In times of change, we have opportunities to reflect. I was touched by your letter that talked about the change that the stake experienced and how the change will affect the wards and members in that part of Zion. About the comment that the visiting authority gave about the youth, I would just like to agree. I think about my friends back home and the examples they set for me. There couldn´t have been a more beautiful place for me to grow up. By their fruits you shall know them! It has been a humbling experience to see how my youth experiences have helped shaped me and prepared me to be an instrument here in Nicaragua. I have felt that many of my experiences in leadership and examples of worthy stake and ward leaders have a set a high goal for me of whom I want to become. Maybe that is why the people always seem to see something special in Oregon. When I say I am from Oregon to visiting general authorities, they always relax and give an awed expression like ¨´Aww Oregon, we love Oregon.´´ It has been kind of fun to say it and see the same response every time ha ha.
But now about Nicaragua. Everything is wonderful here. This week I also got sick with the changing climate. We had one super hot day followed by a cold rainy day and almost everyone in our zone of 16 missionaries got sick with fever and body cramps. But we all feel better now. There is nothing quite like a Priesthood blessing paired with ibuprofen and acetaminophen ha ha. We had a really special visit this week from four general authorities, Elder Osguthorpe (General Sunday School President), Elder Achoa (First Counselor in Young Mens General Presidency) Elder Duartes (Area Seventy) and Elder Falabella (first quorum of the seventy). It was a powerful stand in the church building. They began talking to us about several things pertaining the missionary work such as committing the investigators to do pray and also promise blessings. By the way, way to go mom with your missionary work this week. I am so proud of you. Just keep in touch with her and make sure she follows through with her promises. Where there is a necessity, there is an answer in the gospel. She is searching and can find all the blessings she desires through this message. Just don’t forget to follow through. I feel like a golf instructor all of the sudden ha ha.
Among other things, the most spiritual part of the conference was when Elder Falabella stood up to talk about how the success we had achieved here in Nicaragua in May by baptizing 105 families and 620 people was all due to the work of the missionaries and members together. He corrected us when we gave the credit to others. He made us say that we had achieved something great so that the Lord could make it known. It felt good to be in that meeting. He said that we were accomplishing things similar to the sons of Mosiah and that the Lord was very happy with us. He said we were among the best missions in the world.
This week has been a spiritual feast by which I have been able to grow. I feel like the mission is changing my way of thinking. When I had missionary experiences before the mission they were far and widespread and memorable. Now I feel like my capacity to share the gospel has increased but I give all the credit to the Lord. In the end, it is His message! I am so grateful to share it with a people that is so humble and so willing to change their lives. May we so do the same. If you only saw the faith of these people….you wouldn´t believe it.
Elder Grant Russell