Well, here we are face to face with a new month, which in the mission means a new chance to work towards new goals, try again, strive to reach higher hights, and recommit ourselves to this great work. Unfortunately as humans, and as 20 year old boys, I suppose, we have to be reminded a lot of the importance and glory of this marvelous work, but I guess that's why the word "remember" shows up so much in the scriptures. We are prone to wander, and sometimes the Lord just has to give us a little reminder from time to time. I say this because today we had a council with all the Zone and District Leaders with President Martinez and it was a fantastic experience. I am always blown away by the power of that man. Of course he has priesthood authority as a mission presidente, but he is filled with the Spirit, and that gives him power. When he speaks, we are silent, and I can feel the Holy Spirit testify to my heart of the truthfulness of his words and reveal to me new truths. That is what I hope to be able to develop as a teacher of the Gospel. Paso a paso. A lot of it has to do with humility, something I always struggle with, but is so necessary to receiving a greater portion of the Spirit. Today an Elder who arrived with me to Chile who was in the council today told us about an experience he had baptising a miracle convert. There's a picture of after the baptism that President showed us of this grown man, with a face of the most sincere gratitude, standing in the font with Elder Brad, and hugging him with one arm embrassing his head. It's one of the most sincere expressions of love I think I've ever seen, and Elder Brad just has this huge smile on his face. He told us as he reflected on his experience, about how that man went to the bathroom to change before Elder Brad got there. But when Elder Brad walked in, he found him kneeling on the floor, praying to God and sobbing out of joy and gratitude. What impressed me most about the story was the humility of Elder Brad, who grew up on a farm, struggles a little with the language, perhaps isn't the brightest kid in the world, but is humble, knows he has weaknesses, and puts his trust in God. He told us that that man was incredibly smart, and he doesn't know how he or his companion were able to baptise him, since "neither of us are very smart. But," said he, "we felt that we were instruments in God's hands to help him receive the Gospel."
And that's all that matters. His story brought me to tears as I thought about my pride once again, and how often I trust in my own strength and intelligence, which really can only get me so far. It's the power of God that truly works the miracles, and sometimes I wander and think I can do it without him. How wrong I am. Because if it weren't for Him and His humble magnificience, I wouldn't be here. President Martinez said today that if God wanted, he could send us all home today and do all of the work Himself. It wouldn't be hard for him. He wouldn't have a single challenge, and he would definitely do it a lot better than we would, but he doesn't. Why? Why does he call a bunch of us do help him in His work? Because He respects our agency and wants us to learn for ourselves. He wants us to grow and progress and learn to make decisions, to be creatures that act, and not creatures that are acted upon. He loves us, and knows our potencial and what it takes to reach it, and I'm so grateful to Him for trusting me with such a great task, weak and stubborn as I am. He's magnificent.
So this month as a zone, with Elder Wood we're focussing on helping ourselves and all of the zone to work by the Spirit, to recognize our weaknesses and do this work like God wants. We need to work work work and do everything we can in order to give God the oportunity to work miracles, because we are saved by grace, after all we can do (2 Nefi 25).
It's been going pretty well lately. We continue to find lots of people, but we have trouble finding them again after the first or second visit, because either they're not there when they say they're going to be or they cancel, and it's hard to find them again, but we're working hard, and I know the recompense will come.
I'm glad to hear the Goin' to Zion went well again. I would have loved to have been there, but alas, I'll just have to wait for the next one. I doubt it's the last, from the sounds of the response.
Hey Ashley, are you still preparing for the mission? How's that going? Have you filled out more of the application? Give me some deets on the progress, there's people waiting for you to teach them the Gospel!
Dad, sorry I keep forgetting to send photos, I honestly don't know why it's so hard for me to remeber. I just haven't been taking a lot of photos lately, and it's always like the last thing on my mind among so many other things, but I will try to remember!!! Until then, keep hanging in there. Like I said, we live in the corner of Caupolicán and Serrano, across the street from (on south side of the gas station).
Mom, water bottle, don't have a preference. I trust your judgment!
Well, that's all for today. Thank you all for writing! I love you muchly! Talk to you next week!