This is probably going to be another short email because today is SUPER busy, but in no way does it reflect that this was a slow week! We were so busy! I am so happy to see the success that is going on in our area right now. We could always see more, but that's what we are constantly working on as missionaries. Continuing to stay strong and push ourselves more and more every day! It's a constant battle against Satan, but I'm confident that right now we are winning. ;)
First off, CONGRATULATIONS to Matthew and Ashley for getting married. I am so happy to have her as a new member to this family and look forward to spending time with the both of you once I get back. I am also happy to see that I was somewhat included in the wedding with my little cutout that I hear everyone was fighting over! YAY! I love the attention. ;) Too bad I didn't catch the garter...lame. ha But I am glad to hear that everything went well and you are enjoying your Honeymoon in Mexico right now. SO JEALOUS! Not only does the water look amazing in the picture you sent me, but...it's Mexico! I will go there someday. I will. I was great to get a little chance at least to talk to you! You both seem so happy, and I am so happy for the both of you. Enjoy the Honeymoon! ;)
This week we had another powerful lesson with yet another well prepared investigator. I don't remember if I had told you about Teresa earlier on, but we have been trying to teach her and contact her for about 3 months now. She is a referral from her neighbor, who is a member from the English ward, and she is finally making time to meet with us. She even told us that she has had doubts (we've met with her before), but for some reason she feels like there is something about what we teach that she needs to know and that brings her peace in her life. Her neighbors have been such great examples to her and her family, and they admire the love and happiness they see coming from their home. I am so excited to see her progress more!
We are struggling right now with having these well-prepared investigators come to church, though. We have such great potentials, but they need to come to church in order to really connect with this church spiritually and socially. Please keep them in your prayers that they can make the effort to make it to church. Our main focuses right now are Teresa and her family (the Gavina family), Ana, and Tanya. We are working with trying to help them understand the importance. I know that with prayer and diligence, they will make it. :)
I know that sometimes it can be a little difficult out here, but when things get hard, I still think back to a talk I watched in the MTC that helped me change my whole view on this mission. At times enduring to the end just seems like a cliche that doesn't seem to have substance to it, but I have learned in my mission that that is not in any way the case. The mission is hard, it tries you, and it eats you up sometimes to see that people do not follow what you know so strongly to be true-what you try to help them understand for themselves that is important. I definitely know those feelings when you warn your investigators not to do something and then they go ahead and do it anyways. It's pretty annoying sometimes that we have to try so hard, but they can still use their agency to fight against us! UGH! If only we didn't have to deal with agency! ;) Well, if that were the case, life would be pretty lame for us, too. ha On the bright side, though, as we do our best, and even if some of the people we come in contact with don't make it now, I am confident that later down the road, they will realize that that seed of faith has been planted, and they will revert back to the way they felt when we were with them. Enduring to the end can definitely be a struggle. I have seen that many times in my mission. In the MTC, "Missions are Forever" by Jeffrey R. Holland really helped me paint the picture to how I would react to difficulties in my mission. It is amazing, and I have learned to apply so many things that he taught here on the mission. I remember one thing he taught that has really stuck with me through all the ups and downs that we face as missionaries. He said something along the lines of, "Why should missions be easy? They shouldn't, nor will they. If it wasn't easy for Jesus Christ to go through what he did in the Garden of Gethsemane, why should it be for us?" That has really helped me to understand that this mission is going to be tough, but it is that way because it is supposed to be. We learn and grow so much out here, and I am so grateful that I get to learn out here from this all. I can see how these trials are helping me learn and grow so much more. I know that if I just keep going, endure to the end, and remember, He never said it would be easy, but He said it would be worth it, I can just imagine the blessings I am going to have when I get home! I can see an example of it in Matthew's life, and I am so happy to do my best out here, so I can be worthy and ready to accept those special blessings that await me upon my return.
I love you all so much, and I hope everyone is enjoying their "after wedding relax time." ;) Sure wish I could have been there, but I know that means the reunion will be all that much better now that I have ANOTHER family member waiting at the Airport terminal when I come home. :) I hope all is well, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon. LOVE YOU!
"Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (thanks again, Vane! :))