It has been pretty busy around here though in all honesty. It's always such a relief when the new missionaries are settled in their apartments and we don't have to be in charge of them at the office. The new missionaries always come in so excited to proselyte anyway, it's good that we get them in the field as soon as possible. I remember once I asked Elder Kirkham if we really needed to take a preparation day ha! I've now come to realize how we need them. I've never prayed for this until today, but I asked Heavenly Father to help me prioritize my day and that no matter how much I want to do other things, to help me to take a nap. I'm so behind on my journal though, so I think I may end up spending a lot of time on that. I used to be really good at it, and taking pictures too, but then I got transfered to Rancho and it's been a challenge ever since!
There are some points in our work where the work just really feels like it's trickling, but Bishop Latu always re-assures us that the wheel is moving, he's a really good bishop. This week, we were only able to have 2 lessons, but each one really had the Spirit there with us. I really enjoy being able to teach a part member family named the Meleisea's. Jonathan is 25 and watching his faith grow is so interesting. The Book of Mormon is such a powerful resource to bring about conversion, I love it so much! I had a very good study today when I read Alma 28 and one thing that I love about The Book of Mormon is that regardless of what the Nephites were facing, they were able to find hope and joy among their mourning through their faith in Christ. The anguish that could've existed was replaced because of their knowledge that the Lord would fulfill His promises to them and grant them eternal life.
This week, Elder Enrique R. Falabella of the seventy visited our mission and I had learned many important things from his visit. Elder Falabella is the one who spoke in conference about when they got sealed in the Mesa Arizona temple, they shook hands with a lot of people and with each handshake, they were given $20, so he shouted to his wife "Blancy, shake hands with everyone!" I don't know if that sounds familiar to you, but that's a pretty common talk of his. His native language is Spanish, but his English was pretty good! He has a good sense of humor and when we had lunch, he insisted on serving us, I thought that was very neat. From his visit, I have now committed myself to during the administration of the sacrament, to think about Christ and nothing else. I can get pretty distracted at that time, and I realized that the sacrament is most likely the most intimate and penitent time we have to repent, and if we're not feeling remorse for anything we did wrong, we can't exactly repent. Not that the sacrament is meant for you to reflect and feel guilty, but it's meant to enlighten us that Christ is the Son of God and that we need Him in order to be forgiven and that He was the only one who loved our Father enough to lay down His life willingly. His life and history is so neat and spectacular.
On Thursday, we had a neat experience while we were on our way to visit a family. We stepped out of the car and found this couple talking and they accepted us from the get-go, but conveniently we had the portable dvd player with us, so they let us share a quick video about Christ with them. They really enjoyed it and they said that we could visit them today, but after our visit, we are going to pass them off to the YSA ward. And then here's another really cool proselyting story. We were again going to visit a family, but there was a couple with their 2 young daughters. We talked and walked and picked up on the fact that they weren't from California. They are from Argentina and their names are Damien and Yessica. It's challenging to know what direction to take a conversation when they say "We believe in having a good relationship with God, but we don't go to church because we don't like labels". I'm not really sure what we did next, probably just testified that our message is true, but by the end of our conversation, they accepted a pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and then she goes "What are you doing this Saturday? My daughter is having a birthday party and I really want you to come and get some food and share more with the rest of my family" so at that point, we are just in awe because it's not very often that people set their own return appointment ha. We'll be on exchanges this Saturday so I probably will be going to the desert, but it works out better that way because Elder Hancock knows an impressive amount of Spanish anyway. We are very blessed to cover the whole stake boundary because we meet so many great people. Handing them off to other missionaries is rewarding in it's own way as well (:
I wish I had more to report on and more exciting things to share, but we spent a lot of time in meetings and preparation this week. Regardless, we still had a pretty good week and I know that there is still so much left to do. And when you simply don't know what's left to say, just testify of Christ.
I love my Savior. I know that God knew that we were going to face challenges, and He sent His Beloved Son to give us a way to escape the things that we don't like about ourselves. I think one of the most challenging things for humans as a whole is that we cannot change human hearts. It's a vessel so strong and yet can be so vulnerable and I know only God has the ability to change it, but He will not do it against our will. At one point, the Savior's own heart stopped beating and it finally got a break. I bet that was a good feeling to be freed from the agony He was experiencing. I know that even with the world upon His shoulders, He accomplished all that He was sent to do and I think the only reward He is expecting from it all is to live with us and Heavenly Father once again. I know that no one can take away His title and identity and I would love to declare and defend Him myself that He is literal Son of God. I know that He lives and continues to bless us each day. I know that He loves us and wants to help us seek a better way of life. I know that whoever believes in Him will be granted a peace of mind that they desire and through His atoning blood, we can live with our Heavenly Father in the most ideal and prime happiness that He can offer. I love Him dearly and thank Him for all that He provides me and my family with.
Love the Lord and you will succeed. May His perfect love lead you to paths of righteous bliss.
- Elder Shawn Lyle Bennion