I hate goodbyes. I think that my overwhelming dislike for saying goodbye to people really started when I got out of the car at the curb at the MTC. It´s not a very fun experience. And this last week has been full of way too many of them. Let me explain.
So, Sunday, President Deere came to visit us in our little town of La Línea. It was great, he was able to interview Antonio, our investigator, and was able to talk with us for a little bit. Then he asked to talk to me in private for a few seconds. He then asked me to come and be the mission secretary, starting...tomorrow. So that gave me a week to say goodbye to everyone. But what an incredible week it has been.
Yesterday was a little different. We had a barbecue with the branch. I love the members here. They are all so, so strong and just fantastic. I love them. Elder Holman and I, for some inexplicable reason, were not thinking, and did not bring normal clothes to the barbecue, and instead, showed up in proselyting clothes. The rest of our district actually did think ahead and showed up in the appropriate clothing. So crazy. We ended up playing soccer and volleyball anyway, it was just a little bit more complicated. And sweaty.
A very cool miracle that I´d like to share. We contacted a man while we were walking along the road one day, and he told us that he would enjoy hearing our message. When we went to his house, we presented the restoration and then told him how it could bless his life. He waited for us to finish then told us that every religious person he has talked to has told him the same thing. That everything that he had been hearing from us was exactly the same from the rest of the religions, and that none of them could really be proven, because there was nothing that you could see. He actually used the phrase ´hold between your hands´, which I thought was interestingly ironic. We told him that there was something that you could hold and read and gain a testimony about it. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he got excited. He told us that he was going to read it and that he would definitely want to discuss it´s meaning with us more in depth.
Antonio got baptized this morning. It was a beautiful morning and we were really blessed to have a clear sky and a clear beach where we could do the baptism. It was the first time I have been a part of a baptism in the ocean. It was cold and the first time I have been on a beach in a long time. We, as missionaries, are not allowed on the beach unless we have a baptism there. The other elders in our district were ecstatic to be on the beach. Antonio, what a guy. I remember how we first began teaching him. We were walking down the street one day, and we stopped an older Spanish man named Antonio. He accepted a message to hear about the gospel and we have been teaching him for a little over a month. To see him get baptized was a very special experience. Such a blessing. We were able to have a few members from La Linea, who normally are unable to come to church, attend. President Flores, our branch president was talking to me afterwards about how this is a historical event. This is the first baptism in La Línea in the twenty first century. Crazy cool. So many more to follow. This is just the beginning. Antonio told me as we were walking out of the water and back onto the beach that he felt content with God. That he felt very good about his decision.
Wow. A crazy week. We had interviews with President Deere and we talked a lot about why certain things happen. I have begun to really understand what it means to go where God wants us to go. We may not understand why we´re needed in a specific spot, or we may think that we could be better used in a different way, but what we have got to understand is that God knows better than us. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He will give us the opportunities that allow for the most growth rather than the most comfort. As difficult as it is to accept sometimes. We may not know why we are being asked to do something but one thing that I have learned this last week, and actually from this entire experience of being here in La Línea is that if we accept the difficult circumstances that we are placed in, and if we decide to grow from them, God gives us the power to be able to grow. It´s a part of the atonement that we have to understand. It´s the enabling power of the atonement that causes us to become better people. For that I´m very grateful. I don´t know what´s going to happen in these next couple of months. It´s going to be very difficult because we will be making the change between mission presidents. But what I´m beginning to realize is it´s not where you serve, but how. If we do our best in where we´re called, that´s what counts. It may not be on the battle´s front, but it´s where God has need of me.
It is definitely a great day to be a missionary
Love you all.
|Elder Holman, Antonio and I|
|With our district, members of the church in La Linea, and the Branch President at Antonio's baptism.|