Well it was the best week of my whole mission. I could in no way describe all of the incredible things that have happened to me in this week. For this reason I have attached photos of my journal as well as my letter to Presidente LaPierre so you can get a better look at what happened and also to change things up a bit. Hope you enjoy it.
Letter to Presidente LaPierre:
I know you hear a lot of complaints and problems, so today I wanted to let you know how they way you are running the mission is blessing my life. This last week I began to think a lot about service in the church and many other things and I really have come to realize that it has been for me as it has been for many kind of like a chore. It is like we serve just cause we know that one day we will be up in heaven on a throne and we will be able to finally relax. Because of the changes in our mission and the way we work as well as several experiences and studies, I have come to realize that that couldn`t be more wrong and if I continue with that attitude I will live a life of fighting against what I truly want to do and what the Lord needs me to do. I realized that service is not like something we do to get our way to heaven and then we can be the boss, but it is rather a preparation for Godhood. God`s work and glory is to bring to pass our eternal life and immortality, which means that everything he does is service! He is the servant of us all. And He loves every single part of it. Serving and helping us to gain salvation is what makes Him complete and makes Him happy. Serving is what makes Him God. I don`t know why it took me so long to figure that out. But now instead of looking at service as a chore I will look at it as the thing that makes me happy and brings me joy and relief from all of the stuff I have to take care of. I am so grateful that I have been able to learn that and I can feel my heart changing and I think my whole life is going to be a lot happy and less stressful if I can remember this and really have it in my heart.
Thanks to Elder Hawk's sister! She typed up the photos of his journal. It is much easier to read---He had asked me: “What are you trying to achieve” After I had told him that he was searching for something. I thought about it and at the beginning of the lesson today I told him I wanted to answer this question for complete. So we prayed and then I showed the picture I have of my family with Jace and told them the story. Maria Bejararo started crying and I told him that I am here so that he can have an eternal family. The spirit was way strong and everyone could feel it. I also said that I know that the only way to receive an eternal family is though Christ's true church. Then Elder Graves talked about how the last day he was with his family they knelt together and prayed and felt like it didn’t matter if anything happened to them because they would be together forever. That really touched Julio because he said after that he felt some regret for not having spent more time with his son and being close to him. He also told us how his son shared with him about eternal families and also that in his family he also lost a brother and sometime his brother comes to him in dreams. He said he enjoys talking to us because it brings peace and calmness. I told him that all those feelings and all of these things are the spirit working with him. He also said that from my experience he could really feel that it was genuine and came from the heart and that truly is my purpose. He said he feels things different with us and that he is very perceptive and can feel those types of things and not just anybody and get along well with him. That made us feel good! And at the end he started talking about his son in the mission and how much he missed him but how they are receiving so many blessing and how he feels their love charing so much and while he talked about it he began to cry. We said a few more things and then left them with that spirit. One of the most spiritual lessons of my mission. And it made me realized how this really is our goal. It’s cool and beautiful and bring joy to see someone baptized but the true joy is found in eternal families. The real happiness comes from the blessing of the temple. That is what I am searching. That is my purpose here. In moments like that I feel like it all I do in my whole mission is help this family to be together forever that was all so worth it. I love being a missionary. I love being a part of God’s work to create eternal families.
I also realized that the Spirit does all the real work. I show up, I talk to people, I do my best, but the Spirit is working so hard, it is really him. I realized that with Julio. He is just being completely prepared in every way by the spirit. Just like Mariola, just like the Ventura Family. I just have to be worthy, have the Spirit show up in the right moment and then do whatever the Spirit directs. When it all comes together is really is so simple, yet so marvelous. God is in charge. He has a plan and all I have to do is play my small, but important role.
I also just remembered that Julio said three times “Voy a llegar”
February 28th, 2015
Today some crazy crap went down. In the morning we taught a man with 14 cats again and he had read like 10 chapters of the Book of Mormon and believes that it is true, but just said that he is Catholic. He may still have a chance of progress.
After studies in the afternoon we went to Dario’s house because we were going to visit Arnaldo with him. They were playing soccer on the field right in front of the house and a couple minutes after it finished while we were waiting for Dario to get ready these guys started arguing and one throws a brick at the theory one and then like this swarm of people just started chucking rocks at each other! I think somebody got knifed in the arm too. Then the guy hid in the house two houses over and they kept chucking rocks even though there were like little kids everywhere. Then the guy left the house and ran and was *sent* to the fence in Dorios’s house and they kept throwing rocks and it was right there like 5 feet away from us and he we watched the whole thing! It was so crazy. We hid behind the house for part because I thought somebody had a gun or something.
Then we went with Dario to the lesson and everything was calm, but suddenly this little dog came after us and then there was this huge pit bull behind him, but he had a chain. Before we knew what was happening the dog came after us because its chain broke or something. It attacked Dario and ripped his shirt and bit his arm a bit, but while it attached him i screamed at it and swing my scripture bag at him. Then he come for me and I hit him in the face with my scriptures (SCRIPTURE POWER!) and he bit them a bit and I ran the theory way and fell down and then the dog left us alone. He probably just didn’t want anything to do with me after I gave him an *escrituraso* to the face.
