Luz Elena - Progressing super fast. Comes to church, and absolutely loves everything we teach. Pays tithing, and she even is sharing everything we teach her with her friends at work. She says it's the only thing we talk about. The only thing with her is that she asked us what it takes to become a preistess..... (That's how it's spelled right? Spanish has killed my spelling in English, and I STILL don't know how to spell well in Spanish...) So we're going to have to tell her flat out that women in the church can't hold the Preisthood... Who knows how she's going to take that. I'm sure it will be fine.
Fernando - He's a neighbor of Luz Elena that she invited awhile ago but never progressed. He actually changed and came to church this last Sunday. He said a super powerful prayer, and asked to get a triple so he could read Doctrine and Covenants. Honestly, just a really crazy cool miracle with him too.
Candelaria - The old lady that came to the open house. This last week, she said she didn't want to listen, so we showed up at her house, and she accepted again, and then accepted a baptismal date. Really nice, but she forgets everything.... Poor lady. She's 82 though, so it's understandable.
Juanita - This is the last week she's in Tijuana. By, she's back here. We're going to hope and pray that she returns with Maria de la Paz.
1.) I was sitting on a corner with my companion, thinking about what we were going to do, when all of a sudden, this dog comes walking up to us. He smells a bush, does his business, and then I whistled to see if I could pet him.
He answered my turning around and throwing dirt at me with his paws.
We laughed a ton about that.
2.) Picture of the collection of toys that one lady in our ward has. There's so many things here from Disney and other famous cartoons. It's pretty cool.
3.) I feel bad that I'm sending a picture of me and my companion after a month with him, but here it is. Elder Cruz and I. We almost look like identical twins. Many people have said that.
4.) I played Tennis again today. I'm starting to regain my technique, but my physical condition is shot to pieces. I'm probably going to need more time to just get my condition up again than to get back into the groove of playing well. But I really don't know. I'm just enjoying the tennis, honestly. They want to play again on my last P-Day in the mission, so it's the plan.
5.) I can't believe I have 2 weeks left. It's just insane to think that this time next month, I will be home. Like, my mind just doesn't seem to understand that I will not be going to a new area. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 100 dollars. It will be finish game. I guess that's good though. It means I won't be focused on going home, but on the mission.
6.) We contacted this guy that started telling us he studied Theology and that he knew the histories of almost every church ever, and he began to explain that Jesus Christ is the truth, and therefore, I don't need a church and I don't know what more. But honestly, he was a pretty smart guy, but just wasn't willing to receive spiritual knowlege. The scripture from Nephi came to my head:
2 Ne. 9:28-29 "When they are learned they think they are wise... wherefore their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not."
It was so true with this guy. Super smart, very alert, and honestly, a really down-to-earth guy, compared with the maniacs we constantly find, but he just thought he was much better than God with his secular knowledge. It made a lot more sense to me that scripture.
Well, this marks 2 weeks. Exactly, I will no longer be a missionary. I'm excited, but kinda sad at the same time. I will be working hard until the end though. I'm stoked to get my work done and finish up.
Next email will be my last one in the mission, I believe. If not, it's not that important, because the last one I send 2 Mondays from now will just be saying good-bye to the mission. I think I'll be able to do it, but we'll see.
In any case, I just want to review a couple things I've learned in the mission in this letter, and in the last one, I'll just talk about the blessings.
1.) I've learned to be less proud.
Before the mission, I honestly thought I was pretty hot stuff. I got here and realized that I may know a thing or two, but everyone else knows much more than I do.
I feel like I've definitely learned how to be more humble about what I can do, or who I am. I've learned now that I need not be recognized for things I do good to know that I do them good.
2.) I've learned to be interested in others.
Before the mission, I honestly didn't care much about other people. I was just focused on how I felt, or what I wanted. It didn't even pass through my brain that other people were people too, you know?
Now, I've learned that I'm not the only person who has hopes and dreams in this world. I'm not the only one who wants to talk about cool stuff I have heard, said, or done. I'm not the only one who wants people to know about me. Everyone else has the same desires I have.
3.) I've learned that things happen outside of my universe, and that my perception of things isn't the only one out there.
Before the mission, I never understood that outside of what I perceive, there is something more. I never really quite got the idea that things happen without me being there.
Now, I understand that things happen outsideof what I see or know, and that my perception of things is just what I think, and it's not fact. My ideas and experiences do not change the fact that other people have their ideas and experiences, that may or may not be different from those that I have.
4.) I've learned what a testimony is.
Before the mission, I honestly didn't understand what the term "testimony" meant. I thought I had one, and I thought I knew all about that.
Now, I understand that a testimony isn't just saying things that you were taught, but it is, in fact, a statement of something you truly do understand and know.
It's not that I need to believe teachings, it's that I need to know for myself that the teachings are correct and true and real, and not that they are good things that will logically bring good things into your life.
5.) I've learned how to be a leader.
Before the mission, I thought a leader was the guy who had to take decisions, make people do things, or even try to get people to see things his way so that everything ran smoother.
Now, I understand, since I've been a follower, that leaders like that do not get the best results. The best leader is the one who only wants what is best for everyone, and not according to HIS perspective, but according to EVERYONE'S perspective. If you want people to follow you, the first thing you need to do is let them know that they will follow you in places THEY want to go. The best results come from working in a team, and a leader isn't there to make the team do what he wants done, but to coordinate and help the team to achieve their full potential through constant guiding. Of course, there will be times where the leader understands better than the rest, but the large majority of the time, the leader is there to make sure that everything happens according to what the group wants, and what would be the best for the group.
6.) I've been redeemed.
Before the mission, honestly, I doubt I could have received the salvation necessary in order to be saved. Quite frankly, I doubt I would have achieved anything at all because of who I was, and my attitude.
Now, I've become someone who has been saved. I have become someone who has the chance to achieve a very great potential, and I honestly believe that as long as I just keep the commandments, I will end up okay at the end of everything.
There are a lot more things I've learned, but those are the biggest ones. My mission has taught me a lot more than I could have possibly learned in any other situation or place. And I know that God sent me here to learn those things. They will bless me more than anything else in the world.
Next week will be blessings, and then I'll be home to be able to talk about everything with all of you.
Thank you for all the support, love, and kindness you've all shown me. I honestly have been so blessed to be able to have such a family and friends such as you.
Have a great week. See you soon.