Hello to all,
Well, yesterday was the best Sunday of my mission, and I want to share it all, so I will try my best to be efficient and accurate in my explanations at the same time.
We have a family here that I have grown to love so much, that are less active. I have been fasting, praying, studying, teaching to their needs, doing everything I know to help them be active, prepare to go to the temple, magnify callings, etc. Claudio, the dad, would always tell me that he would go to church, but Sunday after Sunday I would sit there, devastated when the Family never would come. This last Thursday, we were teaching him, and he flat out told me, "Elder, I am tired of lying to you. We are not going this Sunday." It really hurt to hear it. I left so devastated, not knowing what more to do.
We got there on Saturday, and had planned on teaching him about the Doctrine of Christ. When I sat down, I felt the Spirit really strongly to talk about Captain Moroni. We sat down, and after the opening prayer, we went right in to talking about the attributes of Captain Moroni. He was a strong, powerful man. He worked hard for the well-being of his people (and for Claudio's situation, for his family). He was a strong man in the faith of Christ, and a great leader in his church and religion. We read that if we all were like Captain Moroni, the powers of hell would be shaken, and that the devil wouldn't have power over man. I asked him, quite frankly, "Hermano, would you like to become like Moroni?" and of course he said "si".
We read earlier in Alma 44 about how Captain Moroni became the man he was because of the "sacred support of his wife and children" and told him that he would never be like him without his family and their support.
We finished going to 1 Nephi 7:16-18 which talks about how Nephi was bound up tightly and stuck. I compared that to him spiritually, how at times we all fall into those bindings, and don't know what to do to get out of those bad habits, addictions, etc. Well, what did Nephi do? He prayed. He asked that the Lord would free him from the binding. And what happened? The bounds were loosed. Nephi, essentially, became free. He released all the bad things that held him back, and became one of the greatest and most obedient followers of Christ to have ever lived. I looked up and just expressed my love for Claudio and his family. For the first time in any lesson in my entire mission, I started to cry when I told him that it really hurts me to not see them in church, and in that moment, I came to realize how much pure love I really do feel for him. The Spirit was so strong. He also expressed his love and committed for church.
This story has a great ending. Sunday, right as sacrament meeting was about to start, Claudio and the whole family came walking through the front doors. I felt such a love for them, and for the tender mercies that the Lord always shows us. I came to learn something that a great missionary once taught me: "We don't discourage members, we encourage them to become great leaders and members." I know without a doubt that we can all become like the great scriptures heroes and leaders, if we just have faith and take that faith to action. I came to learn that great lesson this Sunday, and am thankful for the knowledge that the Lord has trusted in me.
Quick update, Carlos, has officially stopped smoking, and even though he has passed through many trials and temptations, he is preparing to be married to his wife who was super inactive, and be baptized this Saturday. The following Saturday, we are looking to have to more people to be baptized. The Lord is blessing us so much here that I can't even explain. A month ago, there was 25 people at church, and yesterday, there were 57. I had to stand for a while because there wasn't enough room in the chapel. I honestly can say that "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me."
Thanks for all the support from home, next week I will send pictures I promise! Keep us in your prayers, its going to be another great week!
Until next week,