Today we also read 3 Nephi 11 with Julio and his wife and daughter and it was way good! The coolest is that at the end I wanted him to give the prayer, but I didn’t want to pressure him so I asked, “Are you going to give the prayer or somebody else?” He answer very quietly that he would say it and it was a beautiful prayer. As we were leaving Marira told us a quiet “Thank you so much” with a huge smile. We are starting to get the wheel moving with him.
Then another cool moment was when we went to teach the Girenez-Toledo family and Siorera who is going to get baptized offered a way awesome and sincere prayer at the end. It’s amazing how kids pray so sincerely and powerfully. Looks like even the dad will come to church. All in all a crazy, but great day.
March 1, 2015
Well we just finished up with church and it was a morning full of surprises and lessons. I woke up with a nasty headache and I just felt super weak. So I went around slowly getting ready and then I took some Ibuprofen and kept going. Just before leaving I said a quick prayer and just told Heavenly Father that I wanted to be able to help everyone in church and search for investigators and be excited and in the some instance the pain in my head was cut in half. It was incredible and I was surprised that I had been answered too quickly. Throughout church the headache completely disappeared. I think I am growing in my faith.
Then we went to the farthest end of our area to search for Anival and Nidia and Teresa. I was still a bit weak, but we went and Nidia was there, but had fallen off her motorcycle and messed up her lung. She wasn’t going to, but her (still) drunk son came and said he would go and so she said that she would go. Meanwhile he went for Teresa who didn’t answer and finally for Anival who is a really big guy and he can’t read and he lives in a small wood house and he has some tattoos and smokes and drinks. He said he wanted to change his life, but I didn’t really believe he would do it and I had very little hope for him. I don’t know if it was for the area or for his aspect, but I judge him and honestly didn’t put my heart into teaching him the 2 times we had passed by. We clapped and clapped and I even threw a rock on the roof, but no one came out. I thought I had been proven correct. We went back to Nidia and she was getting on of her sons ready and it was already late and she was taking a long time and her son that was drunk made a scene and then left. She told us to go ahead and she would go to church with her younger son. I didn’t think she would really go, but we went and waited for the bus for like 10 minutes and then got on. We were down and tired (and also discouraged because Hea. Collucini had called really angry about the lady we were teaching in her house and that she had just kind of disappeared on her.) But as we came closer to the church we suddenly saw a lead man waiting outside - it was Anival. I couldn’t believe it! He absolutely loved the church and felt right at home! He said when he decided he is going to do something he has the will to follow through. The power went out and so his alarm didn’t work. He didn’t hear us clapping because he was listening to music with his headphones. He woke up and realized he had slept in and his neighbor told him we had passed by so he went fast to church and beat us there! After gospel principles he told me he felt right at home and it wasn’t hard to be there like he thought it would be and that he will never miss a day of church ever again! I realized that I had judged him and during sacrament I thought a lot about it and how I didn’t have any hope in him and I didn’t see him as he could become. I repented of it and made the goal to try again to see others as they can become and not be afraid to hope that can change. Because with the power of the Atonement they truly can change! I think I just try to protect myself because I have seen so many people like him who don’t have the will to do it and it is hard when they don’t progress. I was judgmental and cynical, but now I know that Arival really has the will and then faith to change. i just need more faith to help him and many people like him to gain access to the Atonement and stay firm in the right path, no matter where they live or what they look like. Anyone can change and they need my faith, my hope and my help.
I also had a beautiful moment when Hro. Cristaldo got up to give his testimony. We were fasting with him for his wife Monica who is not a member yet. He talked and I began to think of the importance of part-member families. I have met so many faithful member who have family members who are either not baptized (like with the *Caceres* family) or who have family members who are not active. This would be very hard but the active members of these families work so hard and do so much so that the other family members can also participate in the blessing of the gospel and ultimately to have an eternal family. It is truly very admirable. i thought of my Grandma Hawk who fought for my grandpa to get baptized and then to get active, taking the little kids to church and doing the best she could. Because of her efforts and love my grandpa came to full activity, later becoming a bishop. Because of my grandma’s constant effort and love and my grandpa’s correct decision. All of my family has the gospel and for the most part we are firm in the gospel. I would not have had the opportunities that I have had nor would I be on the mission today if it was not for their efforts and correct decisions. Then as i pondered on this I realized that every last one of us is part of a part-member family. For 1 year and a half I have called just about everyone “hermano” or “hermann” just because it is what I learned. I would never call everyone I met at my house “brother” or “sister” because I would feel weird, but here I do it almost without thinking, but the truth behind this is that we are all members of the same eternal family. We have brothers and sisters who have no yet received the gospel or have fallen away. Shouldn’t we work for our spiritual brothers and sisters just as hard as we work for those who were related by blood? I have been reading it, saying it, I have had people teach me it, and I thought I understood it but today as I pondered and prayed I truly learned and felt through the spirit that what it says in the very first paragraph of Preach My Gospel is true. “All of them are chided of God, your brothers and sisters” This is why we share the gospel with others! This why we go home teaching. This is why we serve in the church! This is why I am on a mission! I do all of those things because every soul on earth is my brother or sister. I’m not sure why it took me a year and a half in a foreign country as a mission to learn that. But it will be my reason to keep working my whole life, and for eternity, because I will have it ingrained in my heart and written on my soul that we are an eternal family. Not just floating around in my head. I will dedicate my life to helping my brothers and sisters - my eternal family - to return home, to be together as a happy family for time and all eternity.