We let me start off by saying that since the beginning of my mission I have lost 25 pounds and still counting! I weigh 205 right now and I am hoping to hit 200 by the end of this transfer!
Let me also put a quote up here of something that's really stuck out to me!
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today."
Detroit isn't turning me into a tree hugger haha, I just want you to take the quote and apply it as it stands out to you!
The Lord is blessing Elder Birch and I with little tender moments of success. Missionary work is NOT about the numbers of baptisms you get. Even as a member, it's not about how many people you get to convert. It's about what are you doing now to hasten the work. God has giving me much needed comfort this week in letting me know that I am serving him well. He also has let me know about more things I need to work on no that I am growing in the ways of God. That is exactly what God expects of us, not immediate perfection, but immediate progress.
Also, I got to attend to the Detroit Temple this last week and converse with the Lord about the concerns of my heart. What a rewarding experience the temple is, to be able to be in the presence of God and feel His love.
Now let me tell you about a rather intense experience I had this last week. So in our District we have three areas of missionaries and we all share one van. This week Elder Birch and I got to use the van. Because of this, when a mini blizzard came one night the elders in the South Area needed help with transportation to get to their lesson. When we came to the desired destination one of the elders (who is a new elder to this mission) said before opening the door. "Whoa, I just got a really bad feeling, something bad is about to happen." This comment was rather out of the blue and really strong for the light atmosphere we had around us. The elders then continued to their lesson appointment with caution. As we watched them slowly enter the door way I got a confirmation from the spirit that what the new elder had said was true. So I then told Elder Birch to stay parked and wait for the elders. We waited for 7 mins.... nothing happened... Then, the door opened again and out came the elders. I whistled at them to let them know we where still here. When they entered the car I could see that the new elder was on the edge of tears. I knew something bad happened. We came to find that the missionaries were met by their investigators with a priest from another religion sitting by them with different assortments of his doctrinal presentations. The elders were in a way booby trapped by there investigators who brought a priest to rebuke them. This of course can hurt a missionary when all we have is love for the people around us and we sincerely just desire to share with those who want to listen.
This experience really was effecting this new elder. So I felt the need to tell him something. I told him, "Elder, I have one thing to say, keep the passion, but don't let yourself think that that situation was your fault, because it wasn't. You did everything you were supposed to as a teacher. The problem was that those who don't want to learn, simply will not learn."
We cannot let our loving passion turn around back to us with feelings of blame. Jesus Christ himself could not get those that didn't want to learn, to follow Him. Even though He knew that his message was of infinite value and importance.
On another note, we were taken out to eat by a member outside of Detroit. He took us to Slow's BBQ (which apparently has been on the T.V. show Man Vs. Food) and he bought both Elder Birch and I a full slab of baby back ribs. They were amazing.... But the more important detail I wanted to say about our experience with this member is that after our food he went teaching with us and the reason he came out with us is because he also served a Spanish speaking mission and enjoys coming out with the Spanish Elders when he can. Let me tell you. There is no such thing as a lesson more powerful when you have a member with you to come share their testimony. Whether your testimony is powerful and mature or small and simple it matters not. For a investigator to see a "normal person" living the gospel really helps them to see how it can bless their life. I encourage you all to give some time this month to go out with the missionaries. It is our calling to hasten the work and spread the love of Christ as members of the church.
Let us not fear man nor his judgments but of God's, for he is over all.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God's church on the Earth again. His gospel has been restored in it's fullest and if any man would humbly search for himself if it be not true, he would see by the love and grace of God that it is true.
Te Quiero Mucho
P.S. I got to drive for the first time in 4 months, I felt like a 16 year old behind the wheel again.... not fun. And also I want all of you to know that I am working really hard to reply to all those who have sent me letters or packages! AND... sorry about all the awkward smiles in my pictures! I think I am going through an awkward smile stage or something...
Graffiti pics of the week
Slow's BBQ dinner!
Pictures of us at the temple!
(I'm crying because it's so cold outside my eyes have to cry so they don't freeze solid!)
Just posing for the camera
Is gas this cheap down in AZ?! What the heck, gas up here just gets lower and lower every day!
Me and Elder Birch ( we got the car this week!)
I did the Twinkie challenge which is 12 Twinkies in 10 mins or less... I don't recommend it...
And I did it in the nick of time..... yay...
What I looked like after I threw it all up...
We gathered together for Christmas eve and had a little party / devotional
Eating at Nuestra Familia