Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Feast Without Rice!

I'm glad to report that Thanksgiving was great on this end. The Keys invited us over for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and it was amazing! It's been far too long since I’ve had thanksgiving. I've only missed it once, but once is far too many. They had numerous families from the ward over as well. It was a fun time. It was Elder Avila's first thanksgiving ever. He finally knows what it's like for all the Americans because the only language spoken was English and it was a houseful of Americans. I felt right at home. It was also amazing to have a feast that didn't include rice. My stomach was actually full, not just bloated. It was an amazing day. I sure love the Keys family as well. They are a great family. 

I'll take some time here to give you a quick update on some of the great people we are teaching that I’ve told you about over the past little while. 

Noah is the man. He texted me this last week just to tell me how excited he is for his baptisms. Every time I see him at church he lights up. He loves the gospel so much. I'm super excited for him. 

My boy Samuel is doing pretty well. He's going through a pretty hard time right now looking for work. He was hoping to pick up a job pretty quickly right when he got here, but unfortunately, it didn't quite work out like that. He's pushin along though. One thing I love about him though is he always puts church first. He lives a good hour away from the chapel, but he always makes sure that he has enough money and time to be there on time. I know the lord will bless him because of his efforts. We're hoping he can be baptized on the 13th. 

Wilma is doing great.  She has made some huge steps this last week.  Her baptism is also set for the 13th of December.  

Sheila is an investigator I haven't talked too much about. She's a 13-year-old girl that lives next to a member family. One day, this member family brought her to church, she loved it and now wants to be baptized. We've been teaching her for the past few weeks and she's just amazing. She's extremely smart. Our focus right now is teaching her mom and brothers. We finally taught them for the first time this last week and it was great. It was a quick lesson, but the spirit was definitely testifying to everyone there. There's no way its presence could not be felt. She'll be baptized on the 13th as well. 

Genesis is another one our great investigators. Her mom is a recent convert that was baptized in another ward, but when moved here, fell less active. We luckily found her, and brought her and her 2 daughters back to church. One of those daughters is already a member, but the other is not. Don't you just love completing families?

Patrick is still doing great. He's pretty much my best friend. He's so ready for baptism, but is just struggling with some family situations right now. His mom (who is so against the church) will be coming into town this month so he's going to use that opportunity to invite her to church and I have no doubt that everything will work out. It's funny because he always mentions how excited he is to get married in the temple. His girlfriend is a member and it makes me chuckle how excited he is. He's got his priorities in the right place. 

Those are our focuses right now. I sure am blessed to be serving in the ward that I am right now. I would love to finish my mission here. Who knows what will happen. I'm definitely going to enjoy it while I’m here though. I'm really grown to love the members and all of the people here. Life is good. 

One last story. Yesterday morning we received a text from our bishop. It said, "Hey Elders, can you both speak in sacrament later today?" So yep, we spoke during sacrament yesterday and it went quite well. Our topic was service and how to serve. I focused on the verse D&C 4:2 specifically the part that states "serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength." It was interesting because I had a simple plan before sacrament started, but as I sat on the stand pondering, I was prompted to take a different course with it. I spent the next 5 minutes reconfiguring my talk, then I gave it. I shared about different experiences in my life that have taught me how to serve with those 4 qualities. One of the experiences I shared about was being the home teacher of Sister Call. I shared about the change we saw in her as the years went by, a perfect example of what happens through dedicated service. We might not always see the impact we'll have or the importance of a particular act of service from the beginning. We sometimes don't realize the impact we had after the service is over. However, the impact is real. That act of service may be cherished by the receiver over a lifetime. Numerous members came up to me after and paid me some very nice compliments that really meant a lot to me. It was a great experience. Keep on serving. It may change someone’s life. 

Well that's about it for today. I sure do love you all. I remember at the beginning of my mission, mom mentioned that I would only be gone for 23 more fast Sundays. Our ward had fast Sunday this last week due to conference next week so that leaves 2 fast Sundays left. Where has the time gone? Luckily, there is plenty of work to be done, numerous lives to be saved and a whole lot of difference that needs to be made in that time. 

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