Mi Querido Familia
I want to begin this letter by thanking everyone of you for your prayers, your emails, your stories of life back home, and your love that I can feel every day. It makes a difference and for that I am thankful.
This week was hard. We had amazing success in some areas, and hardly any success in others. But I always picture life and especially my mission like a roller coaster. If a roller coaster was flat and only went straight, would it be any fun? If you don't like roller coasters this probably won't make sense, but no it wouldn't!! When life is full of ups and downs is when you have the most fun. And maybe you'll learn something along the way. But with my new companion, everything is great. We get along. And every lesson is up beat, and spiritual. He is an amazing example to me and I learn from him everyday.
I see something new everyday and every day I think that it couldn't get more weird or more funny but daily I am proven wrong. First I would like to talk about the duendes. I'm not sure the exact translation because my dictionary says ´imp´ but its more like elf. The people here are a bit supersticious (forgive my spelling). And Elder Bel Tran, my comp, likes to use this to his advantage. He regularly asks people if they believe in duendes and most of them say yes. They say yes with fear in their eyes and a tremor in their voice. Apparently these duendes are super bad. They kidnap and hurt the children. They destroy your houses, eat your food, kill your pets, and they leave a bad spirit in your home. I laughed at first because I thought they were kidding but there are people here that are super scared of these elf creatures. Apparently they are about 3 feet tall and have short legs and a big head. Not sure exactly because I still haven't seen one.... Pretty sure I never will honestly. But its a real fear here. Maybe one day I'll believe.
Also, Mom this week I have a couple suggestions to help you with the kids. Here they wash their diapers... and use them over and over and over. Just a suggestion. You never know. It could work really really well. Oh but you have to air dry them. Also, you should look up songs in spanish to sing with the kids. The Pta. de Sociedad Socorro (Relief Society President) asked me to write songs in English for her students in her school and I think you should do the same with Ethan and Melanie. Just little songs like head shoulders knees and toes and things like that. Also learn how to make the food called pike macho. I think thats what its called. Its native to Cochabamba but its super delicious.
Brother Figgins I have to thank as well. And mom you'll have to make sure you tell him! Thanks for the magic tricks. The kids loooove them. And the parents love them even more! They are fascinated by the simplest tricks. Its great.
This week was not only filled with funny stories as always but it was filled with miracles. Miracles that could have only come from one place. The Spirit. This week I began to see the heart of a menos activo change just a little more. With Elder Chavez we would always ask this hermano to come with us to citas but he never wanted to. With time he would say yes every once in a while, and now he wants to go with us, and after a lesson he asks us ´Where to next?´ Its amazing to see how powerful the spirit is and how wonderful and sweet the fruits of the spirit are.
We also had a lesson with a father who has had a hard time returing to chuch after a negative experience with another member and bishop. He pleaded for our help and neither I nor my companion knew what to say. After what felt like hours of silence I thought of the scripture in Moroni 7:45-48 about charity and love. We read it out loud together and tears slowly started to fill his eyes. He was quiet for a while and finally he said one word ´Gracias´ He was so thankful for this one scripture. He marked it in his Libro de Mormon and told us that it was exactly the answer he was looking for. Its so important to have the spirit with us at all times, not only to help ourselves with problems, but more improtantly to help other people with theirs.
My main invitation this week is for each one of you to read Matthew 4 and to focus in verses 1-11. This is the story of the fasting of Christ for 40 days, and afterward the temptations of Satan. This is such an amazing manifestation of the power of the Lord and the weakness of the devil. In verse 3 Satan tempts the Savior for the first time. And at first I thought that the temptation was to change to rock to bread. Yes that is one of the temptations, but not the first one. The first thing Satan says is ´If thou be the Son of God.´ This is the first temptation. He tells Christ and tempts Him to deny his sacred calling of the Son of God. Then he tries to hide it with a much smaller temptation. To change rock to bread. And again in verse 6 ´If thou be the Son of God´. Satan´s small temptations to change rock to bread and call upon angels were only there to try and disguse his end plan. To get Chirst to deny his calling as the Only Begotten of the Father. It is the same in our lives. We are daily tempted to act and think and do things against that which we know is right, but thats not the end goal of Satan. His only goal is to get us to distance ourself from God and in the end not live with our Heavenly Father for eternity. Every single temptation of the devil has the same purpose. To get us further away from Christ. For this reason our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come to Christ. Always remember that our goal in this life is to replace all our attributes of man with attributes of Christ and to go to Him. There is so much more we can learn from this story in Mateo 4 and I am going to contiune studying it more and more. Christ is our perfect example and we can learn so much from the scriptures.
I love you all so much. I am daily grateful for your prayers. I know God hears and answers every one of them. This week I learned that the Spirit is powerful. Jeffery R. Holland used the word proacative to describe the spirit. Because it motivates us to act. I have been moved by the spirit this week and I pray that I will contiune to learn from the promptings I recieve. The work is going forth and it is a beautiful thing to witness. I pray for you all every day. Hurrah for Israel!
Con gratitud y amor,
|How Im getting super jacked during my mission.|
A window that I replaced for service.
|This is me being a hunchback.|
The two kids are in the Family Sauna and they love getting their picture taken.
More of the kids.
And there is one with my comp Elder Bel Tran eating dinner with Flia Sauna.
The ones with all of us is after a Noche de Hogar that we had.