By eh sha pa!
That is how they greet people in Guarani, more or less. haha. This has been the greatest week of my mission and one of the greatest weeks of my life. I have learned so much and we have had so many miracles. I don´t deserve what the Lord is giving me and He always blesses me 100 times more than anything I do for Him.
We have been working so hard! Talking with everyone, finding new people, working with the members. But about halfway through the week we realized that we were working hard, but based on our own strength and not the strength of the Lord. It all started when we were in a lesson and the neighbor kid walked over and sat down. The woman we were teaching told us that his mom recently had brain surgery on a cancerous tumor. The kid invited us into his house and we talked to his dad and then they invited us into the Mom´s room. She was laying on her bed, unable to move half of her body, with her head shaved and swollen without the top part of her skull. As we talked with her and her husband I saw an incredible amount of pure love and faith in the Lord. Her husband has been unable to work because he has been taking care of her and the kids and the house and we could see how exhausted he was. I told her that we were representatives of Jesus Christ. Words that I say all the time, but this time I truly felt the words. We explained that as representatives of Jesus Christ we have the ability to give blessings of health. She asked that we give her a blessing and I felt the power of the priesthood as Elder Silva pronounced a blessing of complete recovery, the ability to walk and to serve God in the way she desires. She thanked us and told us that she had no doubt that she would be healed and that she wanted to work in the hospital with sick children. I left that house with a greater understanding that I truly represent the Savior and that without Him and His power I am nothing. What we did was something greater than set a baptismal date or get someone to come to church, we gave a family more hope and more strength to continue on in a difficult situation. I am so grateful for a merciful Father in Heaven who helped me to humble myself and rely more on Him.
Sunday night we were on divisions with two priests from the branch. We had some amazing lessons. Elder Silva found a family of 8 and the dad said that if he received an answer about the Restoration of the gospel that he would be baptized tomorrow! I was with a 17 year old named Jonathon and we passed a house and heard someone preaching. He wanted to go in but I said no. Our appointment failed and we walked passed the same house and he told me again that we should clap the house. I said no, but a little ways farther I felt that we should clap. We did and a woman walked out and I asked if it was a house or a church and she said it was both and eagerly urged us to come in. We went in and sat down and listened for a moment. The preacher is from Venezuela and was teaching about the plagues of Egypt. He was super animated and loud and they were all saying "amen" and "glory to God" and we sat and listened. Afterwards he turned to us and welcomed us and started talking about baptism and Jonathon asked by what authority they baptized. The man quoted a scripture and went off on something in Acts. I asked to speak for a moment and said that I hope that my presence wasn´t a bother to him and he said that it was a pleasure to have us. I then presented myself as a representative of Jesus Christ. I said that I was a humble servant of him and that I was only 19 years old and still learning the language and then I bore my testimony of Jesus Christ. When the preacher spoke their was definitely an energy, but it wasn´t the same as the Spirit. When I spoke, I spoke with power and authority given to me by God, and everyone in the room felt the astoundingly apparent difference. It did not matter that he had years of experience and a huge amount of experience with the Bible and it did not matter that I was a young and inexperienced kid from the U.S.. The thing that truly mattered was that I have been set apart as a representative of Jesus Christ and given the authority to preach His restored gospel. I know that this is His work and His authority, not mine. I thanked them for their kindness and told them that I admired their faith in God and desire to worship Him. I invited them to visit our church and then we left with the knowledge that the authority of God is more powerful than anything else. And I needed that reminder.
I´m not the same person I was when I arrived in the mission, but I still can´t do anything without the help of the Spirit and I will never be able to do anything worthwhile without the Spirit.
A week of miracles.
I love you all so much!
Con amor, Elder Hawk