May 18, 2015
Well, it was nice to be able to Skype call last week! The internet was out in almost every other computer shop but that one, so I think it's safe to call it a miracle that we were able to pull it off! Next time we'll be seeing each other will be in the flesh... That's a very bizarre prospect to consider. But I'm sure if the Lord was able to help me adjust in the mission field, he'll be able to help me adjust to home life as well, when the time comes.
I just want to start off my email by sharing my testimony of the Atonement. I know I share it almost every week in my emails, but it's because it's one of the dearest parts of who I am; that is, my testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I know that Jesus Christ was the pre-mortal Jehovah of the Old Testament, and that through Him the heavens and the earth were created. He was chosen to be our Savior and Redeemer and was prepared by our Eternal Father to fulfill this divine mission of conquering death and sin. He was born of a mortal woman, Mary, and an immortal Father, making Him the Only-Begotten Son of God. He walked among men here on earth, showing them the way to eternal life. He organized His Church. He walked among the covenant people that He Himself had given commandments to on the mountain and in the wilderness. His own people could not recognize that the great I AM was indeed in their midst, and because of pride, rejected Him. He was fully aware of His mission to accomplish. His mission was to conquer evil and death, and to give us a chance to return home. His sacrifice was not that of man; man alone could never make an offering to pay for the sins of a fallen world. Only one who was Endless, Eternal, even the Son of God, could accomplish this "infinite and eternal sacrifice" (Alma 34:10). He knelt in a garden of olive trees, and gave every last bit of Himself for us, submitting completely to the will of the Father. It was far beyond any mortal suffering, and far beyond anything we could begin to fathom. "Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink— Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men." (D&C 19:18) That very night He was betrayed by friends for money, taken in a false trial, and tortured cruely. "And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men." (1 Nephi 19:9) It was far beyond a martyr's death, or a testimony of blood against wicked men, but it was an instrument of everlasting healing, prepared from the foundations of the world, for us, God's children, and pre-mortal followers of Christ. "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) His almighty hands and feet were pierced by nails, and He was raised on a cross until He gave up the ghost according to His own power. After three days, His soul returned to His body, never to be separated again, and became a glorious resurrected being. He lived again, and still lives! He is risen! He commissioned us to preach His word, and ascended into Heaven, into incomprehensible glory. Because of that victory over death and sin, I am filled with "a perfect brightness of hope" that the day will come when we will all be raised from mortality to immortality, and we can be cleansed from the countless iniquities that have so easily beset us in the flesh, because we have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ, who wants more than anything that we come unto Him, and be partakers of this wonderful gift given to us. No amount of eloquence can really articulate what I feel in my heart and soul concerning Jesus, but I thank God that the Holy Spirit has testified to me of these wonderful truths, and that now they are such a dear part of me, that will never fade away. To my dying breath, and far beyond the grave, I will testify of the Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior. I know He lives.
Tuesday was super cool. We had an awesome Zone Meeting where we set new goals with the Zone concerning contacting and finding new investigators, and conducted a 20-minute finding activity that very hour, talking to people just outside the chapel, on the city streets. We felt it would be more powerful if we kicked off the new Zone goals by going out and doing them, rather than just talking about it. It sure did get us energized! And so-far it's been super effective; our average contacts and new investigator average for the Zone is steadily going up, so it's pretty fun stuff! Super grateful for that.
That night, we came to the Valdez family for a dinner appointment. Sister Valdez asked us if we wanted to go catch beetles and eat them for dinner, and we readily accepted. How cool is that! We hiked out to this huge corn field with sticks, large empty plastic bottles, and some dead bark strips, wondering what on earth we had gotten ourselves into. We waited, squatting in the corn rows until the sun started sinking. Then, all of a sudden the ground started humming and thousands of beetles started flying around us. They are attracted to the dead bark strips, so you just start waving them around, grabbing as many beetles as you can fit in your hands. We did that for about 15 minutes and got two bottles full before we headed back. Once we got back we ripped off their legs and wings and fried them up in some garlic and vinegar. Talk about a dinner appointment! I love this place!
On Thursday we chopped some wood for a service project and had some more delicious food. The week went really well in general. The main difficulty we had was some immature fellowshippers joining us that made the work difficult... We still managed. We met with an investigator, Jonalyn, whom we hadn't seen in a long time. When we started following-up her prayers and reading she said she had received and answer to her prayers that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Awesome! The only problem facing her is a difficult boyfriend situation... I'll keep you updated.
Anyways, out of time! Just glad I was able to testify! I love this place and this work. I know God lives. We have a loving Heavenly Father who is so merciful. I love Him so much, and I'm grateful for the gift of His son. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
(I think I'll call this one Hakuna matata... ;-) gulp...
Catching "Abal-abal" (Ilocano for Corn Beetle)