Well that was quite the list of changes that have happened in the last week! I feel like the world back home is at a stand still. It will be interesting to see how life back home really changed when the time comes…
Thanks to you all for your support! I love to hear from you and feel your prayers. You would be surprised the difficulties we face as missionaries but their is a consolation prize: the whole church is praying for you! I feel like we are at a breaking point in the mission. We are seeing historical steps toward what could be a very different future for the saints here in Nicaragua. We are talking about possible division of the mission, new mission president, a few new stakes and maybe even a temple announced here. It is a great time to be a missionary and an even better time to be a missionary here in Nicaragua.
I was talking with a missionary this week about how beautiful the mission is. I talked to him about his recent converts and baptisms, the wonderful spiritual experiences we have, and the opportunities to serve. Frequently, the stress and pace of the mission carry us like the tide: we don't realize that we are making progress until we see the surroundings. However, we try to enjoy the ride….find joy in the journey as President Monson counseled.
This week we were blessed in miraculous ways. Perhaps we had lost a little bit of the focus in our zone because with visiting general authorities and a future stake on the horizon we had put all of our efforts in the church attendance and retention. I had basically stopped teaching investigators and it was taking a toll on my spirits. It is hard not to teach as a missionary. But as we changed our focus, we have seen how the Lord has blessed us. We found more positive people this week than in all of last month. I think the Lord was holding off the blessings until He was sure that we were going to treat them well.
But the good experiences of finding new families always have their opposites. Several people who had previously shown interest began to reject the message. That is perhaps the saddest moment as a missionary: to drop an investigator. One woman, for example, is the mother of two recent converts. Even after reading a part of the Book of Mormon she decided that we had tricked her children and that if they had just been more careful when the kids received the missionaries, the daughter and son wouldn´t have “been lost”. That can be quite the sting to the ear and spirit.
But we have heard great news about the district. The mission president is happy and the area authorities are sending the papers to see if Matagalpa can become a stake. I have faith that the Lord will see these good people and want to bless them. But the work hasn´t stopped. There is much to do still.
I have felt a special missionary spirit enter my work this week. I feel more at home. I feel more comfortable. I want to be here. You couldn´t even ask me to leave right now. I still miss you all but when I think of the future of the church here and how many people I have to help still, I can´t even budge. I love the people here. There is a special place in my heart for them. In some ways, I have asked myself “Why was I sent here to this mission in this time?” Then I think of how I have changed and the people I have met and the skills I have learned and I know why.
I love the Lord. I know He lives. May His kingdom go forth unto every nation and into the hearts of every child.
Elder Grant Russell