It sounds like all is well in good old Rocklin!!! Everything sounds about normal :) I think about you all often as well. There is so much that reminds me of all of you. Mom, I am jealous about you going to see Les Mis again :) I LOVE that play. It not only is awesome but it teaches us so much. It teaches us so much about redemption and change. That is really what life is all about. I have seen it in my own life and in the life of those that I have taught here. Good old Sunsplash! That will be a fun summer job for you Rilo, enjoy it!! Z man is finishing up 7th grade. How exciting. I remember those days like they were yesterday :) That's awesome about Nathan's mission call!!!! I truly know that the Lord sends us exactly where we need to go. Similarly, I have had some people express to me that it must be lame to serve in such a normal place like Arizona. I truly have never seen it that way. The work of the Lord is really the same in all parts of the world. The joy and struggles of missionary work are present in all parts of the world. The Lord needs his servants in all places, and an apostle of the Lord has a revelatory experience when assigning each call, that knowledge is so important.
I miss your BBQ Ribs dad :(
I hit my 8 MONTH MARK TODAY!!!! That is 1/3 of my mission. It is insane to think about. It has flown by. I literally cannot believe it.
Summer has finally settled in here in the desert. It is HOT. Thankfully Nogales is cooler than Tucson :)
I ran into my first group of illegals this week haha. We ride our bikes through a tunnel (under an overpass) to get to church. I always wondered when I would see some people in there. This week we did. They got really scared of us for a second. They thought we were the Border Patrol. It was kind of funny, we talked to them for a min, and gave them our water bottles. It is a very interesting social dynamic here.
As for the work here in Nogales, I feel like a broken record haha. The work has been busy and full of little miracles as always. We are doing everything we can to help these people progress. Sometimes it feels like an impossible task, there are setbacks and frustrations every week, BUT over and over again I have seen how the Lord is with us and helps us. This is HIS work. It is not ours.
I have grown to love the people we are teaching so much. It kills me sometimes when they have a hard time seeing and feeling how the Lord wants to help them.
R, one of our investigators is still doing ok. We met with him almost every day this week. He loves Elder G and I and we have been able to teach him alot. He understands so much and he has alot of faith. The big puzzle is trying to help him to use his faith to find his own answer. He is facing lots of crazy things in life, and I think that he is afraid that God will give him an answer that he doesn't want. We are going to keep pressing forward with helping him. We are going to switch things up this week and try some different approaches.
I taught District meeting this week on following the promptings of the Spirit. This is SO important. There is always ways we can improve in this area as missionaries. I have come to learn how it truly is a still small voice. The slightest distractions can stray us from his voice. Many times he leads us without us even knowing.
I went on an exchange this week with the other Elders in my district. Elder S came to our area. Elder S is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met. We had an awesome exchange. He is an amazing teacher and is great at spanish. We had some really cool experiences on Thur. We picked a street to tract, and it turned out to be exactly the place we needed to go. It amazes me every day how the Lord puts us in the right place at the right time. About 5 doors in we met this woman who eventually told us that she was baptized into our church a LONG time ago, but that she had strayed far away. She truly was a lost sheep. She happened to be at her elderly father's house helping him out that day. It was one of the most emotional doorstep lessons I have ever had. She opened up about all the things that she was facing in life. I could see in her, that she was lost in this world. It is amazing to me how we can love someone that we don't know so fast. Elder S asked her what she remembered about how she felt at her baptism. All she said was on word: Hope. How true that is. We testified and taught her about how that hope can be reclaimed. That is the miracle about the gospel. We can return to the hope we have lost. She lives in Tucson, and so we set her up with the right information of how to get back involved in the church there. What a miracle! We were able to tell her as we left that we truly know that we were meant to talk to her that day. She said that she needed us at this time. The Lord truly guides our steps, we have to be willing and worthy to be his instrument.
Elder S and I also taught I again this week. It was quite an experience teaching him. I have NEVER met someone who is more prepared to receive this gospel than him. Everything that came out of his mouth was straight our of Preach my Gospel. I think my jaw hit the floor. We set up a plan with him about how he is going to find an answer, HIS answer about this church. We set a baptismal date with him for the 29th of June. One story that he told us was that 2 weeks before he met his friend S at a work conference (who told him all about the church) he felt lost in this world. He didn't know where to go. He told us that when Christ came to the earth, he truly revolutionized and changed the world. He prayed that day that Christ would come into his life and change his life. Not a coincidence that 2 weeks later he met S. We invited him to church and thought for sure that he would come. On Sun. he unfortunately didn't. Then we got a text from S who said he is really struggling. Those are the worst texts in the world to get. We are going to go over tonight and check on him. I still know that he will be baptized. I can feel it. We will find out more tonight.
The rest of the work is going well. We are teaching lots which is wonderful. C was sick this week, but we have alot of things set up for her this week as well. The work rolls on! We have lots of meetings in Tucson this coming week, so we have to plan really well with the time we do have. I have a trainer meeting on tue and a district leader meeting on fri.
In church this week, I smiled alot. This gospel is such a joyful message. Even if our investigators don't come to church, or life is tough, or things don't go exactly how we planned, we have so much to be joyful about!! We should be the happiest people in the world.
I have been reflecting alot in this last week about how much I have learned. I cannot express in words how much the Lord has taught me here in just the last month. I have been stretched and pushed past as a follower of Christ past things that I never could have imagined. Life has a way of doing that. That is why we are here. There is so much about missionary work that is not sure, but I have come to see that as long as the Lord is leading us, the right things will happen. I have not had as much success so far as I would like to see, but I have always felt like I have given it my all. I have received confirmation over and over again that the Lord is pleased when we just do our best, and keep trying. I know that is the same for all of us. I love you all so much. The way that I have made it here is because of each of you that are reading this. I cannot express how grateful I am for you. I am doing well. I never want to get transferred from here :) The work is so good here. I love you all so much. Until next Monday!
your son, brother, friend.
I need to give a shout out to Lia Savage. My most faithful letter writer on my mission so far. Give her tons of hi fives for me.