For those of you who don’t know yesterday I talked with the best family in the whole world.
That’s right, my awesome crazy hard to understand, who’s who’s family.
That was the best moment of the year by far. One hour passed by wayyyy to fast.
This week was AWESOME.
Maria Hernandez and her granddaughter are getting ready for their baptism and they are super excited. They invited friends to church and all the other activities that we do. Maria is 54 years old and Laura is 14. The other day we knocked on the door to find Maria studying the Liahona, (Ensign), with her Bible and Book of Mormon open on the table with a pen and paper writing everything down. She’s super awesome and loves the gospel.
Everyday we leave to go tracking with Gustavo Bentancourt, he is 24 years old and was a less active member of the church. He is now coming back and is with us everyday. He is awesome.
Sometimes the economic situations of the people you learn to love aren’t the best and it hurts to know that you can’t do anything to help them with their immediate needs. Gustavo and his family are in a VERY tough spot right now, not one person in the house can find work. The other day we had family home evening with them, we showed them how to make pancakes. We realized that it was late and we needed to head off to our apartment and fast. We left the pancake batter there in the rush and told them to keep it without thinking about it again. I called Gustavo’s Mom 2 days later to set up an appointment when she started to cry and said thank you so much for the pancake batter, she said, “If we wouldn’t have had that I don’t know how we would have been able to get through the day it was the only food that we had in the house”. That phone call honestly shook me up. Something as simple as hurriedly leaving a packet of pancake batter left a struggling mother in tears of gratitude.
That experience left me thinking a lot about,
What is charity?
In the scriptures the word charity is used to talk about the brotherly love that we should share one for another as children of God.
2 Nephi 26:30
30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they are nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.
What is the greatest form of love that we can show our heavenly brothers and sisters here in this life? The sons of an ancient prophet Mosiah knew exactly what is the most precious form of love that we can show our brothers.
3 Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.
This all leads me to my challenge for the week.
Show scriptural charity to a friend or someone you know.
Have a family home evening well planned with an awesome super fun, yet quick game. And of course invite the dudes with the nametag. That’s right the Elders are pretty cool if you didn’t know.
I testify that if you do this you will feel amazing love for those you know, especially if the message that you share touches their heart. When the scriptures talks about the lost sheep, the one sheep in a ¨fold¨ of a 100, most think that it is someone who already knew the gospel that fell astray. It can be true like that or even more true that for every 100 people that we know that there is someone waiting. Someone who needs this message, who is prepared to listen to the message.
There is that one person waiting in YOUR pastures.
Every week passes by so quickly. I’m keeping busy that’s for sure. This week started off crazy with our trip to a little mountain village called Peon. An experience that I personally will never forget. Early in the morning we all got ready and met together at Abner’s house. 6 missionaries, Gustavo & Abner. At 8 we started for the mountains. We thought it was 1 ½ hours away however 2 ½ hours later after trudging through thick clay that stuck to the bottom of our dress shoes, marching across rolling hills in the blazing sun and the climbing the side of mountainous rainforest we arrived at the first house. Peon is a small community of people who really don’t have very much. They live in the middle of no-where.
Gustavo and I entered the first house, and had an experience I will never forget.
The lady’s name is Gloria. She is a super nice lady with eight children. My first look at the house initially shocked me. Three of the 8 children have physical problems, Christian (11), Sebastian (14) & Juan (1). When I walked into the house I saw 2 kids on the ground folded into awkward positions lying on the dirt floor they were convulsing constantly and were so frail I wouldn’t have guessed that any one of them was over the age of 8. We taught Gloria and she was super receptive to our message. Then her husband walked in and we talked to him. The whole time I couldn’t keep my eyes off the 2 boys lying on the ground. When we finished I was compelled to ask if I could bless their children. They said yes. When Christian heard this he made his way over to where I was seated. He was on all fours, as he cannot stand up and extended his twitching hand. I pulled him up into my lap and gave him a priesthood blessing. When I finished the blessing he had stopped convulsing and was completely still. He looked up and smiled at me and I honestly had my eyes opened for a moment as I saw the love that God had for each and every one of us. It was a feeling so incredibly intense it was as if you could touch it. I don’t know how to explain how I felt in other words besides complete and utter love for every living being. An experience that I will never forget, nor will his parents ever forget as they watched their son stop seizing. Every missionary had his own incredible experience in Peon. It was such an amazing experience; I will never forget that day. It was 2 ½ hours one-way through rolling hills and the jungle in our dress clothes and completely worth it.
