I just want to bear my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. Death is not a barrier to eternal happiness. Jesus makes all things possible, like it explains a bit in this 3 minute video: https://www.lds.org/youth/video/because-of-him?lang=eng. My heart and prayers are with the Shrack family.
All in the Family
A year and a week ago, I was writing to you after seeing my very first baptism in the mission. The man's name is Juan Luarca. He was 75.
Now he's 76, living in the same house, telling the same old stories, his hymnbook still kept neatly on the edge of his bed. It was a great privilege to be able to stop by and see him again, thanks to some exchanges we did with sisters in my first zone. Really, there aren't quite words for the joy you feel knowing someone you helped bring into the faith is still going strong.
But the biggest joy - and surprise - came when Hermano Juan learned where I'm serving now. He started describing a street close to the church, a family he knows... I pulled out my notebook and pencil, thinking he was going to give us a referral of someone to visit.
Turns out the family he mentioned are members. Turns out they're members I know, who invite us to eat with them, who accompany us to visit investigators. Turns out one of them is a 17-year-old girl who's the closest thing to a friend a missionary can have.
Turns out she's Hermano Juan's granddaughter!
I turned speechless.
I had no idea, a year ago, when we were struggling to help a rambling grandpa wash his sins away, that he was the grandpa of someone I would come to love.
It makes me realize that all our investigators are family. That everyone of them deserves to be taught with as much earnestness and effort as if they were our very own family. I love Hermano Juan, and I love his granddaughter. I love mission work, because it brings us all together.
Wanting to Go Home
This week I got to go on exchanges with a sister who's been here in the mission field for about two months, but who's really struggling. She's had moments in which she's been close to going home.
We all have a hard time at the beginning. I don't know why exactly it's been so much harder for her than the rest. She's a great missionary.
But something I do know is that we all have to do hard things in our life. Here in the mission, or away at home, we all, sooner or later, have to come face to face with the things that scare us. We have to change our personalities, or we can't enter into the kingdom of God. (See 3 Nephi 27:19, in the Book of Mormon).
I am of the opinion that every person, while in this earthly life, has to come to terms with who Jesus Christ is for him or her. I have been so blessed to do it here in the mission.
Don't get me wrong: I don't ever intend to stop getting to know my Savior. I won't stop doing hard things. But I feel like, here in the mission, I came head to head with a brick wall. I either had to turn away from it, or change myself to be able to climb over it.
In choosing the second choice, I became converted to the Jesus Christ and his gospel in a way that is impossible to forget. I feel like Lehi, the first Book of Mormon prophet, who said, ¨But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.¨ (" Nefi 1:15)
I pray that this missionary - and every one of us - will not shy away from the difficult challenges in this life. I pray that we will confide in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6), humble ourselves, and do what needs to be done to be faithful to God and his Beloved Son Jesus Christ.
Because of them, we are, and we have hope to forever be.
Be happy, be healthy, be honest.
Until next week,