Well my dearest family, this week was amazing!
Well this week was pretty great, and Elder McKay and I felt the blessings from Heavenly Father were very abundant in our area. We have felt like the few weeks of the holidays were trials of our faith, and we were being tested. We feel very much like we have seen so many blessings this week that the Lord has held in store for us as long as we exercised our faith in him. We finally saw many of our investigators come to church this week. Teresa came, Abby (TaShanna's daughter) came and actually bore her testimony! We had several other people there at church, and although it was hectic at church, it felt so great to know that finally these children of God were able to put some effort into growing closer to Him and feeling of His spirit. Neil and Jess also came to church, and during Sacrament Meeting (fast and testimony meeting) he started to cry and got emotional. It was so great to see him be able to feel the Spirit. This week he has put a lot of effort into stopping smoking, and although he isn't there yet, he has made a huge effort, while his wife has not. It was such a blessing for me to be able to see how much more receptive he was to the Spirit while at church after having exercised faith and work toward pleasing God and keeping His commandments throughout the week.
This week we also had a lesson with probably the most golden family I've ever met. We tracted into Ricky a week and a half ago, and he was a really nice and polite 14 year old kid. He told us we could come back this past week when his mom was home and we could talk to them. When we did, his mom invited us in, and she, Ricky, and Ricky's brother Eric sat in on our lesson. Ricky and Eric were some of the most attentive and focused teenage kids I've ever seen in my life. We got to know them, did some "How to begin teaching" from PMG, and taught lesson 1. After the first vision, we asked Ricky what he thought about all of this, and he said, "This is serious". We asked what he meant by that, and he said, "There's no joking around about this stuff. It's really serious." We later found out in the lesson that their mom had taken the missionary lessons as a young teenage girl in Corpus Cristi, TX. She actually was baptized! She remembered a little bit about Joseph Smith, and what she learned. Their family is awesome! Their name is the Garnica Family, and it's Tabitha and her husband, and 5 children between 10 and 18 including Ricky and Eric. Well, at the end of our lesson Eric asked us if a certain young man came to our church, and we told him that he did, and he said he knew him. That young man is probably the best fellowshipper a kid could ever have, and his family is one of the best I've ever known. The lesson we had with the Garnicas was probably one of the best lessons I've ever had on my mission, and I know I felt the Spirit there more strongly than I have in a long time. We feel so blessed to be getting to know these amazing people and help them find the truth.
Well, I just feel so blessed to have been able to see these blessings this past week. I would never have thought when I first got into this area that we could have had 7 investigators at church, or 6 new ones in a week, but this week it happened. But I now have a strong testimony of how much the Lord wants to bless us if we just exercise our faith in him, and go to work. It reminds me of the scripture shared several times this past general conference, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." I know that we show our love for God by doing his work, and I really have seen the promises of this blessing in my life over the past 6 months. Recently, the zone leaders and Elder McKay and I have been talking about the work going on in our zone. We have been talking about work, and using time wisely. There is nothing that brings blessings more than just stepping out the door, and doing work. However, there is a way to do work in a wise way. When I first got to the mission, I felt like people here had changed the purpose of missionaries from "inviting others to come unto Christ through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, BAPTISM, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end" to "visiting less actives". When Elder Maynes came to our mission, he told us that if we could summarize our purpose into three words, it would be "Find, Teach, Baptize". Then he said, if you could pick one of those to be an all-encompassing purpose statement, it would be: "Baptize". As missionaries, we have a goal. That goal, if kept in mind and heart daily, will lead us to do things daily to get us there. However, if we are not connected to that purpose, we find ourselves wasting time and participating in fruitless, mindless, and mundane tasks and activities. Missionary work requires work. The same is required in life--if we want a happy, spiritual, and successful life. My testimony of the gospel has strengthened so much on my mission. I realize that it gives us purpose in life. It gives us a goal, that, if we stay connected to on a daily basis, we will find it easy and sensible to do the right things and become more Christlike. I love the gospel and it's inspired and divine plan, and the goal it gives us to work toward.
I have a testimony of this gospel. I know that what we do is God's work. It changes lives, and it changes us. The Book of Mormon has the power to make us "new creatures in Christ". I love God, and I love His Son. I am forever grateful and humbled at how much they love and bless me with mercy, and with love. I love being a missionary.
Elder Logan Bryan