Well we finished this week with another Baptism! Sorry, this computer is terrible so I cannot send you pictures. Oh well. She is a little 10 year old girl whose family are members. Her mother never gave permission until two weeks ago, it was easy, there was a lot of ward support and it was fun to see the ward get excited again. We continue to lift this sector out of the dust from where it was when I came! I hope you have one awesome Thanksgiving, THAT is something that is not celebrated here, only talked about when people are around me. We'll see if the members live up to what they told me about our lunch on Thursday... This coming week will be awesome!
We had a cool Zone Activity today to clean one of the Chapels. Elder Useda is coming and on Wednesday we have a meeting with him with a few Zones and Saturday with just us Zone Leaders, I am so excited to be so close to him and learn from one of the Seventy. There are 28 Zone Leaders in the mission of 200ish missionaries, that meeting sure will be great.
This week has been crazy with interchanges and rushing to secure the other baptisms in the Zone, but a few things have touched my heart in trying to become a better leader, companion, instrument, and down the road husband and father. I've been trying to be a leader more like Christ and a few things have touched me, I'll mention 3.
One is how He always said 'do that which ye hath seen me do...' He never mentions 'said, told you to do, etc,' He was a leader who led, loved, and lived by Example. The other is how He loved the Sinner and not the Sin. That has been really hard for me with patience and love, even talking about loving the Disobedient and not the Disobedience. As a leader, father, mother, husband, wife, whatever, we can never look at and state the obvious. It is so easy. Christ could love the Sinners, yet not the Sin for He sought the reason behind the action to try to understand those to whom He served. Many times we fall into this, but let us look for the reason WHY not the easy and obvious WHAT. Last, yet not least to His many attributes is the working with, not ahead of, others. He was so capable of many miracles yet walked and talked and inspired those He was around by being at their side and supporting them through the tough and the easy. In trying to apply these in my mission, in my sector, with my investigators, it has been fun to see a family come closer to each other and closer to the Lord.
Carlos Lopez is not a member of the church, his wife is reactivating herself and they have two kids. We ran into them weeks ago during our lunch at their house, we simply opened our mouths and he let us come back to visit them. At first his wife was doubtful of his progress, yet we tried so hard to understand them, show them the way, and guide them in their journey home to Heaven. A few of the first lessons turned into battles and blame throwing, yet they now pray as a family, come to church, read the Book of Mormon and get after us when we forget to give them readings. He will be baptized in December. People simply need a chance, from those at home and those around them in the world.
Another short story comes from today! We were buying groceries and a cart man helped us take the stuff out to a taxi. As we were waiting outside we simply began to ask HIM about HIS life. The important thing is not what WE have to say, better yet it is what we have to LISTEN from them. We showed interest in his life, he opened up about his family, work and we had an awesome friendly conversation. He felt so good, cause he felt listened to and loved. At the end, turns out he lives right by us and we got a visit with him this Friday. Pay close attention to how I finish this story. We ARE here on earth and in the mission field to talk of God and bring men to Him again, it is only through this message of the Restoration BUT he was so anxious to get a visit from us and read a pamphlet and we never mentioned out message, simply mentioned that we were missionaries and we live by him. Now I am NOT ragging on the things of God, yet I want to open your eyes at how easy and beautiful this work is. We simply showed him complete attention, interest, listened about his life and asked if we could come by one of these days. We preached the Gospel... like I said a few weeks ago... without words.
It doesn't matter if they are members, if they are not members, people and family and friends don't want to listen, they want to be listened to! Let us listen, let us serve, let us forget ourselves in this great cause and we will see that marriages are saved, children are taken care of, youth find a feeling of importance, and we all find meaning to life, our life eternal.
I am so happy here, I just love this work and am so grateful to have a family in Utah that loves me and has taught me so much. I'm grateful for friends who listened to me and showed their concern. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who does the same if we simply give Him time in our lives.
Love you all and Happy Thanksgiving! It'll be about the same meal... banana cream pie, turkey, yams, potatoes - here it'll be bananas, chicken, fried bananas, squished bananas and how can I forget, Rice!
Haha love you all!