I had such a wonderful week! Each week I grow to love the missionary service more and more. I absolutely love the people and opportunity I have to dedicate all of my time to the Lord for two years of my life. There truly is no greater happiness than the joy found in serving others.
I have many experiences this week have increased my faith in Christ and my love of this Gospel. One: this wonderful old man. He is 96 years old! He was just baptized a few months ago, but he already has such a strong testimony of this Gospel! He can still walk, but uses a walker. We got to his house just as his daughter was dropping him off, and we walked with him to his door. Its a few hundred feet away, and Elder Padilla told me it would take 15 minutes, and I thought it was an exaggeration, but it was no lie! It was incredible to see. But he is so happy. He told me of how much this Gospel has changed his life, compared to what he was before. And I just felt so grateful for his example to me. There is really no time to worry about the littlest things in life that so often bother us. The purpose of this life is to have joy! Why live life unhappily?
I also have truly grown to love the time I am given to study the scriptures each morning. It is one of my most anticipated times of each day. I love it so much and am always disappointed when I have to stop. I was reading in 2 Nephi 31 in the Book of Mormon this week, and I was pondering about the importance of enduring to the end, or being faithful to God and His commandments for our entire lives. I began to think about it as a marathon (yes I miss running a lot). Just as marathons have a starting line, boundaries, race officials, and water and snacks along the way, God has given us many tools to help us in this life. The thing about this marathon though, is that it doesn´t matter how many times you fall, how many times you lose your way, how much help you need along the way, or how long it takes you to finish, the reward for all who finish the race is the same. If we run the race God would have us run, he promises the same gift to all of us, which is the greatest gift any race official could give, which is the gift of eternal life. To be able to return to live with God, Jesus Christ, and our families, in complete happiness, for all eternity.
God loves His children. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. This simple knowledge changes lives. God is aware of all of you. He knows your struggles, weaknesses, and circumstances. We tried to find a family this weekend that is in our church records, but nobody knows them. We went to their house and they did not answer. As we were about to leave, a car pulled up. It was them! They said they didn’t have too much time, but invited us to come back on Saturday! So we came back, and again they weren’t there. We were kind of bummed, we thought that they actually wanted to talk! We walked a couple hundred feet down the road, and guess what. There they were, driving home again! They apologized and allowed us inside. We were able to talk about when they were baptized a few years ago when they lived in Mexico City, but when they moved here, they didn’t come to Church. They just got busy with this crazy life. The missionaries here had never found them. But both times that we came, we ran into them at the perfect moment. God is aware of us and He loves us all perfectly. I felt prompted to invite them to not only come to Church, but as I testified of the truthfulness of this Church, I felt I should invite them to prepare to be sealed together in the temple for time and all eternity as a family. Doing so allows them to be a family not only in earth, but forever. The Spirit was so strong there. I know that God has prepared my companion and I to contact this family and bring them back to His Church. They came to Church on Sunday and loved it! We are going to have a Family Home Evening on Thursday and I am so excited for it! They have a 9 year old daughter that is not yet baptized and so we will also get to prepare her for baptism!
The experiences I have had this week have not only answered my prayers, but gone well beyond what I could have expected. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that He loves us all. He wants to bless us all, but we must come to Him! By obeying His commandments He will bless us more than we can possibly imagine. I am so grateful to be a full time representative of Jesus Christ. I know that this is His Church. I know it is true. I know that this Gospel changes lives.
My companion: Elder Padilla
My new sheets!