There are amazing things happening here in Jamundi.
We have the authority from God to act in the name of Jesus Christ. This authority is called the Priesthood. The priesthood has existed since the days of Adam here on earth. Ever since the authority was given to man. It has been passed on by something called the laying on of hands. When Jesus Christ called his 12 Apostles He “gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases and he sent them to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” Luke 9:1-2. They received this authority in the same way the Apostles gave it to Saul and Barnabas see Acts 13:3.
We have the same authority of God. Those who have laid their hands on my head had the authority because someone else laid their hands on their heads who also had the authority. I can trace my line of authority all the way back to Jesus Christ.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we have the authority to work miracles and to baptize. It is the same authority that the apostles had and I testify that by the same power we are sealed together as families for eternity in the temples of God. Without question this authority to be sealed is not until death do us part but it is for time and all eternity. I am grateful for eternal families and the hope they give to my family.
I really am not having fun running with a backpack on. This week I have ran so much with a backpack on that I’m surprised my back isn’t bruised from the repetitive pounding it gets from by bible, ha-ha. But let me tell you all exactly why.
This week I wanted Elder Rebolledo to step out of his comfort zone and start contacting people in the streets and knocking on doors. I taught him the same principles that my first companion, Elder Borg, taught me. I haven’t used those principles in months. We started contacting people and something crazy happened, every person we talked to accepted us and listened to us.
The coolest family we met was the Mosquera-Hernandez family. We couldn’t talk to them the first day we met them but they told us to come back. We went back the second time to find someone else in the house. We started presenting ourselves and found out that he is the son-in-law of Maria and Gerardo the grandparents and owners of the house. We started talking some more and he stopped us and said, ¨Sorry to interrupt but I need to say something I’m a member of the Church and have been since 1994. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to church and I’ve been praying to find my way back, can you help me?” My companion and I were in shock we found this family knocking on doors. He was praying for a way back and we just happened upon his doorstep.
We invited his daughter, Laura (13) and his father and mother-in-law to get ready to be baptized on the 7th of June and they accepted. They live next to Abner Ramirez. We are teaching this family from the kids to the great grandparents. The great grandpa is a little difficult because he is deaf and a 7th Day Adventists. So all of our conversations consist of me shouting in his ear scriptures as to why Sunday is the Sabbath and not Saturday. It’s exhausting let me tell you.
I’m having a blast. There are so many appointments every single day. I’m majorly stressed out, again...and I LOVE IT.
I told President Prince that if he gave me 2 new missionaries and another missionary with a good reputation that Jamundí would change, and oh it so has. With the constant excitement that we bring to everyday there is nothing that can stop us.
How do you feel? Right now.
Do you feel like you are facing a challenge so big you can’t overcome it?
I know exactly how you feel; I was there when I started training Elder Rebolledo. I had no idea how to train a new missionary nor how to do a good job in what has been known as the pit of the mission. Well I found great council in the scriptures.
When Nephi and his family went off to the desert to leave Jerusalem, Lehi the father of Nephi, said to his sons go all the way back to Jerusalem and bring back a bunch of bronze tablets that weigh a ton. Oh and you’ll have to get them from the bloodthirsty rich dude. He won’t just give them to you but I know you guys will figure it out. You can imagine that Nephi and his brothers were a little worried about how they could possibly get these bronze plates and then lug them back out into the desert without being murdered. Nephi’s brothers started to say no way, we are going to die we know it. But Nephi’s response is the best advice and or council you can ever receive:
1 Nephi 3:7
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
I testify that God has prepared a way for men to accomplish the things he has asked them to do. If your goal is worthy and good, God has prepared the way.
So keep on chugging through it, it might be difficult and in whatever you do remember:
BRING THE RAIN
Complete something that you have tried many times to do in the past but haven't succeed.
This is your time
If it is praiseworthy or of good report we seek after these things. And God has in fact prepared the way