Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18th, 2013 - HALFWAY.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! I am grateful this year for a few things:
1.The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ
2. That I am a missionary and representative of that Gospel
3. My family
4. Meals when I don't have to eat rice

Tomorrow marks 2 years since I was baptized into the church. Oh, happy day! The following day marks half my time here in Panama. Oh, sad day! Time flies-- up, up and away. 
This week was all together wonderful. The Bishop of the ward where we're serving had asked us to rescue 5 families from inactivity. He gave us names, without addresses or phone numbers. We set out to find them, and did our best to ask around and get information from other members. No one knew who these people were, where they lived, or how to find them. Determined, especially after new goals that President Carmack put on us, we began in one neighborhood, and searched. After saying a small, sincere prayer, we took off down one street. I told Hna Rios, "Here. This house." We knocked the door, and a man came to greet us. We made some small talk and asked him if we could share a message with him. He agreed to listen. As we taught, I felt to ask him if he had come to our church before. "Yes. We haven't been in a year." I followed by asking "When were you baptized?" "A year ago." "What's your last name?" "Ayarsa." It was one of the families!! He directed us to one other person on the list, and we visited the next inactive family. And that family pointed us to the next family, who gave us the phone number to the next. Within 3 days we had found the 5 families. Yesterday ALL of them came to church, including Family Ayarsa with their 8 year  old son who is preparing to be baptized! President Carmack was very inspired with the goals he put on the mission. I'm glad we followed his counsel in faith, and acted upon our promptings. 
Saturday we went to the temple to support our ward, which was another suggestion given by President Carmack. We helped the youth and recent converts in the baptistry. Guess who went! Rodrigo! It was so amazing to see him in all white, performing sacred ordinances in the house of our Lord. 
Sunday was a beautiful Sabbath. On top of seeing all of those families, I looked up at the front of the chapel to see Rodrigo sitting, ready to bless the Sacrament. After church he ditched us to do his home teaching, and I had never been so happy to be left behind! He makes us proud. 
We also helped a family do their first fast. They have been members for 3 years, sealed in the temple, and have had callings all their time in the church. But they've just never observed the law of the fast. We explained the importance of fasting to them, and helped them understand why we fast. We helped them begin their fast, and when they finished, they had a renewed hope. I know that family will see the miracles they need. Faith is unbelievable. Haha, get it? Sorry...

I heard an inspired prayer this week.
"Padre, guíanos hacia tu camino. Por favor, te pedimos que nos ayudes a correr en el camino que has puesto." I was really impacted by those words. I then began asking my Heavenly Father if we are really expected to run. He gave my answer through the Joseph Smith book I am currently reading: "Joseph Smith said he did not care how fast we run in the path of virtue. Resist evil, and there is no danger." - Eliza Snow. So it's not that we're running FROM something in this path of life, it's that we're running TOWARDS our destination. 

Well, folks. Eat everything american for me this week! I will be tearing up the streets of Arraijan, building up the Kingdom. I love you all!