Hola amigos, primos, familia de todo tipo, y todos que me escuchan!
[Hello friends, cousins, all types of family and all who listen to me!]
How is everyone? I've finally gotten around to answering back some of the snail mail I've gotten, so if you wrote me I haven't forgotten you!!! Elder Scalise and I have finally started to find a good rhythm where we're being effective with most all of our time and not getting caught without appointments too often anymore.
The Cruz family's house is almost finished and through that work I think soon they'll be open to us teaching them. The dad had had a bad experience with Elders in the past but the spirit softens hearts and he really is just a good man who wants the best for his family so working with them, bit by bit, we've been able to really get to know them and their personal challenges and passions and goals and concerns. It's even allowed us to meet one of the local homeless men (well we've met pretty much all of them around here but they're not all interested in changing), who really hates being drunk so much and addicted to smoking as well. Well we've taught him a bit about the atonement before and the second time we saw him he proudly said that, starting that first day we talked, he went 4 days sober! He was so excited even as he took another swig of beer and I couldn't help but think of those kids in that marshmallow experiment.
(mom, you know what I'm talking about, could you put a link or something here? ^ thanks, love you!).
Anyway, even though we can't really consistently teach him like a normal investigator, it's powerful to feel what the spirit can do through us that we don't even think of sometimes. I love the people here so much and I'm so excited whenever I see them make progress toward becoming more happy by living in harmony with Christ's teachings!
Speaking of which, some people have been making lots of changes and nearing big steps...like Sergia Lobo-Vazquez! Jesus, Julia, and Eduardo's mom! We set a goal with her and now she's preparing to be baptized on December 5th! It has been so great to see her growth from seeing the light of Christ glowing so brightly in her children as they have accepted Jesus Christ's restored gospel, to now seeing her do the same (even stopping drinking coffee! Haha)!
We got transfer calls and Elder Scalise and I are staying here and so are all but one of the Sisters in 2nd ward (we're getting ANOTHER new missionary in our 8 missionary area, that's one every transfer since the one right before me just in case anyone's counting; more than half of us will have been out 6 months or less, crazy)! So we're spending Christmas here in Fort Walton Beach! (Aka, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones I USED to know..." haha)
Now this week's challenge comes from Elder Farnsworth (District Leader). He shared in one lesson where we were there (member's house for dinner) that a young men's leader of his once challenged their priests quorum to, the entire week of Thanksgiving, only say prayers of gratitude in all your personal prayers. That means only saying thanks for blessings, not asking for anything in your personal prayers all week. He said that he's done it every year since and you'll notice that by the end of your week you will be happier and your prayers will be more meaningful. Speaking of gratitude, if you want to go this extra mile this week, read in the Bible in the New Testament Matthew 20:1-16 the story of the workers and wages in the eleventh hour. Think about how each of those groups felt, how happy they were, how gratitude affected each of them, and how we sometimes do the same or are in the same situation as each set of workers then think of goals you can set based on what you learn! I'm excited to hear how it goes and/or what insights you gain! As always, be like Captain Moroni (he's the best!) as described in the Book of Mormon in Alma, chapter 48. Pay especial attention to the first line of verse 12!
I love you all so much and am so excited when I hear about things you've learned, talents you are developing, and ways that you are growing. Keep it up! And remember, you can tell me about it ;) even if it's later on cause I know this week'll be busy! The book is blue, the church is true, and I love all of you!
Your Man in the Field,