Sunday, May 20, 2012

"A Month of Weeks" 4/30/12

My Dearest Family,
I've done a bit of figuring and counting out.  On Wednesday this week I will complete exactly 31 weeks since entering the MTC on the 28th of September last year.  On Saturday the 28th, I completed seven months in the mission.  Yesterday, the 29th, I completed five months in Argentina.  The time keeps seeming to fly by and yet at the same time, it doesn't.  I think time itself is a paradox, expecially when thinking of the eternal scheme of things.  I'm reminded of how the days of men were prolonged (2 Nephi something) and the comparison that one day to God is one thousand of our years (somewhere else in the scriptures, Old Testament I believe, but I'm not sure).  Once we pass on to the other side of the veil and are able to look back on our lives, I'm sure it will finally seem to be just one small insignificant, and yet entirely significant, moment in our existence.  We are told that when we appear before the judgement bar of God we will have a full recognition of all our guilt and sins.  Right now, I can't remember everything I've done, but sometimes I cringe to think of having that perfect (complte) knowledge and memory of every last tiny detail of my life all in the span of an instant before my eyes.  Thinking about that, I am so grateful for the wonderful gift and miracle of forgiveness.  It is something that I never understood before, and I'm not even sure I really understand it now, but the fact that we have the opportunity through the Atonement and perfection of Christ to repent and change ourselves is a miracle to me.  I never read the book by that title in it's entirety (written by Spencer W. Kimball) but I look forward to reading it when I return from my mission.
In the experiences that I have been able to witness and participate in in the last little while, I have truly been able to gain a testimony of this work, the Holy Ghost and his workings, and the receptiveness that so many have to the Spirit.  A few weeks ago I mentioned that it had been one of the worst weeks in my mission.  I think I can now explain to you all a little more about what happened.
Recently after Elder Tidei left and Elder Verges arrived in the area, we hadn't exactly been getting along.  Elder Verges was a little more... exhuberant in the service than Elder Tidei and was always talking about baptism.  I have shared with you in the last few weeks the things that I have learned since then, but when he first got here, I wasn't fully in agreement with everything he wanted to do.  But we moved on.  Within that first week, we had a district meeting in which we discussed the progress (or lack thereof) of many of the investigators in the district.  In order to be able to help as many of God's children as possible by bring them to a knowledge of the gospel and a firm hope of being able to return and live again in His presence, we need to be finding and teaching those who in this moment want to be able to make those steps.  Something that we have received much guidance on is that if someone is not progressing and keeping their commitments to read the scriptures, pray, and come to church, then there is nothing more that we can do to help them.  If they chose not to progress, we cannot force them, but that also means that we can't visit them as much anymore, if at all.  We explained this to a family of five (the parents and three girls, 21, 19, and 13)whom we had been visiting various times each week for several weeks, and the experience went a little foul in my mind.  There was a misunderstanding, feelings were hurt, and I felt awful.  I feared that the one member of that family who is a member of the church (the 19 year old) would then go inactive and completely refuse to have anything to do with us.
Time passed between then and now.  We saw her at church, and within a week, she at least had no ill feelings that she displayed towards us, and she even accepted the invitation to accompany us to a few appointments and shared her testimony of the gospel.  She invited us to lunch (Lunches are the thing here, not dinners) and that was the only time in the last three weeks that we went to their house.
Now the news--On Saturday afternoon, just after lunch, this member called us and said that both of her sisters wanted to be baptized.  ... ... ... My mind stopped, and I think for a few seconds my heart did too.  I wasn't sure if I believed it or not.  I wasn't sure if I had understood correctly, as if my in-brain translator had a malfunction.  But no, I had heard correctly.  So we went directly to their house to find out, "Why the sudden change?"  They, the sisters, related an experience that they had had which made them really think about their salvation.  In an effort to make sure that they didn't want to just be baptized then leave everything behind, we tailored one of the lessons to talk about the importance and meaning of baptism--what it entails and all that.  They understood fully well and said they were ready and wanted to be baptized.  ... ... ... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know if that explains how I feel.  Let me say it again !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ok, I think that might do it.  I was indecisive about shouting, jumping, or crying.  So I did a bit of all three. I had been working so much with that family and it broke my heart when the whole misunderstanding happened.  With the requirement to come to church at least three times (to get to know the congregation and bishop, the meetings, and visa-versa) the older of the sisters has to wait until the 13th of May, but the younger sister had already come to church the required number of times.  She was baptized yesterday, and asked me to be the one to perform the ordinance.  I don't know when I'll be able to send pictures next because I haven't yet baught my own card reader, but the moment I get one, I have several pictures to send you all.
On the rest of the front, the three boys who were baptized last week were confirmed yesterday and are well on their way to becoming faithful members.  We originally had two other baptisms scheduled for yesterday, but we had to postpone them until Saturday, and now we don't even know if one of them will be able to participate in the ordinance because of her father and boyfriend/husband (not married, some-what separated, and have a daughter).  There are also several other people whom we are teaching with regularity and are progressing well towards baptism.  More news on them will follow as more things happen.
Tests and trials continue to happen, but things are moving along and the pace is becoming faster than I think I actually like at this point.  I am fast approaching the 1/3 mark of the mission, and not long after that comes the half, three-quarter, and end mark.  There was a saying in the MTC that has become more and more true.  The days feel like weeks, and the weeks feel like days. My modification would be that both feel like days.
Dad mentioned to me that the Temple here will officially be rededicated in September.  !!!  I hope that I'll be able to work things out and be able to go, but all that depends on President, seeing as the Temple is technically out of mission boundaries.
I love you all with all my heart.  Without ceasing, I mention all of you in my prayers.  The work is true.  Even if some don't recognize it at first, many once they have had a taste of the Spirit develop a craving for the peace that he provides.  I love the Lord and I thank Him daily for the grace He provides after all we can do.  When the storms that we face seem to be ready to drown us in our ship, may we cry unto God, that through His power, we can hear the words "Peace, be still."
I look forward to being able to speak with you soon!
Elder Dewsnup

No comments:

Post a Comment