always let us remember that God needs us with Him again just as we daily need Him and long to see Him again. The church is true, the Sacrament is my favorite part of Sunday and I want it to become my favorite part of the week. In speaking of covenants, let us get into the temple to make AND keep covenants, what a beauty, what a joy. THAT is living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, LIVING IT! DOING IT! And trust me, you shall enjoy it.
This week, and my whole mission in fact, has been full of miracles and they shall continue! I love you all so much, I love this mission, I love the Lord, I love showing God that I need AND WANT His help by renewing covenants I have made with Him.
Love you all and will hear from you soon!