Hola a todos!
Another great week! We did lots of teaching and lots of finding this week. We've been trying to get better at talking with everyone, and we have been doing our best to talk with anyone and everyone about the gospel. We've been filling up our planners with appointments everyday, and even though a lot of times the appointments fall through, we can often talk to other people that answer the door or that are nearby, and it isn't uncommon to find someone even better prepared than the first pass. It can be hard work, it can be long (especially on hot days when nobody lets you in), but the satisfaction that comes from spreading the gospel doesn't compare. Even when people reject us or avoid us or hide from us inside their houses even when we know that they are there and they know that we know that they are there (that happens more than you might think jaja), the joy and fulfillment of doing God's work is 100% worth the price. We've also been teaching our investigators that we have right now. This week we had lessons with Txxx and Fxxx, who are two friends of Franco. Txxx is 14, and is the grandson of one of the recent converts in our branch. He recently told us that he had been praying and that he felt that he had received an answer to his prayers and that the church was true! This last week we met with his parents (who are not members) to explain what we are about as a church so that they could understand what it was that their son wanted to join. We had the meeting in the Arriola home with Hno. and Hna. Arriola, Franco, and Gabriel, the YM president in the branch. The parents had lots of questions, but everyone in turn had a chance to testify of the truth and goodness of the church and to put their doubts at rest. I have hope that in the future Txxx's parents will open up even more and be baptized as well. It was a great meeting. Fxxx also told us that he wants to be baptized! We will have to meet with his parents to see if they will give him permission or not, but if all goes well, he will be baptized on October 21st! I am so excited for Fxxx. He is still somewhat shy with us, but he is a great young man, and I know that he will do great things in the church.
We had district conference yesterday, and they changed the district presidency. It is always an interesting and uplifting experience to see the mantle passed from one member to another as they accept new callings and assignments to labor in the Lord's vineyard. What a great privilege it is to labor in the great harvest of our God! In the testimonies of those who were released, each one talked about similar things, talking about the great sacrifices that they had had to make, but the great blessings that had come in return as a result of those very sacrifices, and how the reward was much greater than the price, and that the Lord is the best paying employer of all. I know that that is true. I have seen so many blessing that have come from the sacrifices I have made during my mission, and what a great joy it is when those blessings come.
This last week I was studying a little bit in the war chapters of Alma, and as I was reading about the preparations of Capitan Moroni, a particular verse caught my attention and impressed me deeply. In Alma 49, Mormon relates that "the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching towards the land of Ammonihah... and because [they] had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people, they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them... yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness. And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure.
Then comes the part that caused me to ponder: But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi.
As I thought about the application of this scripture to our daily lives, I realized that this has everything to do with our daily spiritual preparation against the temptations of the devil. He knows our weaknesses, because he has probably exploited them before, and he is going to keep coming back to those weaknesses stronger each time because he knows he can get us. So what do we do? We prepare ourselves, but not just in any way. We fortify our weaknesses, and trust in the promise that the Lord will turn our weaknesses into strengths (Ether 12:27). Moroni understood this, and as it says in the chapter before, he "had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God. Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting [fortifications]... And in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men; and thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites". Remember, this is before they even knew that the armies were coming. They knew the danger, and they knew it would come, but they did not wait until it was there to prepare. Thus, when the armies did arrive, they were prepared for them in a manner which had never been known, and "the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come upon them. Therefore they retreated into the wilderness". And then, after this great victory, what did Moroni do? He kept fortifying! They had been prepared in an outstanding way for their enemies, but even after the victory, they continued to prepare and to fortify. The same goes for our spiritual preparation. We must prepare ourselves before the temptation comes, because if it comes and we are not spiritually prepared, it will overcome us and we will lose the battle. And when we do prepare ourselves sufficiently to win the battle against temptation, what do we do? We keep preparing. We continue to fortify. May we each fortify ourselves continually that we might never succumb to the temptations of the enemy of our souls, that we might come out victorious and unscathed as the Nephites did under the direction of Moroni.
Have a great week, and invite somebody to General Conference this week!
|Me and my companion, Elder Streuling|
|Franco Arriola and some of his friends! (From left): Franco, Valentin, Giovanni, Facundo, Thiago, and Tomas|
|Me and Elder Perez from Chile (not related to Presidente jaja) after divisions|
|Pictures of our apartment|
|Entry/living room space with a couch we made out of an old bed frame and the two extra mattresses we have for divisions. :)|
|Back patio (including some potatoes that Elder Frey planted jaja)|
|Our Jesus Christ picture that we framed last transfer with the money we had left over. I always wanted a framed picture of Christ in my apartment. :)|
|Our bedroom with our desks for studies|