Not too much to talk about this week (finally, after such a busy last few weeks ;)), but it was still a busy and good week! Elder Esmit and I were just getting settled and he was getting moved in again. We had to clean out the apartment of accumulated junk and whatnot to be sure to make room for his size 18 shoes. ;) He's a great companion, and I look forward to working more with him! Can't believe he leaves in 3 weeks....I'm going to kill my first missionary!
to kill (verb): 1. in the real world- to end someone's life by force of action. 2. in missionary life- to be the companion of a missionary that ends his mission.
Just wanted to include that so you didn't get any false ideas ha. It will be a new experience. Hopefully he doesn't get too trunky on me!
trunky (noun): 1. missionary slang- to be ready and/or packed for home; to be not focused on the work because home is distracting.
I think it's going to be a great couple of weeks with him. We are going to work hard, so that this area continues to pick up and doesn't drop right after he leaves-although I will be covering two areas! He's a great companion, and we have already had a great time. It has been a pretty normal week of visiting investigators and members and normal meetings. Nothing too crazy or exciting to talk about. The main (and pretty much only ;)) highlight of the week was our Thanksgiving ward activity!
As missionaries, we planned another ward activity for this month. Because there is supposed to be at least one ward activity each month, we have been working on getting that going so the members have opportunities for great ways to introduce their friends to the church and enjoy their time together as a ward. Our last activity was a hit for October, and so we took on the chance to put together another fun activity. :) After brainstorming, we worked with our awesome ward mission leader to come up with the theme of "the Tree of Life" for our ward Thanksgiving dinner we planned. We kept the theme a secret for the ward and basically told them it would be a Thanksgiving dinner with a fun theme. As they arrived, we blocked off part of the parking lot, and directed them to enter through the unusual front door. As they entered, they were seated down on a couch, and Bishop introduced a little message about holding onto the string next to him and not letting go and they would get to the activity. They did it in groups. So everyone a group at a time grabbed a hold of the white cord and followed Bishop. Towards the beginning, Hno Badillo asked a few to go with him to help prepare the food. Along the way, Hno Monge was tucked away in one of the classes and would tell them to let go to grab some candy. Also, Alex Badillo was there telling them to let go to go play soccer with him outside. At another point along the way, Mulan was playing in a room with all the Badillo kids sitting around it eating popcorn. Through each of these steps, people would let go, but they always seemed to make it back to the rope. At the end, if they followed all the way to the end, they found that the rope was attached to a bright lit up tree that we had prepared to be "the Tree of Life". As they go to the end, most people made the connection. Hna Monge shared that she got a little teary eyed to get all the way to the end without letting her two young sons let go along the way and seeing them make it all the way there and then her realizing the importance of this lesson. As they finished, Obispo congratulated them and guided them back through room with little bookmarks we made for them to remember and they began eating. It wasn't until everyone had entered the main dinner that he explained the main message of this all.
In the Book of Mormon, we can read in 1 Nephi Chapter 8 of a dream Lehi (one of the prophets of the Book of Mormon) had from the Lord. I know you have read it before, but if there are any who are reading this right now that haven't, I invite you to read it, and study the significance of each and every part of the dream. Although we couldn't completely recreate everything from the dream, it was neat to see the impact it had on people's view. The string represents the iron rod from the story, which is the word of God and the gospel that we live. The tree represents eternal life and the blessings that come from living the gospel. As we hold to the rod, or live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we make it to eternal life with our family and receive the blessings that have been prepared for us. Although we may let go at times and may fall, because we are not perfect, the important part is to always make it back to that iron rod so that we can make it to "the Tree of Life" once again with our families. I have a strong testimony that this message is true and it really does apply to our lives. We just need to try and do our best, and we will get there. I loved watching the members of the ward participate in the activity, and invite non-member friends to also be part of it and learn.
As Thanksgiving comes up this week, the activity we did reminds me of the blessings I have received in my life. A loving family. A gospel-centered home. A happy life. There are SO many, and it would take quite a few emails to list them all, but the bottom line is that I am so grateful for all God has given me. I am grateful to have you as my eternal family, and I look forward to the day I get to be with you again. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, and are sure to count your many blessings and remember all that God has done. I love you so much and I hope you are well. Be safe in any travels! Love you!
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20 (This was the scripture on the bookmarks :))