Elder Ramirez and I!!Hola familia!
It was so great to see all your wonderful smiling faces yesterday. I
love you all very much and sure love having such an amazing family. I
know it is the gospel that has truly transformed this family from
where we used to be and I am so glad that we will be an eternal
family. Skyping was so much fun! I didn't take a screenshot like I
wanted to :(. New plan, I will call you tomorrow, get back together,
and we will get a picture. Haha I wish. Miss you and love you, but see
The last couple weeks have been nothing short of a nauseous roller
coaster, as it can be at times. Ha It wasn't this time that so much
happened, but rather that so much DIDN'T happen. Agency is the
darnedest thing. Just wish people would follow the revelation they
receive and let the spirit talk to them. There are so many blessings
in store. Just try it. SO, Ely, Daniel, Henry, Heidi, Guadalupe,
Maria, Edid, etc are all fence sitting right now. They have committed
to change, but now we have done as much as we can and it is up to
their personal decisions and desires to follow through with it. We
will still be working with them, but we will be focusing this week on
finding more people to work with as well.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We are going to work
hard! The week before last, Elder Curtis and I were having a hard time
that everything fell through again for the second time in a row, and
as we were working on brushing off and pushing forward, I actually
shared Dad's email! It really brought the Spirit and lifted us. I want
to include some of it. I felt it was inspiration directly to me for a
reason. Just when I thought I got through the hard week and that the
email should have come earlier, that week hit, and I know it was
perfect timing. Thanks Dad! This is what he shared with me...
"So sounds like your week may have been a little spicy with some
hurdles to overcome? So you just have to say, OK and press forward
doing what you know is right. It will not always be easy (as you know)
and it is not always as clear to those we teach as it is to us. Part
of being a good teacher/leader is to be an empathetic listener. It can
really be tough to walk in someone else’s shoes but you have to try to
understand people you communicate with in that way.
"One thing I have noticed throughout the years is that a persons'
perspective of things is so unique. For instance, look at politics.
Probably the biggest example of difference of opinions next to
religion, but religion is a belief that tends to be faith driven. With
politics, people can make decisions based on evidence that is more
material in nature. Religion may seem that way at times for those of
us with a strong testimony but for someone who is new in the Gospel
there are many issues because of the foundation of ones' faith. It
probably get pretty doctrinally deep as you start to peel back the
layers but bottom line is you need to do your best to help support the
foundation of faith by teaching the truth - and the Spirit will do the
rest. Words can be powerful and tend to convince people in the moment
but when that spiritual support leaves, many times so does that
persons interest in seeking the truth. Out of sight, out of mind.
"So what do we do you may ask?...
"...I can remember when Matthew was struggling after being caught
using marijuana and drinking. We took him away from his peers and went
to the cabin for some time away. He was very humble at the time having
confessed and entered into the process of repentance. We jumped on our
mountain bikes at the cabin and rode up to the top of the hill behind
Cheney Ranch. When we reached the top, we got off our bikes and looked
around. This was an area the the Rodeo-Chediski Fire burned thru and
devastated years before. There were blackened and gnarled trees and
ground everywhere. As we looked over the view, I asked Matthew what he
saw. He described the view on the horizon and the blackened landscape.
Then I asked him to look a little closer…'what do you see?' I asked.
His response was adding more detail to the surrounding carnage and the
depth of destruction. His perspective was of the magnitude of what had
taken place there. He was feeling beaten at the time so he had a
negative perspective of things.
"Then I told him what I could see. All around us, between the jagged
trees and blackened earth, there was a blanket of new growth. Grasses,
ferns, trees, and other life that was green and rich looking in
contrast to the burned out landscape. In the midst of death, there was
life. In the presence of destruction, there was beauty.
"We could probably spend hours discussing various thoughts and
analogies with this perspective but the one I wanted you to focus on
is how through the presence of destruction, there was beauty. In the
midst of our trials, there is always life - there is always beauty -
the Savior. Its up to us what we see. Will we concentrate on the old
or will we focus on the new? Do we get caught up in what we may
perceive as failure of do we just step up and press forward? Its so
easy to get caught up in what we see as defeats and forget what is
good all around us.
You have and are continuing to do a great work in the sight of God. No
matter what you may think, there is always a reason to rejoice in the
midst of failure. Stay strong and press forward. The Lord needs you to
give your all and see the beauty all around you. Teach others to
recognize and feel the Spirit so they can see the beauty for
I truly believe that was guided counsel from the Holy Ghost to me
through Dad. I just love that email. I saved it. :)
This last week, Elder Curtis was transferred...lame! We were working
so hard, but only got one transfer together. I hate when that happens!
I am still kind of lost here since we were SO busy last transfer that
we didn't have much time to get to know the members, however, I am
still super excited for this transfer. My new companion is Elder
Ramirez from Chile! I love working with natives ha. I am going into
this transfer seeing the beauty. I love this kid! We have been
following each other our whole mission. Ha It's going to be a lot of
fun and we are going to work hard!
Once again, Happy Birthday and Mother's Day, Mom! It sure was great to
talk to you all yesterday and I hope you continue to do well. Love you
so much! Take care!
"If you can't bring them to baptism, try to bring them to a place of
greater faith." Elder Neil L. Andersen