I have a bit more time this week so I can give a quick recap on the past two weeks! And boy have they been great! As usual!
I was super humbled 2 weeks ago...we were with a family in the ward who lives in an invasion. Not sure if that is a thing in English?? It is just out in the middle of nowhere, with no source of light, water, or electricity. We had Family Home Evening there and got there around 8ish. PITCH BLACK. We could not see anything! We found our way through the dense beam of our little tiny Nokia cellphone that I think is old enough to have been used by Nephi...but we made it! That's all that matters. And I was hit with such a feeling of peace. Which was so, so confusing. We were sitting around a candlelit table, dripping in sweat, fighting of the millions of mosquitoes...but all I felt was peace. I felt so joyous and grateful. I guess that is how the gospel works though, right? No matter where we are in this life...no matter how hot...how hard...how many mosquitoes there are...a small candle, the scriptures, and a Christ-centered family can make peace in moments and places that we didn't think were possible for peace to dwell.
Last Sunday I ate baby lamb. I felt really guilty. I was sad...I could not get the picture of a cute little baby lamb frollicking through the woodland lands out of my mind...but it was really good! So I was okay with it ;)
We had a movie night too this past week! It was SWEET! We invited every single person we came in contact with. Quite a few people showed up. We watched "Meet the Mormons". It was such a neat experience to see the reactions of the people. They had absolutely NO idea that we are normal people! That movie is definitely a blessing...and it helped us gain quite a few new investigators.
Last week some ward members from one of my old wards came to visit me in Duran! It was awesome to see them! It was really interesting because Elder C and I had been talking about prayer so much. The power that prayer brings. When the family came to visit me we all had lunch together and talked about...PRAYER. How powerful it is and how open and submissive God is to our cries to Him. Then we had Family Night with the J family...and the Hermana put on a talk from the April General Conference...about prayer. I had quite a moment of reflection...and I took it as something I need to work on. Perhaps prayer is something that we often take for granted. Let us all realize the power and gift of prayer that our Father has given us. Let us never forget this sacred privilege.
Elder C had his birthday this past week which was cool too. Quite a few cakes!!
We had a conference in Guayaquil earlier on in the week. I got to sit by my friend!!
One of the assistants came to our sector the other day to work in our area for a day which was really cool. So it was Elder S, Elder C, me, and we had 3 ward missionaries! 6 Elders decked out in white shirts and ties was SICK! So grateful for the members of the church who are so willing to help the missionaries...no matter how hot it is or what they have going on in the day. Some of the biggest studs and most faithful testimonies I have ever come across.
It was kinda funny...we were with one of the members named Junior. We were visiting a family who has a dog name Junior too! The owner of the dog said, "JUNIOR!! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! GET OUT!"
I don't think Junior...member Junior...knew that the dogs name was Junior too...he got really sad. Haha! We all had a good laugh because he thought the owner of the dog was talking to him. But we resolved the misunderstanding! ;)
Well...I have officially been out a year. It feels really really weird. I honestly feel like I just barely gave my mom and dad one last hug. Kissed my sister on the cheek one last time. And popped my little brothers back one more time. Time sure has flown by. I burned a shirt! It caught fire so so fast. I burnt my hand!! haha! I guess it was symbolism of how fast the mission goes by...I hope to give it my all for the second half! The second half wins a football game and I hope the second year of my mission wins the happiness of as many people possible!
Today was awesome! I met up with Elder Johnson and we headed to Guayaquil! We went to a light house and hiked to the very tippy top! We ate lunch...and just had a good time! Super awesome to see the homie and talk for a bit!
I was hit really hard with such an incredible lesson. So many times we talk about and read about miracles. An ancient prophet parted a sea, Alma and Amulek were delivered unharmed from the prison, Nephite missionaries worked miracles abong the Lamanites, and the brother of Jared parted a mountain. "And God has not ceased to be a God of miracles". -Mormon 9:15
Now if we think of the fountain where all miracles flow from it would be our Savior and His atoning sacrifice. The grandest miracle we have is the salvation of our souls through a blood stained garden, a cross on calvary, and an empty tomb.
"...remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that He cometh to redeem the world."
THE MIRACLE IS THE REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD. YOUR REDEMPTION.
"...the Lord surely should come to redeem His people, but He should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins."
THE LORD AFFECTS THIS MIRACLE BY REDEEMING ALL MEN FROM THEIR SINS.
"And He hath power given unto Him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance;...which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls."
WE EXPERIENCE THE GRANDEST MIRACLE OF REDEMPTION THROUGH REPENTANCE.
Repentance needs to be considered as a "mighty miracle". 2 Nephi 27:23 teaches us; "For behold, I am God, and I am a God of miracles; and I will manifest unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever;..."
I testify that God is a God of miracles. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will work miracles yesterday, today, and forever. We have the capacity to experience this "mighty miracle" of repentance. TODAY. FOREVER.
Those who feel lost in sin...YOU ARE NOT LOST. You simply need to put to action the "mighty miracle" of repentance. I promise that as you do so your joy in the Heavens will be unimaginable and the angles will rejoice in your name (Luke 17).
The Lord suffered...fell on His face...and did so more that once. I strongly believe He did so and it was necessary because He knew we would fall more than once. It does not matter how many times we have fallen. How many sins we have committed. What we have done. Or the voice from satan in your mind telling you that you can't be forgiven...
There is always hope. Always forgiveness. Always a miracle.
We just have to give the miracle the power to redeem our souls through repentance.
Love you all so much! Talk next week!! :)
We were talking to one of the sweet families one day - sharing a picture back and forth...when I realized that Elder Noll was actually there with them. Here are the pictures that were shared with us :)