Well, first to tell you about my week, which was a good week. We were able to pick up two new investigators, Jorge and Jose, who both seem to be very interested. This was on Wed. night after Zone Conference, which was a miracle because we were inside from 10-4 with our Zone Conference and basically only had the time after dinner to proselyte.
We also were able to begin teaching Salvador two times a week. He is starting to keep commitments! We're very excited for him because he and his family are struggling right now and we know that as he reads, prays, and comes to Sacrament Meeting he will begin to receive blessings, will notice that and will grow and strengthen a testimony. We met with him Thursday and read the first twelve verses of the Book of Mormon with him and invited him to finish the chapter. On Saturday he told us that he "only read a little" and then said that he read to chapter 5! And we gave him the large print Book of Mormon and he really seemed excited! And on Thursday we had asked him if he was praying and he said no, but we committed him to pray and promised that it would help him with his difficulties, and on Saturday he said that he had been praying and that it's been helping him. The only thing that he hasn't been doing is coming to Sacrament Meeting. The past couple weeks we've invited him and he's said yes, but he told us today that he hasn't wanted to come without his wife (a less-active recent convert) because he doesn't want further discord between them, but we promised him that as he set the example and came things would be better, that he would receive help from the Lord. He couldn't come yesterday because there was someone that needed his help to fix a toilet, but he promised to come the next Sunday, and we're going to keep inviting him and keep helping him do what he needs to do to receive the peace and happiness of the Gospel even though he can't be baptized right now.
Well, I also wanted to talk a little about the past year as well. Although I didn't quite have the reaction the title infers, I was caught a bit off-guard. As many of you know, having served missions, time is a big deal out here. You only have so much time to be on a mission, so much time in an area, so much time in a transfer and so on. Time is precious out here. And some missionaries dread being reminded how long they've been on a mission, thus reminding how long until they're not any more. Although I'm not quite of that type, I wasn't really paying attention to how close I was to this pretty big milestone (typical of me right? Oblivious to what's going on around me (: ) I hadn't really quite realized, even until now that I've been called and set apart as a missionary for a year now starting yesterday. It snuck up on me. And it didn't help that I got a package with a lot of candies and such to remind me all about it! :) But as I've had the chance to think back on this past year I can tell you it's been a pretty long, hard, and rough road. But I've learned so much, and been able to refine myself a lot.
Oftentimes people say that they "change so much" on their mission. I chose the word refine for a reason. I, the person I am, the deepest sense of the word "me", haven't changed. Through the refining power of the Atonement I've been able to remove some parts of me that didn't meet the exceptionally high expectations that our Father in Heaven has for me. I've changed many actions, and ways of thinking, but I haven't changed. That's something I realized at some point, I'm not exactly sure when, that "we" don't need to change in order to become what Christ wants us to be, even as missionaries. I sometimes tried to hard to change "me" and it didn't work. But we become who Christ wants us to be only through utilizing the Atonement of Christ to slowly chip out the "natural man", sometimes so slow it's difficult to realize we're even making progress.
I want to testify to all of you that I know that Christ lives. I know He loves us. He loves us enough to forgive us of our sins. He is ever there for whatever we need, he is only a few words, a prayer, away. He called a prophet in 1820 to restore His Authority to enable mankind to access His Atonement through the performance of Ordinances like Baptism and all the other ordinances that have been revealed to us in these Latter Days. I know that He talks to His Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and also to all the leaders of His Church in all of their respective positions. I also know that He can talk to each of us in our individual lives if we reach out to Him, and follow His commandments. And I also can testify of so much more, but I have not the time. I love y'all and hope y'all have a wonderful week!