Anyhow, this week for about three days we were with another missionary, Elder Vargas. The other three missionaries from here in Lago Agrio left for Quito for a bit for meetings and various other sundries. So it was a weird three days but we got along fine. It's nuts how dangerous the roads here can be. There are "derrumbes" (um, landslides I think) all the time and the roads have been fairly un-navigable. Those other missionaries were stuck on a bus for almost an entire day. But they got back safely, phew.
This week we've been blessed with a load of new people to teach! 12 new investigators in total, three new families! 12 is the standard of excellence so I'm pretty darn happy. Statistically speaking, there's got to be a baptism among ONE of the people we've found at the very least...
One awesome experience we had with new investigators was a family we found that was super Catholic. As such they didn't want to believe in practically anything we said and wanted proofs in the Bible. But we went along, reading from the Book of Mormon and the Bible, answering their questions, and finally we got to a point where the investigator said, "Ok, then, show me in the Bible where it says that Joseph Smith was a prophet and I'll be baptized." But of course we explained it doesn't work like that. We got him, essentially, to the point where he HAD to read the Book of Mormon or he'd never know. We shouldn't contend with people but I do think we need to get them to that point. Pres. Benson says we all at some point hit the wall of faith and there we have to make our stand. I think our job as missionaries should often be just get people to that wall.
And one last experience - this week we got assigned a new family - a family we know well, in fact, because they give us lunch on Tuesday. They've been drifting away for a while now and the branch president (another Elder, remember?) finally decided to declare them officially "less-actives." My companion felt pretty sad because he partly considered it his fault, but I reassured him telling him there was still time. "For me there isn't," he responded. He's finishing in two weeks.
But you know what, there's always time! One thing I've learned is that the most important decisions are often made in a small moment. I like Pres. Hinckley's story of when he was on his mission. There was a moment when he just decided to make the decision to give it all up to the Lord. There's always time to change, and the real danger is never making the decision! The point is that it's never too late. There's nothing the Atonement can't heal. One of my very favorite talks is called "You Can Do It Now!" by Elder Uchtdorf. Here's how he illustrates this:
When I was young, falling and getting up seemed to be one and the same motion. Over the years, however, I have come to the unsettling conclusion that the laws of physics have changed—and not to my advantage.
Not long ago I was skiing with my 12-year-old grandson. We were enjoying our time together when I hit an icy spot and ended up making a glorious crash landing on a steep slope.
I tried every trick to stand up, but I couldn’t—I had fallen, and I couldn’t get up.
I felt fine physically, but my ego was a bit bruised. So I made sure that my helmet and goggles were in place, since I much preferred that other skiers not recognize me. I could imagine myself sitting there helplessly as they skied by elegantly, shouting a cheery, “Hello, Brother Uchtdorf!”
I began to wonder what it would take to rescue me. That was when my grandson came to my side. I told him what had happened, but he didn’t seem very interested in my explanations of why I couldn’t get up. He looked me in the eyes, reached out, took my hand, and in a firm tone said, “Opa, you can do it now!”
Instantly, I stood.
I am still shaking my head over this. What had seemed impossible only a moment before immediately became a reality because a 12-year-old boy reached out to me and said, “You can do it now!” To me, it was an infusion of confidence, enthusiasm, and strength.
Brethren, there may be times in our lives when rising up and continuing on may seem beyond our own ability. That day on a snow-covered slope, I learned something. Even when we think we cannot rise up, there is still hope. And sometimes we just need someone to look us in the eyes, take our hand, and say, “You can do it now!”
If there's ever something you feel you need to change, just remember...you can do it now! There is nothing in your life that can't be erased or repaired by the Atonement!
Special shout-out goes to Zach and Nick who returned from their missions...holy cow, I can't believe it. I may not have e-mailed you guys like at all but I care! Les quiero mucho! No se olvidarán de su español...
|Thank goodness no imminent flooding.|
|Pretentious pic of a flower.|
|A smoothie place. I had guanabana. Um look it up on Google. I'm not sure how to explain it. But it was delicious.|