Monday, July 18, 2016

This week, Eduardo got baptized, and it was amazing!!!

I'm glad I've been able to see the amazing transformation he has gone through, starting as a heavy smoker, and Bible-basher, and ending up as a member of the Church, with a testimony of all the things he has learned. It's really been a miracle.  I've seen the whole process with Eduardo, and how much he has changed. When we were getting ready before the baptism, I was kind of nervous, just because I know how important something like a baptism is for a person's life, but I felt so much peace and joy, telling me both he and I were ready for the baptism.  When I baptized him, I felt the power of my words so strongly, knowing I truly am commissioned of Jesus Christ, and that this is an incredible step for him! I'm doing well, and feel like I'm learning a lot from the people and situations.  And on the 30th, he will be baptizing his 15 year old son, Daniel, who has quickly grown interested in our lessons, and grown close to several of the youth in the branch. Eduardo's wife, Eliana has some doubts about the gospel, but she is receptive enough to listen to us, and agrees with many important principles we teach.  Hopefully, she will continue to listen to the lessons, and see what a change the gospel makes in her husband, and son's lives.

Something I've really been learning this week, and weeks prior, is that a mission is unlike any other spiritual experience out there.  I began, expecting it to be a place that would lift me up spiritually, such as church, the temple, or even a place like EFY.  Instead, I was kind of surprised (even though I shouldn't have been) to find that the external circumstances of my mission are no more special or spiritual than anywhere else. It is absolutely necessary to rely on the Lord in the field, because if you don't, you can't edify yourself or others spiritually.  I expected it to be easier to be happy as a missionary as well, but in fact, it is a lot easier to get discouraged as a missionary.  We have to deal with lots of rejection every day, and I've thought a lot about why its harder to stay optimistic here, than simply as a member. I have realized that it is because it requires trust in the Lord, more than ever, and when we work hard to be happy, it is so much more worth it. I am convinced that the special light missionaries carry with them is very much due to the fact that they work harder than ever to have it. I truly love being a missionary, because the happiness I'm able to recieve here is truly a gift from God. 

I hope everyone else had a great week! Talk to you again next week! 

-Elder Checketts

(From PJ's mom---as a side note...When I emailed PJ this week, I asked him if his new mission President & his wife speak much English, since they are from Santiago, Chile, and he said, "They actually don't know that much English. They know a couple of words, so they spoke to us completely in Spanish, but it's ok... they talk clearly, so I can understand everything they say. ;)"  And when I asked him about any foods that he misses & might like in a care package, he said, "For food, Nutella is always nice, and you can't find Cheez-its here, so I'd like that too! :) (Oh, and if you could mail some Chick-fil-a, that'd be great!) ;) lol

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