This week has had it`s ups and downs, but we are working hard to find more people and help them get ready to be baptized. Last week and the beginning of this week gave us lots of hope for our investigators. We had a good amount that were progressing, and three that are able to get baptized really soon. However, one left on vacation for Peru, and won`t come back for several weeks, one fell through with her commitment to come to church, and the other didn`t answer his door when we went to visit him for his pre-planned baptismal interview. This left us a little disanimated Sunday afternoon, and as I refelcted back upon it, I realized, at least in part, what went wrong. I had been so sure that these people would get baptized immediately, because I had worked hard, helped them feel the Spirit, and simply wanted it to work out. However, it all seemed to fall apart the minute I thought it would function the way I planned, and the minute that I assumed we were having success because of our own labors. We recently watched a broadcast from the general authorities to all of the missionaries worldwide. Something that Elder Anderson said, I believe, really struck me. He said that baptisms are blessing from God. He explained that we can`t think of them as the fruit of our own labors, because they simply are not. The work of the Lord is just that... HIS work. If we believe that ANY of our success is thanks to anyone but Him, we are mistaken. In every part of our lives, God gives us blessings when He sees true efforts of our hearts. But we must remember that these blessings will not keep coming if we don`t keep relying on Him. That is simply the way a promise works. And promises of God are always fulfilled, as long as we stay humble, and remember the reason for such promises. Not to gain blessings, or gain anything for that matter... but to give our will to God, and show Him that we do the things we do because we love Him. Everything in this world is a gift from Him, and so, the only thing we can ever truly give is our time and our energy. If we show Him that we really care, we will in return recieve more opportunities to care for the rest of His children. And I have seen in my mission, that that is truly God`s greatest blessing. Service and love for others has completely changed the focus of every day, and I always leave my sector, edified at the end.
I hope all of you continue to work hard to keep a focus on others throughout your day as well, and I promise you will all be blessed. I`ll talk to you all next week!
(In response to several questions that I asked PJ last week...here are his answers...)
About service projects.... We just help people if they ask us to help with a project or need specific help. Elder Aparco and I painted a mural once at a school in Alto Hospicio, and we help people clean their garages occassionally. However, each Sunday, we help take the sacrament to people who can`t come to church... in their houses, or in the hospital. And about not having mamitas..... yes.... you know me really well. I don`t really cook much. But Vallenar has a Subway, so I don`t die of hunger ;)
And this week, our branch in Torreblanca had 46 people attending!!!!!!