Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 15

Hello everyone. It has been another amazing week here in West Jordan. Things have been going well, though there have been a few different challenges. One of our main investigators, Karla, left early to go back to mexico. It was hard and we went over one last time to see her the night before she left. She had a testimony of the book of mormon and would have been baptized soon, but we knew she had to leave so it didnt make any sense. We had a lot of really great teaching experiences with her and the change in her was amazing to see. She will be in mexico anywhere from 1 - 6 months. Either way, it is 100% sure that Elder Mungia wont be here, I probably wont be here, and Elder Brown may or may not be here. She isnt able to meet with the missionaries there because she said if her mom found out that she was listening to the missionaries, that she'd probably kill her ha. So we told her to keep reading and praying and to try to go to church as much as possible and then that she could be taught everything else when she came back and be baptized. Another hard thing this week was that Indira, the lady that we had on date to be baptized, fell off date because she didnt come to church. She also hasnt really read much or prayed much either. I dont really understand because she accepted baptism, but she's just really busy with her little kids I guess. Tonight we have a lesson scheduled with her at a members house and are trying to have her aunt watch the kids so that she can focus more. Hopefully this will be what she needs and she'll be able to better prepare herself and really feel the spirit.

Things with Jose are going well. he lost his job so he has been looking around for one. He is only smoking 3 a day now so he is making progress. He also told us about a time yesterday when he was driving around looking for a job. he was really frustrated and craving a cigarette really bad, but he had already had three. He took one out and was holding it in his hand about to light it, then he flicked it away before he did, and said a prayer! When he told us that story it made me so happy. I cant believe how much he has been able to change and it was amazing to hear that story. He is beginning to read a lot more and to pray every morning and night. We have basically just been reading with him lately. We will probably start re-teaching some of the lessons soon, but for now we are just reading and he has been doing it on his own too. Reading and praying is the most important thing that we want our investigators to do, becuase that is how they gain their testimonies. We can bring the spirit and teach them everything, but until they read and pray on their own, nothing's going to happen.

Luis is also getting a little more progress. We have been able to have his daughter and her family actually stay in the room and participate in the last few lessons and it has helped him a lot. Before, even if they were home and we were teaching him, they'd say hi and then just leave. Now they are all there and participating and we are all friends and it is a really great atmosphere. Luis has read all the way through 2nd Nephi and is in Jacob now. He is doing great on the reading part, but he hasnt really prayed. We taught him the rest of the first lesson, and it was a really spriitual lesson and I got to challenge him to pray to receive the witness that the book is true. Hopefully he will do it and he will be able to be baptized soon.

On saturday I had the opportunity to go to the baptism of Angeles, Diana (angeles' daughter), and Celia. It was an amazing experince and I am so thankful for their decision. Angeles especially had to make a lot of changes and go through a lot in order to be baptized and it was so great to see her and see how she had been able to do it. It fullfilled the promise that I made to her almost a month ago now that I knew that if she had faith, that the things that were keeping her from being baptized would fall into place. Everything worked out for her. She is now living with her friend, got a car, has a job, and got baptized! This is really something that i am realizing just now, that as a missionary, the lord really does sustain your words when you speak through the spirit. It also taught me a lot about the prinicple of faith in Christ, that like Angeles, faith in christ allows us to overcome whatever challenges we are faced with. When I had hard times this week, I was able to find comfort in the scriptures in Helaman 5:12 especially, and also in 2 Nephi 4:17-21, and in 2 Nephi 22:2. I have loved the opportunity I have had to get to know the scriptures better and to receive revelation for myself and my investigators through them. They truly are the words of God. The baptism itself was amazing, and just like with all of the other previous baptisms, each time they went down into the water and came back up, I felt the spirit so powerfully and it was such and amazing thing to be able to experience.

At the baptism it was also very nice to see some of my old companions (elder pence and elder carr) and also to see some of the Brothers that helped us out A LOt. Brother Wilcox and Brother Ed Smith. it was also nice to get a letter from brother smith this week as well. They are great men and examples to me, and have a lot of really good stories and incites in life that help me, especially as a missionary.

The last thing is that this saturday we had a mission lockdown. Halloween is on saturday in utah and sometimes people dress up like missionaries and do dumb stuff so for safety and other reasons, from 5-10 saturday night we met at our zone building and played basketball and dodgeball and got to watch some approved movies (how to train a dragon and part of cloudy with a chance of meatballs). It was a fun night and a good break, but really really weird. It was weird to not be doing anything, and just felt like a normal saturday night, minus the presence of girls hah.

This sunday our companionship gave a talk in church. I gave mine on faith and repentance. I wasnt too nervous and i gave a pretty good talk. I ended up talking for almost 20 minutes! afterwords, everyone told me that I did a good job and that my spanish was really good. I know I made a lot of mistakes still, but they said they understood everything, and it was nice of them to compliment me. My spanish is coming along and I get better everyday.

Also this week elder brown and mungia have been kind of sick, along with about half our zone ha. I've been fine though which is good, and we've been able to go out every night still so we've been lucky, but have had to do a few weird exchanges. Also it has been warm here this week. Thank you for all of the clothes. We'll see if i get to use them. the last few days I've just been going out in a short sleeve shirt and my suite jacket and have been fine. I usually wear gloves though cause its kind of cold. Also another side note. I got two flat tires this week. That makes a total of 4 in the three weeks i've been here, and then my bike got stolen in my last area. My luck with health is pretty good, but it is about as bad as it can get with bikes ha, but i'll survive.

I love you all and miss you very much. Thank you for all of your letters and for your love and support, it really means a lot to me, and helps keep me going. I love my mission, even here in salt lake city, and have been able to receive so many amazing blessings, and am so greatful for my opportunity that I have to serve and to learn and grow. Have a great week!


Elder Smith

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