I have three weeks of weeks left. That's a scary thought. I've already had my last conference in the mission, my last Christmas, my last New Year's, Valentine's, St. Patrick's and April Fool's days. In two weeks I'll have passed my last Mother's day as well. Things are coming to a close. It's almost like I got hit in the face by a board of the dimensions in the Subject line. There're also only two months left before President Gulbrandsen goes home. I still have no idea if I'm going to be staying in the south and become part of the new mission or will head back north to finish out my service. Things are becoming even more uncertain for me. But there are a few certainties that will never change.
God loves me. He loves you. He has a plan for us to be together eternally. As long as we always strive with all the energy we posess (spelling?) we will be able to take part in the wonderful gift of the Atonement, receive Mercy, and be welcomed into our Father's kingdom.
This week, we have not been as "successful" as we would have hoped, but we are working with a few new people and hope that soon we will be able to enjoy the full benefits of a branch here in Tolhuin. Luis has recently been interviewed to be ordained to the office of Elder and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and will be ordained next Sunday. With that, we will have two Melchizedek Priesthood holders here aside from the missionaries, which as far as I understand it, is just enough to organize a branch of the church: four Melchizedek Priesthood holders, with the missionaries counting as part of the four. If I'm wrong, meh, it won't change the fact that we're still trying to find more men and families to share the joy with. We want to be able to take people to the temple. Perhaps we won't see it, but that is the goal that we want to leave in the people's minds.
We have also been told that the Area offices have approved a budget for a rent here in town for a meeting house. The property guys will be coming either this week or next week to look for a suitable place, but that means that now we won't have to meet in people's homes! I'm still not sure as to when the rent will start, there is still the whole process of paperwork and contracting and negotiating and all that that I became very familiar with while I was the housing coordinator, but the area continues to grow.
AND!!!! We had three young women come to church this last week that haven't come in almost two months, perhaps more! AND!!! Two of them have given us referrals to contact and are talking with people. The young men and young women have chatted a little bit at school, although I don't think they had much communication between themselves before the boys were baptized.
Sadly, another two families are moving though. Antonela has almost officially moved to Rio Grande, since she's super involved in politics. She's still leaving the house for us to use for church until we have the rent, but I haven't seen here in a little more than a month now. And Francisco has been transferred to Rio Grande as well, at least for work. He wants to work there during the week and return here for the weekends, but it's something that he still isn't sure about.
So, life moves on. I also have recently come to appreciate the Sacrament and the covenant renewal that we make through it each week. I made the comparison to one of the young women that when we are baptized, it's like we sign a contract, promising to be called in the name of Christ, remember Him, and keep His commandment, and He in turn promises us His Spirit. This contract we have expires each week, so in order to maintain the contract current, and to keep the Spirit with us, we need to partake of the Sacrament, which is the weekly renewal of the contract. It helped here to understand better, and at the same time, it helped me as well. Having worked a little more with contracts now, I understand a little more the gravity of a contract. And it also puts a little more perspective on covenants. The consequences for not fulfilling our part of a contract is spelled out within the same, and can include fines, jail time, or other punishments.
With a covenant, the disobedience is rewarded with eternal punishments. Whatever disobedience is met with an equal punishment, reminiscent of the first law of motion. However, no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. Any sin, no matter how small, already condemns us to live without God's presence eternally. However, a Mediator or Lawer has been provided for our defense. If we have tried sincerely to put off our natural instincts and become holy (something extremely hard in these days, though not impossible) mercy will be extended and we will be permitted into God's presence, there to live forever more.
I love you all! See you in two weeks!! (by Skype, not in person...)