As I start one more letter, I must think about the week and sit back and take it all in. The experiences just keep on coming and if one doesn’t write them down, his memory fades and his experiences lose importance for him. I hope to be able to remember all that has happened this week.
This was my first official change week! It was grueling…long nights and early mornings all around. Monday the APs picked up the new missionaries and then we had to get everything ready for the training meeting. It was fun to see them and get to know them. Each and everyone had a desire to serve the Lord. They in many ways are examples to me of hard work and dedication. As financier we have to accommodate and provide lodging and such for all 22 of them. My wallet seemed like it had a hole in it ha ha. You wouldn’t believe how much 22 missionaries can eat. Poor lunch ladies at the MTC…bless their hearts.
Tuesday I had to do a small training about credit cards and money so that they knew what to do.
Wednesday was changes. We got the new missionaries out of our hands only to receive the missionaries that were finishing their mission. Thursday morning we drop them off and we had one that had to be at the airport at 4:30am. It was a pretty early morning…
Finally Thursday night things calmed down a bit after a day of phone calls and questions with the missionaries asking questions about their new areas. I felt like a really popular guy. We went to visit Karen and Fransisco who had planned to get married Friday. They were super excited and anxious to do so (which is a story by itself seeing as he didn’t want to talk to us the first three weeks in his house). They were married Friday evening and his countenance has changed a ton. He gave us a hug and couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. He loved the cake too!
Karen and Fransisco's wedding
The gospel is extremely powerful in changing the lives of God’s children. Daily I see repentance take effect. I see sinful lives meet loving arms and hearts are changed and healed. Elder Rodriguez, my new companion (even though he has been my roommate we hadn’t worked together before) told me that in the interview she said a sweet prayer thanking the Lord for helping her change. She said that she was happy that her husband had been able to change too and asked Him to continue to help change her husband so that he too could be baptized.
Friday night, we visited a less active member. The man couldn’t stop talking. Quite the joker, he took little of what we said literally because behind the cover up of jokes and laughter, I think we discovered pain, disappointment and struggle. He is a man who years ago was a faithful member of the church. Callings and church service for years marked his resume but his problem began when he was surprised by the newly established church in Nicaragua. He had seen “better” in Honduras and as a result wasn’t content with what he saw here. After listening for some time, we began to share the parable of the Lost Son. I think it was a perfect story for him. His talking ceased little by little and he began to listen intently. We felt guided by the spirit and we demonstrated a sincere love for the man. We brought to his attention certain story elements to apply them to his life. The part that says ,”But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him” came to my mind and I asked him how the father could have been able to have seen the son from a great way off. The point is that the father would have been watching eagerly and frequently to have spotted him from far away. I would venture to say that the Father never took His sight off his lost child from the moment he left the house.
Our Father in Heaven sees us wherever we are. He sees us in the good times and in the bad because his vision doesn’t fade nor does his focus blur. He knows we can come back but at the same time cannot come to get us. The Father didn’t go and look for his son but what He has done has provided the way back if we so choose it. He has sent His son to help us find our way back home. If we just repent our Father in Heaven says the same to us, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” He embraces us. He says welcome back.
I pray that we might have our vision on the house of our Father, that we might say to ourselves “let’s go home” when we are lost. To everyone that is lost there will come a certain thought, “And am no more worthy to be called thy son” but I testify that each and every one of us can feel accepted by Him again. He will let us know with a big hug that we were wrong. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Grant Russell