If I could describe this week, it would be "full". Not necessarily full of teaching (the entire San Diego bay area decided to go to Tijuana for the week....) but full of learning and refining and it's been one of the best weeks of my mission. I love it when the things you learn get all tied up with a nice bow, and you get to reflect and put it all into one cognitive lesson. Things are making more sense to me than ever, and I have loved my Father and Savior so much this week!
These past few days I have been learning what it means to have my "eye on the sparrow". My mission president challenged us to "find and help the people you were supposed to find and help on the daily, even hourly basis". We've tried to pay more attention to the people God has put in our paths, members and nonmembers alike. It's such a good reminder of the idea that every single action of ours must have a purpose behind it. It changes street contacting from "I have to contact this person or else I'll feel guilty" to "I am going to talk to this man because he needs this right now, because God has put him there for a reason". It's made the interactions we've made with members that much more significant. There truly is a purpose behind everything and it's a trip to be able to figure it out!
Oh my Gonzalez family.....they are still progressing. Slowly but surely. Cheyla, the daughter, came to mutual and loved it and the whole family came to the stake pioneer day activity last Friday and loved it as well! They're so ready for baptism. We were thinking about it the other day and Hermana Barnes and I were trying to figure out what we are missing, and why they won't accept a baptismal date. Mayra says she doesn't want to feel pressured. We were at their house the other day talking about it and she said something interesting, she said "if I had the chance, I would've waited and been baptized right now when I was older". It dawned on us that her kids being baptized scares the living heck out of her. She went inactive so fast and made a lot of mistakes and doesn't want her kids or Arturo to do the same. We are going over to their house tonight with a lesson that we know will change their hearts. I can't even call it a lesson, more like a testimony meeting. I'll let you know how it goes:)
This week we've had the coolest opportunity to just bask in the fruits of missionary work. We've had a lot of lessons with the recent converts in the branch and every time I've walked away from those lessons so grateful that Heavenly Father has let me be a part of His perfect work. Man, they are just so solid. Jorge Arellano, the entire Buenrostro Family, Antonio Escobar, they've been changed. And none of it came from us because I know we are not capable of that kind of miracle. Conversion comes from God, and I love looking at those whom I love who have been converted to and by the Spirit. I love being the mouthpiece, I love sitting and watching the Spirit work so intensely that I can literally see people change in front of my eyes. I love introducing people to the Gospel. I love being His servant and I am so glad that that doesn't have to change.
They asked me to give a talk on "happiness from being a disciple of Christ" last week at church and they said I'll have 12 to 15 minutes. And then the first two speakers took five minutes each.....when I walked up to the podium the branch president looks over and says "you have 30 minutes!!". WHAT THE HECK. But let me tell you, it was actually a really cool experience to have at the end of my mission. Having to rely 100% on the Spirit to help you with the words these people need to hear. It was an answer to prayer-"hey, don't worry. You've learned how to trust in the Lord to put words into your mouth. You've learned the Spanish language. You love these people. Go up there and talk for 30 minutes for heck's sake!". God is good. And very, very merciful.
I know you've heard it over and over again, but I want you all to know that I love this work with all my heart. I know that God lives, and He is an active part of our lives, if we let Him. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the Lord, and we have reason to be of good cheer, because He has overcome the world. I know with all my heart that Joseph Smith saw what he saw that day in the Sacred Grove because I cannot recite the first vision without tears in my eyes. I know the Book of Mormon is real, and that we can hold it in our hands and know that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know that if God can give man power to part the Red Sea, he can appear to a 14 year old boy. I know that heaven is found in small living rooms with dirt floors and no furniture, as well as sitting at our desks reading the Book of Mormon. I know that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, because it changes hearts. I've seen it. I know that families are forever. I know that God's plan is so perfect. I know the Spirit testifies of truth and that we are able to feel it constantly. I know that I am a child of a loving Heavenly Father. I know They live.
It's going to be a great week.
I love you all,