Well it was another fantastic week. We didn`t have the baptism this week but I think it will be better off. She should be baptized this weekend or the next. She was having some opposition from one of her daughters but the ward is rallying around her. Hermana Duarte came with us to a lesson and bore a huge and powerful testimony! She is a convert of almost 2 years but has a huge testimony and is a very strong woman. We sat and listened and there wasn`t a lot to add at the end so we just bore testimony of her words. It was incredible.
On Friday we had a cool experience with Anival who is progressing a lot. He lives in a very bad part of the town and there are a lot of evil influences. He messed his back up at work and so we gave him a blessing. As Elder Graves spoke I really felt the power of the priesthood and afterwards I just sat down and Anival was crying. He said he was so grateful that we were helping him and he knows he is going to move forward and he wants to get out of that neighborhood which is crazy cause we had already felt like we needed to try and help him get out of there cause it is impossible for anyone to progress. But as he was talking I just realized and I told him that we as missionaries are nothing. We are simply instruments. I powerfully felt in that moment that the priesthood is God`s power and I am just a simple instrument. Everything I do is completely dependent upon Him. Anival recognized that the same is true for him and even though he told us he is absolutely terrified of doctors and hospitals he followed the counsel of the blessing and went! I know he will get better.
I realized that even more when we felt to clap a house and started talking with Mariana. She told us she was a member of a church but had changed because she was in an abusive relationship and the pastor didn`t really support her and it caused her to be in a horrible relationship for even longer and afterwards she separated and was very criticized. She started going to another church and she feels better there, but she said that she talked to what would be something like the Sunday school teacher and he said he wouldn`t really know what to counsel her in that type of situation either. Then thought came to me "you would know what to say." And to be honest in that moment I couldn`t have told her what she would have done cause the situation is already passed but I am 100% confident that if someone came to me with any type of problem that I could respond. I am not an expert on anything. I am 20 years old. But I have the Spirit with me and I am called of God. And because of that and after seeing it happen countless times in my mission I can say that I know that the Lord will always fill my mouth if I open it. It is an incredible thing to feel the inspiration of the Lord come to your mind and heart as you preach the gospel to others. And that is what happened as we spoke with Mariana. I felt ideas come to me and we taught her that because of the Restoration of the gospel she didn`t have to trust in man, but could trust in God and His chosen servants. I told her I felt compassion for both her and the pastor who tried to help her. She didn`t have access to the truths of the gospel to help her with this problem. She didn`t have a knowledge of how to receive revelation. The pastor didn`t have the doctrine necessary nor did he have the authority or power to know what to do. Neither had the gift of the Spirit. Then I asked her "How would you feel if you found out that God`s true church is on the earth with inspired leaders and all the doctrines we need to solve our problems?" She said it would be something.
As I reflected on these experiences I realized yet again just how blessed I am. Since birth I have been surrounded and protected by priesthood power. Since the age of 8 I have had the gift of the Spirit to guide me. And since the age of 11 I have had a testimony of the truths of the Book of Mormon. Every problem I have faced in life (which have not been many) I have had everything I need to face them with God`s help. I have never had to search amongst the ideas and doctrines of uninspired men. In every moment of my life I have had the Restored Gospel. What a great blessing that is. The gospel is the greatest possession that I have. I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for sending us prophets and truths again from the heavens. And I am grateful that I can use these truths and the Spirit as well as priesthood power to bless the lives of others who have not had these truths and who have lived in a cold, fallen world all of their lives without the warmth of the true and everlasting gospel. The only way I can ever show my gratitude to God is by working all of my life to bring others to the same knowledge and happiness that I enjoy. And while I can never pay him back I can at least show how grateful I am. I love this gospel. It is true.
Con amor, Elder Hawk