This week was a good week. While we were'nt able to get many lessons, we were able to do a lot of service and have been able to do a lot of work to set up things for this next week. And the lessons we did have were great lessons. We were able to teach Salvador, a part-member investigator, and we had a powerful lesson about Baptism and the Sacrament. He can't be Baptized because he's on probabtion, but we made sure he knew that our purpose was to help him prepare to be baptized and to keep him in a state of preparedness even while he's on probation, so that the moment he's off he can be baptized. I really realized the power of inviting people to Sacrament meeting, to partake of the Sacrament, as opposed to just inviting them to Church. As we explained the Sacrament, what it is, and what it means, and how he could show the Lord his willingness to follow Him and be baptized by partaking of the Sacrament, it really seemed to change Salvador; he seemed more willing to actually come to Church, because he usually committs and then doesn't come. He still didn't come this Sunday unfortunately, but I feel like there was head-way made, that he's slowly seeing more and more of the importance of coming and will slowly increase his desires to come, especially with his wife (the member) and his family. We also had a lesson with Andres (who we found the week before). He's friends with a less-active in the Branch, Jesse, and we tried to set up a lesson with him there, but it didn't work out, so we just ended up setting a lesson with Andres. Then we show up and Jesse happened to be there!! We were super excited, and it was a great lesson where we were able to teach Andres the Restoration, and Jesse shared his testimony and experiences with the Church, how he came to know it was true. It was a great experience for both of them I believe. We also invited Andres to be baptized and he said he would, he just realizes that it's a large step of Faith and he's kind-of scared, but we promised we'd explain baptism and address his concerns more in depth in our next lesson together, tonight. Unfortunately, while he wanted to come to Church this Sunday we didn't realize he needed a ride until during Sacrament meeting Jesse texted us telling us that he wanted to come, but didn't have a ride. But now we know and both him and Jesse are planning on coming next Sunday!! We're super excited for him!!
Like I said, we also were able to do a lot of service. We helped a family, the Hernandez family, who are awesome investigators of the hermanas. We were (actually, are...) helping them clean their house, which really, really, really, really needes it. We cleaned on Tues, Wed, and Thurs. during the day while we were there. And, well, y'all probably guessed what was going on during our cleaning by the title of the e-mail... There were (are...) cockroaches every where. I'm not one to get super grossed out by bugs and stuff, but the house was pretty bad. And the cockroaches were horrible. There was tons of them; for example we cleaned out the kitchen one day and took everything out of the cupboards and everything and started cleaning. Cockroaches started coming out of places and so we got the Raid to spray them. We also figured they might be coming out of the cracks between the cupboards, where the front panels meet, but there's still a space that you can only see from on top, so we sprayed down there. Then a whole army of cockroaches stared pouring out of those. And there's many similar stories to be told. We've made a lot of progress, but there's still a lot to do. We are going to try to get it done (well, done enough, it won't be done until it's knocked down and rebuilt...) tomorrow afternoon with almost all the missionaries in Napa helping.
Well that's most of what has happened this week, but I also wanted to talk a little about something that came to my head while reading my Mom's e-mail to me this week. She talked about the story of Ammon and King Lamoni meeting Lamoni's father and how it was the demonstration of Ammon's love to Lamoni that softened Lamoni's father's heart. I want to just bear my testimony to y'all that Love, especially the pure Love of Christ that we call Charity, is central and key to missionary work of any kind, and thus I would say, any work of any kind in the Church. As a missionary I've realized that it's only when I truely have Charity towards investigators, members, and toward people in general that missionary work goes smoothly and naturally. It's the same, and maybe especially true, in member missionary work. If you don't have love sharing the Gospel is hard, it's awkward, and it oftentimes doesn't go anywhere. But if we share it out of love, it softens hearts, it makes an impact and it changes lives, sometimes even though people don't accept the Gospel because they felt the Love of the Savior more in their lives. And I feel like it's true with all aspects of Church life and all callings. If we do what we do because it's what the calling requires, then it may be good, and it will get done, but it doesn't have the same penetrating, effective, life-changing power that it does when we do it out of, and full of, love and Charity. As I've looked back recently I can see the evidence of this in my own life and in the past 10 months of my mission, and I can testify of it's veracity. I commit to striving more fully to act out of love and Charity in all things starting now, and invite all of y'all to join me in this committment, knowing that we will become more like the Savior and feel more of His love in our lives as we strive to do so.
I love all of y'all and leave you until next week!