I hope you like my creative titles :-) This morning before personal study I was finally able to finish my letter home, so after I print some pictures off at Walmart I will go ahead and send it off for you guys. I'm sorry I am not able to write more often, but I hope you all know that I am still thinking about you very much!
I had a strange experience yesterday when we got the mail. Both my companion and I tend to get so caught up in the work that we go days, or even a week at a time, without actually checking the mail but it is always fun when we do. I got a letter from Elder Radford, Tawny, Harrison, Aurora, Mat, Michelle, and Brenna lately and all of them culminated to make me realize just how much the rest of the world is still moving along while I am on my mission. Brenna's letter was shorter then usual because she is moving into her own appt and just finished the semester, Elder Radford talked about how much the YSA is changing with new people and others leaving, Harrison is old enough to date and is already a ladies man, Tawny is graduating and I got an invite to her open house, Aurora is rocking it in school, Mat is almost ready to send his papers into Utah and is doing amazing in YSA, Michelle is already looking at grad schools, other friends are preparing to send their mission papers in, and another friend is giving up and running away to Mexico. It felt weird realizing that when I get back things are going to be different in so many ways, and some friends and family will not even live there anymore. I feel good with most of the changes though and am so glad that you all are doing so well!
Random side note- Some members that had us over for dinner said they are related to the Radfords so I spent a good amount of time bragging about what good missionaries they are!
Now I want to tell you guys about an incredible experience I had this week! Tawny quoted President Uchtdorf saying to "expect a miracle every day" which is something that I have been saying to everyone so I am glad he backs me up. I don't have near enough time to tell you all the miracles I get to see and be part of, but one in particular stands out to me this week. Last week I talked a little about the Chavez family and how they have started coming to church, so now I want to expand on that story and tell you what else has happened with this wonderful family.
Sister Chavez grew up in the church but has not attended since she moved out, and brother Chavez was baptized 5-6 years ago but has not attended since then. Most of their kids had already been baptized during their brief days of activity, but since then they have been attending a Catholic church instead. When we first knocked on their door they were very nice but during our first lesson with them, 1 1/2 months ago, they let us know that our church isn't true and that it is evil to follow a man, the prophet. Through the weeks of teaching them, many times several times a week, they rapidly had a change of heart and through prayer and study each of them realized that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints holds the Restored Gospel and they were excited to come back to church. This week their oldest son who is 15 received the priesthood and was ordained to the office of a Teacher. The greatest part is that his dad, who just weeks ago was basically anti, was the one who ordained him and gave him the priesthood through the laying on of hands with us in the circle. He is an extremely humble man and said he did not feel worthy to be part of the ordination, but after much prayer thankfully accepted the offer. As he spoke in the blessing I felt the spirit enter and the priesthood power filled the room, and despite my best efforts not to, I had tears streaming down my cheeks. By the end of the blessing I was not the only one with tear stained cheeks and I knew that this family was quickly becoming an eternal unit in our Father in Heavens Kingdom. This Saturday we are holding the baptism of their younger daughter, the only one that is old enough to be baptised who has not yet.
This is such an incredible work and a wonder and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. There is no question that it is through this gospel of Jesus Christ that our Heavenly Father's children receive joy in this life and the life to come. If there is anyone within the sound of my voice or within this letters reach who is living below their potential blessings please pray and ask for help to receive those blessings. Heavenly Father has so many blessings that He wants to give us, and that are available to our families, and many times it is such small changes that allow us to receive those. Why would we decide to live such that our families are not as happy as they could be and lose the power and comfort that comes from obedience to Him commandments? We choose how happy we will be, so I pray that each of you will choose to feel the indescribable happiness and joy that comes from taking true advantage of the atonement and striving to be more like our Savior.
My love and prayers,
PS. My companion got hurt because of me... It was 8:30 so we were not allowed to start another lesson, but at the same time it feels weird to get back to our apartment that early, so we decided to shoot some baskets for a couple minutes. Playing in the dark and in church shoes are both bad ideas though, and my companion still cant walk well because his ankle is so bad :-(