It is a strength to always here from you! Thanks for you sacrifice in writing me every week and having your thoughts directed in my behalf daily. I can feel everyone´s strength.
The past week was a great one. We had several experiences and meetings that made it a singular week indeed.
Elder Falabella visited from the seventy this week and we had a meeting with him. He talked about several ways in which we could improve the work. I really loved what he taught about retention of the converts. He talked about getting them involved in the two types of missionary work: the earthy and the vicarious work. He said that as they would become involved in the work, the missionary spirit would affirm their testimonies and provide further experiences upon which they could be sustained in the future.
He also stressed the importance of our service. The mission in general is service, but even as is, it isn´t enough. We need to be aware of service opportunities. I was affected by this and I am trying to improve in this regard. As Christ taught, we must serve if we want to be great in the eyes of God. Furthermore, Elder Falabella taught us how we could better plan to help the investigators. He said setting goals and making plans was extremely important. He compared our work with the work of God and then asked us whether God had a plan…He definitely does. How could our Father in Heaven bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (a very big goal indeed) without a very detailed plan. I need to improve in that regard as well.
This week marked the end of the drought of baptisms! Hooray! I was getting a little discouraged without any…but so it ended. Paola was baptized on Saturday and it was very nice. She is a very enthusiastic woman who is always ready to serve us. Literally, she gives us food every time we visit with her! Whether it is soda and cookies, sandwiches, or something else we always leave the lessons with full stomachs and full hearts. She is great! She is the sister of a recent convert and we are continuing to teach her other siblings with hopes that they too can accept the gospel.
We also had a great experience this week with an old investigator. Elder Menendez and I had taught a Catholic family several months back but in the confusion of changes, in both our companionship and their family (the daughter gave birth), we had stopped teaching them. About a week ago, a sister in the ward told us that she had talked with the family and they we interested in having us pass by again. My companion and I were a little sceptical having already visited the family and having left the last lesson with a less than comfortable atmosphere. However, after much contemplation and prayer, we decided to go back and see the family and I am very glad that we did.
We talked about many of their doubts such as the Virgin Mary, etc and when we left the lesson the spirit was there. They committed to come to church Sunday and when the day came, they came too! I was a little bit shocked and very humbled- I had been wrong in my judgement of the family and I was happy to be wrong. When we passed by later Sunday night and were welcomed in, I too was humbled. We visited with the leaders of the Branch so they could meet them and establish a friendship and trust and I am very excited about the progress. One of the major points that Elder Falabella talked about was baptizing families and in that small little house we are teaching two! I hope that God will continue to open their hearts to our message and that He will guide us in our words and thoughts so that they can understand.
This week has given me much strength and I pray that I can always be in tune with the spirit so that I do not my will but the will of my Father in Heaven. I know that God loves all of His children and that He prepares the way for them so that when they come in contact with the church, they can accept the message if they have an open heart. The family said that 5 years ago everything had changed and that when we had knocked on the door 3 months ago, we were the first ones they had permitted to enter. They were prepared for our message. What a blessing it is to be involved in the work of the Lord! I know He guides us! May He always guide you wherever you may be and I know He will lead you to higher heights. No matter what you have seen before, no matter how many spiritual experiences you have had, there is much more to see and experience. The vista is always better from higher ground. Go there!
In the sacred name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Grant Russell
PS I don't have my package in hand yet but I am pretty sure that it arrived in the office a few weeks ago. The office missionaries haven´t given it to me is the problem. I expect that this is the week…ha ha. I hope. For future reference, it takes probably around 4-6 weeks for me to get my package in my belonging (unless I get lucky with the timing). I don't know what you will send in future packages, but if you plan on sending any “perishable items” you will know what kinds you can send…ha ha.
Could you give me the address of Brynt Ross?
Pojo got his mission call? Where to?