In one week with my new Mexican companion I learned more Spanish than all my time in the MTC and with Elder Goates. His name's Elder Lopez, he's from the D.F. en Mexico, and his family moved to Provo when he was in the mission. So I guess that's where he's going to go back to after he's done. He has 21 months out in the field. At the beginning of the week he would tell me a lot of stories, but I never understood anything! But now we can communicate basically normally. Pretty cool because now I can talk with real Mexicans!
He said he came on his mission without a testimony, and hadn't read the Book of Mormon. He just came because his girlfriend made him. But after a couple transfers he got a testimony of his own and started working hard. Then after a year in the mission his girlfriend got married. But he stayed out. Elder Goates was a super hard worker, but Elder Lopez KILLS him. He's our district leader, and is always working hard. President told me if he would have worked hard his whole mission he would have been AP for sure. But I'm glad he's not cause he's teaching me a ton.
We got to go to Culiacàn on Friday for Elder Holland which was pretty cool. But seriously, it was super frustrating to not be able to see our investigators for 3 straight days. Plus today, because it's P-day. It was cool to shake his hand too. He said when he shakes the hands of missionaries he can look them in the eye and tell how they're doing, and he said our mission is the best he's seen in years, in terms of how the missionaries are feeling. Unfortunately that doesn't mean we're getting baptisms!
All Elder Holland talked about is keeping us active after our missions. He said how can we count on the flock to stay active if we can't count on the shepherds. I'll bring my notes with me next week. I got a TON of good quotes and stuff. haha He kept saying stupid, which is like the worst swear word here because he didn't know it was bad, haha it was super funny. And he kept saying that as missionaries we are apostles, and that the word Elder is significa of a special witness, and that the Quorum of the twelve uses that title because, besides president for the prophets, its the most important calling in the church. And that the only difference between him and missionaries is that he has keys we don't have, and that we give all day everyday to the work, he gets to go to Jazz games and stuff.
He also talked a lot about Sister Monson. And how she never once complained about how her husband would drag her all over the world, and how he goes into hospitals to give a friend or family a blessing, then gets asked by basically the whole hospital for blessings, and forgets that she's out in the car waiting for 5 or 6 hours! He said he called him right when he heard, and that President Monson wouldn't talk about himself or accept his pity, and instead asked where he was going, and said "Tell the missionaries in Culiacan that I love them and wish I could be with them right now." Elder Holland said that President Monson would go to the hospital all the time and sit in the room when she was sick in a coma, and just talk with her, and cry with her and laugh with her, even though she didn't know he was there, and that he's super super bummed and we need to all pray for him to have strength to get through it. Kinda weird to think that he's a real person with real feelings huh.
The last thing he talked about is his typical missionary talk about why this is so hard, not just the mission but living as a strong member of this church. And he said that "Any joy or freedom that we feel from the church had to go through Gethsamane and the cross on Calvary to get to us." Those occasions weren't easy for Jesus, so why should we think in turn that this would be easy for us to live the gospel, to stay in the church, and to keep a family in the church. And that we owe it to Christ to at least bring him one convert, so he doesn't have to worry about us. And that we don't have the right to damage the image of the church for his grandchildren by not living the gospel in all things. And forever we will have the title "Returned Missionary" We can't get away from that.
I swear down here you're just sick all the time.. You kind of learn to love it! Last night was the first night I've gotten more than 5 hours of sleep since Thursday, and I feel like I'm running out of energy, but a talk by Henry B Eyring keeps jumping in my head. He reads the last 2 verses D&C 107, where it says we have to work in all diligence, never being lazy or slothful. And that when his body begs for rest he gives himself this rallying cry "Remember Him" he says "Christ showed us a powerful example in what he did in his 3 days in the spirit world before his resurrection" His work here was complete but he was determined to keep going. He said "this is something I consider whenever I feel I have done some hard task in his service" It's crazy how hard this work is, And I definitely have asked for an easier way, but its nice to remember that I'm not the first person to ask that, Christ did a long time ago. And for him there wasn't an easier way, so for us there can't be an easy way either. I find that when Im tired, or our investigators frustrate us, or we feel like giving up, when we remember him and push onward, we receive the most blessings, and are able to bless the lives of our investigators the most. It says in DyC that if we put on the whole armor of God we will be protected from those fiery darts of the adversary. I picture that like a bulletproof vest. When you get shot with a vest on it hurts like heck, but you don't die. Thats how it is with the Gospel, when we are wearing the the full armor of god, those fiery darts from satan can hurt us, can push us to our limits, but they can not break us. Thats a promise from the lord.
This week was great! loved every part of it!
Hope everythings going well at home! Tell Mommer thanks for her letter!
Love Elder Lund