Monday, December 9, 2013

November 25, 2013 Reasons for Giving Thanks

Alright, I´ve got maybe 15 minutes. Life around here is CrAzY. But crazy good.

I´m attaching the photos from Adrianna´s and Gabrielly´s baptisms last Sunday. They were both confirmed this Sunday and are extremely well-integrated in the ward. Gabi´s receiving the new member lessons with Bianca, her new young women´s president, and Adrianna went with us and Daniel (the pastor) to a Family History Center activity last night that was pretty sweet. First time in my mission I´ve seen family history be taken advantage of, and it was a good experience for sure. 

Walking home from that activity with Daniel gave me another 50 reasons or so to be grateful to be a missionary. Daniel is unbelievably committed and converted to the restored gospel. I talked to President and we´re going to mark a meeting with Daniel so that we can use him to the fullest as a huge missionary tool in the region. He´s invited LOADS of people to his baptism this Sunday and has already read through The Book of Mormon 6 times, Doctrine and Covenants once, and the priesthood/relief society "presidents of the church" manuals from Joseph Smith to George Albert Smith. That´s what a photographic memory can do for you I suppose. I´m still kinda speechless with regards to the man. It´s one of those stories that you read about in the Ensign but think something like that will never happen to you. I can only repeat, God is so, so good to His missionaries and his elects. We even went out on splits yesterday with Daniel and he´s not even a member yet :) Pretty sweet.

I guess I´ll continue going in reverse chronological order and talk about the mission conference we had with President on Monday. He showed a video that I loved and has given me much more motivation to be an optimist. The video starts out with a parking attendant that smiles at each driver and pays them a compliment. Soon the whole city is going to his parking garage just to hear him praise everything about them. Along comes a girl that he can´t get to smile. He tries everything--flowers, all sorts of compliments, walking her dog--but she won´t smile. So he gives up and stops smiling and stops giving out compliments. One day at an amusement park a couple asks him to take a picture for them. He tells them their smiles are fake and starts complimenting them to get a real smile for the picture. Then he sees a woman in a wheel chair and compliments her and gets her to smile. And the cycle starts up again. By chance he meets up with the only girl he couldn´t get to smile and finds out she´s working as a camera woman--one of the best because of her ability to make people smile and the sincerity of her compliments. He asked her what changed and she said one day her mom came home in a wheelchair saying that after years of a lifelong disease and never smiling and never having been complimented, a young man came up to her at an amusement park and gave her a reason to smile. It helped me see our infinite potential to influence people for good. We really have no idea the impact we´re having when we do missionary work to the best of our ability. Take Daniel for example--I´m sure he´ll be the instrument in the Lord´s hands in bringing dozens of people to the Church that I might never meet. That´s just the way God works.

Sunday--sacrament meeting was lined up for loads of investigators but 90 percent fell through. I was a little bit bummed about that but had no reason to be after fast and testimony meeting got over. So many recent converts (Ricardo, Sheila, Igor, Alzira (Kevin´s mom who came back to activity when he was baptized) bore their testimonies and left me pretty much on the edge of tears. Baptismal services are always super special, but neater for me is seeing conversion in the form of one of your former investigators getting up and telling a congregation of new-found friends that they know the Church to be the only true church on the face of the earth because of the miraculous difference it´s made in their life. It was a really, really special Sunday for me because of that.

Thanksgiving!! President and Sister Perrotti invited us over for a Thanksgiving lunch that was amazing. I´m not sure how or where but they got cranberry juice and pumpkin pie. SCORE :) It was good to be able to take a little breather for a sec. These past weeks have been way way busy. That is in no way whatsoever a complaint though :) Busy is good. 

Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme: a HUGE thank you for everyone who´s been keeping my mailbox (and inbox) full lately. I got a stream of cards last week from Grandma Julie and the cousins, Grandma and Grandpa Sears, Sister Shell (jr. and Sr.), Alyssa, and all the missionary moms at la Parilla. You guys made my week!! Thank you so much for that :)

Gotta run, but know that I love you. I apologize I won´t be able to get off individual emails this week. I read all of them though, rest assured, and hopefully next week will be a little more "tranquilo." How I love you!

Elder Sears

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