Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013 - "Here Is Hope"

Hola Mi Familia! Well, this week has been quite a week. The weeks seem like they are just flying by! It is really crazy! I haven't felt them go this fast before. We are at the half way point of transfers; completed week 3, 3 more to go! The weather has been a little more tolerable. It has cooled down a tad bit and will stay like this for another week or so. It is still hot, but bearable. This week a young man from our ward left for the mission. He is going to Veracruz, Mexico. In Mexico, they like to make everything a party and so they had a going away devotional basically to set him apart. We were able to take an investigator, with us who is a family friend of this guy that left. They had a little devotional and the family members bore testimony and then they set him apart. It was kind of weird because in the states it is just like the family and that is it. But here they had the family and the whole ward there to watch him get set apart. So whatever! Seeing the goodbyes and setting apart brought back TONS of memories and was quite a special time for me to reflect on what happened a year ago and how far I have come since then. It was weird for everyone to tell this young man, "see you in 2015!", and it seems like really a long time away. But really, the mission is super fast and the time goes by like water running through your hands! You really just have to enjoy every single day! We seem to be in a bit of a crisis! We are beginning to feel like there aren't a whole lot of people to visit and that at times we have been left with nothing to do. We have thought about "opening the area" which would mean like we would basically just start from scratch and try and find people to teach. But the Lord has given us quite a bit of miracles this week that has really helped us along and have given us more people, little by little. The lady and her son....were able to come to church yesterday and so we had 2 baptisms yesterday! It was so nice! When the Zone Leaders came to do interviews, the one that interviewed the lady and was very impressed at all that she knew and her testimony and how she has grown and all. It was neat. She really has changed quite a bit. We went from thinking that she wasn’t interested at all in the beginning and wasn't really committed, but when she received her answer to her prayer that it was true, she just took off and has been making amazing progress since then! She really is quite a miracle. Both of them asked that I perform the ordinance and I felt privileged. The service was really nice and, once again barely any members came quite just made me hurt, because we announced it in church and all. Not even the Bishop came! But it was still nice. I was thinking while filling the font, the importance of what we were doing. I thought to myself that we were participating in saving ordinances for 2 special people. Saving ordinances that would be used not only for his life, but for the eternity and they have a far great eternal significance. How great is that! I hope that they will remain firm and stay strong in the Gospel. The Family we are teaching seem to be getting off to good progress! We had 2 really neat lessons with them this week. The first, they invited us to eat with them and after the lesson we talked about faith in Jesus Christ and how Faith without works or actions is dead and how faith moves us to act. We then, watched "Finding Faith in Christ" which always just hits the spot! I always love watching this video! It is so powerful and I especially love all the miracles of Christ is shows. I think they were really touched by it as well and asked to keep it. The daughter recently got into a relationship and one day her boyfriend was over while we taught them and he became really interested, so we are now teaching him, as well. At this lesson we committed them to put their faith and trust in Christ and join us at church Sunday! And they did! We passed by their house at 7:30AM which made me have to get up even early than my normal 5:45AM Sunday schedule. We were really worried because the sister had told us that she isn't very social and that they don't adapt to changes well and would only commit to baptism if they felt comfortable in the church. We were nervous and hoping that she would really like the church. While there a ton of members greeted them which made them feel good I think. Half the members didn't even know that they were investigators because they were all dressed up in skirts and Sunday clothes! So we seem to be making good progress with them and hopefully we can get them in the water! This week, the Bishop asked us to speak in church. I was overjoyed with the topics he presented to us: The Death and Resurrection of Christ and The Blessing that come from His death and resurrection. I chose to speak on the death and resurrection. The bishop only gave us one day to prepare which stressed me out, but I thoroughly enjoyed preparing this talk. I was able to just immerse myself into the scriptures and to learn and know, like never before, of Christ's final moments of His life. I was able to reflect much on the Atonement and the meaning it has for us. I think that we can know the Atonement, but will never be able to fully understand it. My testimony grew tremendously in just a few hours while preparing this talk. I really took myself with Christ; I was there in the upper room when he instituted the sacrament and later announced that one of His own apostles would betray him. I was there as He when to the Mount of Olives and told his Apostles to wait as he left to go pray. I was there as prayed to His Father in Heaven asking VOLUNTARILY to feel all the sins of the world, asking that He could live every single one of our lives in that instant. I was there as he was betrayed, tried, and later beaten and mocked. I was there as He hung on the cross and wept as He felt the presence of His own Father in Heaven leave Him, just so he could complete His Atonement and know how it feels to feel abandoned completely (Elder Holland gives a fantastic talk on this: "None Were With Him"). I was there as He found Mary weeping and told her that He has been resurrected. I could feel like I was there! I can't even put into words, or describe how it was to be able to prepare this talk. It impacted me so much. I am so very grateful for my Savior and Redeemer and for all that He did for me. He even lived my life and felt how I feel when I feel alone or depressed or saddened or upset or far from God. Although I can't fully comprehend what He did and why, I am grateful for it. I know that through Him we can find hope and peace in any and all trails that come our way. No matter how big or small, Jesus "doesn't just make up the difference, He makes ALL the difference". I hope that this Easter we can really reflect on all of this and what this means to us and how it has changed us. I hope that we will read in the Bible His family moments and that we will take a trip and experience those moments with him. I know HE LIVES! Well, I hope you all have just a blast with Grandma and Papa this week and in your little mountain cabin.... :l .....I hope Easter goes well and that you all can reflect on its real meaning. I love and miss you all tons! ¡Yo sé que vive mi Señor! I know that My Redeemer LIVES! Con Mucho Amor, Elder Joyner

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