August 11, 2010
Good Morning Family and Friends,
I hope that you all had a great week this past week. I know that my email last week was a little scatter-brained. I got like five phone calls last week while I was writing the email due to the transfers and stuff like that. So it was hard to write a good email. But I hope this one goes a little better. Thank you for writing me this week you guys. It sounds like things are going great and that life just keeps moving along! I hope you know that all of you are always in my prayers and I hope you know how much I love you.
Anyways, one of the phone calls that I received last week was from one of the assistants. They told me that I needed to be at the mission office at 4 o'clock for a meeting and then they hung up the phone. I got to the meeting and all of the zone leaders were there for a conference they were having. I kept asking everyone why I was there and they would just smile and say "you'll see." Anyways, after a little bit President Alvarado walked in with the newest group of missionaries in our mission. He got them started on a little exercise and then he took me and a few other missionaries out of the room to talk to us. He sat me down and told me that I would be training Elder Martinez. He is a new member, a new missionary, and a great one at that, from El Salvador.
I was shocked and humbled by the call. I'm not the most incredible missionary there is and with the kind of relationship that I had with Elder de Leon I wasn't really sure that I would be able to do it. All I could do was pray and ask for the help I needed because I have nowhere else to turn. I have been humbled and brought to my knees more in this week then I have in my entire life. But it has been an incredibly spiritual experience and an amazing opportunity to grow closer to my Savior. It has been the hardest thing by far that I have done in my life but it has been great and I am loving every second of it.
Like I said, Elder Martinez is from El Salvador and he is on fire. He is 19 years old and is a convert to the church. He was baptized when he was nine and is the only member in his family. The rest of his family are Jehovah's Witnesses. Needless to say he has a killer testimony and I am learning more from him than he is learning from me . . . and I love it!
On Wednesday morning we had a meeting where we picked up our other companion. The plan was to have us work in a trio, but that eventually changed, and now its just me and Elder Martinez. Anyways, the three of us went to a house where a couple lived that we had contacted last week. We went to help them pull out some trees from their patio, Elder Martinez had been struggling like I did with homesickness. I tried loving him the best I could but there was just something that he needed that I couldn't give him.
We spent a few hours helping the family take out some trees and old plants and then we sat down to teach them a lesson afterward. The lesson was incredible. The spirit was so strong. Elder Martinez did a great job of teaching and Elder Baines and I taught about the doctrine of Christ. We invited them to be baptized and they accepted. Their names are Joel and Virgina. They are an awesome couple who are not yet married but have the plans to get married this year. We knelt with Joel to end the lesson and he prayed. He gave thanks that God had answered their many prayers in looking for light and guidance in the hard times that they were passing through. That night Elder Martinez his testimony with us about how that lesson changed his entire attitude about his mission. He said that he was feeling like going home (something that i can definitely relate too) but the lesson that we had, seeing the effect that the spirit has on people, and seeing a couple accept a baptismal date during the first visit, changed his whole outlook on the mission. He said that he had prayed the night before and asked God to give him strength and then it came the very next day.
As I looked at him I couldn't help but think back onto the experience that I myself had one year ago. I entered the mission and it was a total shock to me. I love you all with all of my heart and it was just a shock to realize that you weren't right there where we could talk and I could give you a hug or get reassurance. It was like you weren't with me and that it would be quite a while before it would be that way again. I too went through the same struggle Elder Martinez experienced and, I too received the answer to my prayers. These shared experiences only strengthened my testimony that God loves each and every one of His children the same. And He knows just how important this work is. He knows what a great missionary Elder Martinez is going to be and He knows how to comfort us exactly when we need Him. He is there to help us be where we need to be and become who we need to become. I love my Father in Heaven. I know He loves me -- and each and every one of us. That love is eternal and perfect and I am so thankful for that.
The rest of our week has been filled with trying to find new people. It has been an exciting and challenging thing to train a new missionary. A lot of times I have felt like I just cant do it. I get scared that I am not going to be able to train him the way that God wants me to. I am afraid that I am going to screw it up and be a complete failure and ruin everything. You know . . . just thinking things that satan wants me to think. But when I get those thoughts the phrase keeps entering into my head, "fear is not faith." And it has made me want to have a stronger faith in Lord Jesus Christ and in His atoning sacrifice for us. It has been a challenging week, but also an incredible week. I am so thankful for the atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that he knows what I have been going through and I am so thankful that His merciful hand has been there to give me strength and help me through this.
Angel and Mary are doing great. Angel keeps coming to church and he talks about the warm feeling that he feels every time he is in church. We were talking to him about that yesterday and it hit both of us that we needed to talk about the spirit and the confirmation after the baptism bestowing the Holy Ghost. We need to tell him how he will feel that same way after his baptism. It was a great lesson and I could see that the spirit really touched Angel. He is going to go on vacation this week and I am hoping that is exactly what he needs. We are hoping and praying that when he gets back he will be ready to take that next step.
Rafael came to church once again. That is now three Sundays in a row and we are so pumped for him. He is reading the Book of Mormon to know if its true and he told us he wants to know for sure this time. He is not going to let this opportunity slip through his fingers.
I told you that we were in a trio. But they put Elder Bailey with us too. Elder Bailey one of my best friends in the mission. He was my comp in Aruba. So it has been a great blessing. We are all in the same ward. This ward used to have 10 missionaries but has only had two for a long time. When the members saw that there were four missionaries serving now they were all pumped up. There was an energy and an excitement in the church that wasn't there before. It was awesome!
Anyways, it has been a great week and I want to thank you for all that you guys do for me! I love you all so much! I can feel all of your love and your prayers and I know that I am getting strength from that support so, thank you so much! I hope you know that I love you all and I am praying for you too. If I could write you all letters and emails I would. But I hope you know that one day I will make it up to you all.
I hope that you all have a great week! Mckay and Dad, good luck with school! I hope the tests go well!
Before I go I'll tell you a funny story. On Saturday we were talking to people on the street. We came to one house and there was a family there. We called from the street and they told us that we could come in if we could get past the dog. "Look out!" they said, "he bites." I thought they were just joking around and, being the brave guy that I am, I went for it. The dog started chasing me. It was awesome! He didn't leave the yard. I yelled thanks and kept moving on. They were all laughing and I got a good chuckle out of it too. But the best part was that Elder Martinez had run across the street. The traffic was flowing like mid-day Saturday traffic and he got across the street in like two seconds. I have no idea how it happened, but it was really funny. One second he was there, and the next he was gone.
Anyways, hope you got a good laugh out of my dog story! Have a great week!