This week was a really, really good week. It's a little redundant but literally every week is so good.
Monday we were present for the setting apart of two missionaries, one of which is leaving from our branch. He is the second missionary this branch has thrown out into the mission field and everyone has been super excited for him. The setting apart was not really long, but the stake president shared a short message about his own missionary service in Portugal and I spent the time reflecting on my almost 9 months as a missionary. It's been super rewarding even though it definitely hasn't been all that easy. Being able to share spiritual experiences with people is by far the best part of missionary work as well as being there for people when they most need us.
The Saturday afternoon session of conference was one of the moments we were there for someone. As we walked out of a member's home there was a group of like 15 people outside drinking. We said hi and kept walking. Someone ran out from the group and just randomly started talking with us. We asked her how her day was going and she broke down and explained to us that someone in her family had died and that their family has been drinking to forget their problems. We shared about God's plan for us and how through the gospel of Jesus Christ all can return and live with God in our families. She asked if we would pray with her and we offered a prayer in the streets and left after taking her information for the English elders to visit her. The Church is so good and the doctrines we have are perfect. The gospel really is the only way that we can find true happiness in this life.
Tuesday we did a ton of service for one member. He called us up and asked for our service and obviously we said yes. He graciously gave us a ride because he lives so far away and that's expensive when you have limited monthly miles. The other elders were there with us and we spent a few hours moving this massive play set. That thing was sooo heavy. The member also went the whole 9 yards mounting the play set in the ground. It was worth it though. We did member service, had an opportunity to do some good manual labor, and he fed us some great pizza.
Wednesday we had a member meal that was really good. It was with a member who lives in the other Spanish area and I hadn't really known her all that well. We have a rule that we can't be alone with anyone of the opposite gender and half way through her friend who was eating with us left, so we relocated to the porch. For our spiritual thought we asked her about her conversion story and it was really good. Being in a branch where everyone over 25 or so is a convert we get opportunities to hear some really good stories. I won't go into specifics but she mentioned that she had gone inactive a few times and I asked her what kept bringing her back. She mentioned the spirit and love she felt in the church, and once you really have an opportunity to feel the Savior's love not much else really is worth much. Truly living the gospel changes lives and brings a peace that stays with you through any trial that is thrown at you. I think Doctrine and Covenants says it best in section 25:10 when Christ says "Verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better." The gospel really is just a better way of life.
Thursday we had an awesome lesson with Griselda. Sadly we really haven't been able to have consistent lessons with her, but she has been doing her homework. She has had some consistent miracles with the BoM that makes our job pretty easy. She has a baby daughter who always goes to sleep when she wants to read the BoM. Like every time.
It allows her to be in an environment that is conducive to the spirit, namely quite and peaceful. During our previous lesson we taught part of the Plan of Salvation, God's plan for us in this life, but didn't finish it and left her with Alma 42 to read. We didn't feel that finishing the Plan was what Griselda needed.
We had the idea to ask her to think about the questions she has about life, the gospel or anything about religion so that we could spend a lesson figuring out what is on her mind and what kind of gospel needs she has and then answer those with the BoM. It turned out really well. I was a little nervous, because she could have thrown anything at us. In that lesson we talked about what God expects of us. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ which simply consists of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. We had a member with us who shared a really good analogy of taking steps of faith and their importance in this life. It was a really powerful lesson and we invited her to be baptized. She said yes but when we wanted to set a date she said she wasn't ready for a date. She told us she knew the BoM was true but there still is a lot about the structure of the church she doesn't quite understand yet that she wants to understand before getting baptized. The member with us brought up the question of what she needs before she takes this step. He pointed out that there are a few steps that she needs to take and then some obstacles that people tend to put in front of them, such as not knowing everything about the gospel or church, not being perfect, or other not being willing to take steps of faith. We left her with the commitment to watch General conference this weekend and think about what she needed and then we could help her out on those.
Friday and Saturday we had a trade off with our zone leaders. It was super good, our zone leaders are bosses. We basically knocked all day which sucked but we talked with a few people. Sadly we were about 20 minutes late to our member meal that day, that was caused by some guy who really didn't like Joseph Smith. We kind of just stood on his porch as he threw some dirt at us that didn't make a whole lot of sense but we just took it. We asked him if he had ever read the BoM or prayed about our message and obviously he said no. John 7:17 states that to know if something of God you have to act and do it to see, there is no other way. There is another one somewhere in the end of the new testament that is better for moments like that, but I can't remember it off the top of my head. The member dinner was a slight culture shock with some white people. When I got asked if I wanted more and I politely declined and they actually accepted my answer, it was really weird haha.
Conference was really good. I think Saturday morning was my favorite session but I'm out of time. You can watch all the talks on LDS.org and we were asked to review all the talks.
Choose a conference session to watch.
Also Natividad is doing well