So Troy is officially a doctor now. Wow. That is SaWEET! Good work Brother! I wish I could have been there. You'll do great in the profession.
Sean, I hope you get better soon. I imagine that your school plans are falling into place and that you are getting ready for school. Good luck there.
Tyler, I hope everything is going well for you. I understand that you are busy with school and work but when you get a chance, send me and email so I can feel the stress too. Ha ha.
Mom and Dad, busy as ever. Thanks for all of your hard work and your examples. The Greenway project was a success and it is always good to get some publicity. The missionary work can go forward faster when people associate the good with the church.
So now about me...
This week was absolutely crazy. We had about a bajillion meetings in Managua and it takes 3 or 4 hours round trip every time we go there. I think we had more like 4 days to work this week instead of 7 if you subtract all of the hours. But we still had some great experiences.
We worked hard with two families this week to try and prepare them for baptism this last weekend. Both families (pairs) felt good about the doctrine but wanted more time. But missionaries don't accept that as a No. So we continued to give it our all.
Naturally, Satan gave it his all though too. We had some serious trials with the families. Carlos and Fatima have some pretty interesting family ties. I think they have about every religion possible in the extended family...Evangelicals, Catholics, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, etc. They have had quite the struggle with their family and even received some visits from them who came to save the family from our devil worship...yeah.
But like I always say these days, Challenges are good because it means we are doing the Lords work. We eventually challenged the family to pray about their decision to be baptized on Saturday. Carlos decided to be baptized and Fatima decided to wait a week. Although we were disappointed with the wait, we were extremely happy with Carlos and even more so because he was really excited.
Jose and Leticia proved to be a whole other story. They are a young couple, unmarried, and had many troubles finding their information to be married. When we finally got everything together, we had trouble finding a lawyer and we had little money to pay one. But the Lord always sees us through our trials. We found a lawyer who gave ex tremendous service and performed the wedding on Saturday. We had to travel by moto in the rain 30 minutes one way to marry them in the house of Leticia's sick mother so she could be a witness. We crammed 6 people into the moto (it is about the same size as the tiny European cars) and then, yeah. It was done. Then we headed for Managua to baptize Carlos, Leticia, and Jose.
The baptism went really well except for Jose became really doubtful and we had to comfort him that his decision was the right one. Really, he has never been one to make commitments and we were asking him to make a ton in a short period of time (marriage, baptism, etc). But he did it and it was a great experience.
I really felt the love of God as I was privileged to perform the baptisms. I love being able to say ´´having been commissioned by Jesus Christ´´. It feels so great and my joy is so full as I see Gods children enter the waters of baptism and accept the covenants, and blessings, He has in store for them.
So I had a really special experience at church yesterday too.
We had ward conference with the Stake Presidency and everything. I don't know if I have told you, but we work with basically two groups of people in our ward. Where we live, the Borgoña, they are trying to form a Branch and in Las Colinas they are trying to maintain a ward. The people in the Borgoña are very humble and don't even have money for the bus on a weekly basis and so they frequently don't attend the other meetings in the ward. To help this last week, the ward provided transportation to bring as many as possible to the meeting.
So as we arrived in the ward we (the members of the branch) took our seats in the back, most of us together. There had been some other members from the ward seated towards the front and I took my seat toward the back as well. We went around greeting the members and such and when I realized that one member and his family looked very solemn and sad, I began talking with them. It took some coaxing, but eventually they told me why. Pointing with his finger, he said ´´in front are seated those who have money...in the back are seated those who have nothing´´
As I realized this distinct division, I began to be filled with sadness! I became so emotional that I had to leave the room and stand outside. I began to weep. My companion followed me out to see what the matter was as well as the ward Mission leader. I told them it wasn't my problem, only it was the love of God within me that provoked such a response. I felt terrible seeing the monetary division that the members had created within themselves. This ward has had some problems with some of its members and pride. We have the greatest spectrum I have seen. We have doctors and utterly unemployed. It is almost as if the members in the Borgoña were treated as filth.
When one serves among a group of people, he develops love and charity for them. That is what I felt. It was so sad to see that this charity didn't exist in all the members...I was reminded of the vision of Enoch when he saw God weep and had the question as to how the heavens could weep. His response was that he had created all things and that to see His children acting wrongly gave Him great sorrow.
Truly, it is a great blessing to have this charity developing within me. I feel such a great love for the people I serve. I love all of you and if I could ask you one thing, it would be that you always treat your brothers and sisters with respect. We really are all brothers and sisters and we should never, NEVER look down on anyone. The Savior never did. He was a carpenter after all.
I love this gospel and I know it is the gospel of peace. I have seen it change lives and I know that it has changed mine. Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts in my behalf. Never forget to be missionaries. Until next week,
Elder Grant Russell