Hola hola hola
It still just blows my mind how the Bronx – and New York in general – is just a giant melting pot. Racially, culturally, politically, economically. It is INSANE. I love it. I love seeing the differences and hearing how people came and got here and grew and expanded and, for some, thrived.
What amazing people we have here in Olmstead.
We recently found a less-active member named Araceli. She has four boys and I love them. I love them all so much. We’ve seen them twice since we’ve met them, and the first time I had a very tender experience in that little basement apartment. The oldest, Alex, is autistic and is the sweetest boy ever. He is my favorite, though I am in love with them all. Alex broke down hard core during our first lesson because he remembered that he didn’t get to know his great grandmother. It has been quite some years, but the remembrance of it, and, mostly, the lack of hope in his eyes and voice, still cut deep to this tender-hearted young man. His eyes got really red really fast and he just WEPT. The uncontrollable and body-shaking sobs of absolute hopelessness. It was so sad, and so tender. I waited a minute, and in that minute I remember distinctly feeling and thinking this is how it feels without the hope of resurrection. This is how it feels to lose someone without knowing the Plan of Salvation. It brought so much gratitude to my soul to see that and feel that and KNOW that I will be with my family forever. This knowledge brings me so much hope and peace. So much.
After that minute was over I called to Alex and waited until he looked up at me. I looked him right in his eyes and I promised him that he would see his grandmother again. I felt so empowered and authorized as I made that promise to him. He was immediately consoled and happy. Oh, what joy and peace comes from that simple truth – that simple hope and belief that, thanks to Jesus Christ, we will live again. Death will be conquered and man will be free.
How great Thou art, my dear Savior.
We are working to get Araceli’s kids baptized. The future looks bright.
We saw them again this week and, having given them the assignment to start reading the Book of Mormon and prepare to share their favorite verse, the three oldest shared their favorite verses in the first three or four chapters of 1 Nephi. My personal favorite was that of Jahir: 1 Nephi 4:9 “And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.” He is 9.
Church was great, though we were SERIOUSLY bummed that Connie didn’t come. That’s three weeks now. I don’t want to admit to anyone, and especially myself, but I am seeing the plateau grow ever more prominent in her. Hopefully not in her heart. We’re still praying and working and trying.
We’ve been seeing that this past (passed? What is the difference? Fail) week quite a bit. It is a little discouraging, but the Lord has also lifted us up and blessed us with so many opportunities and new people. For example, Mae had an AWESOME bus lesson on Monday with someone named Miotosis. She was STOKED to hear about a modern prophet. And who isn’t?! That knowledge alone answers so many questions of our hearts.
And we’ve finally located some more less-actives and potential investigators. So that’s been cool. We also found out that the husband of one of our new investigators is a long-time less-active from Peru. SWEET.
The highlight of the week was definitely zone conference yesterday. It was incredible. I love a President Morgan and Sister Morgan so much. My heart is full, and my heart and mind were pricked and opened and filled and strengthened in our time together. It was the last zone conference we will have with them – they leave at the end of this cycle. Three weeks. It all seems too short. Too soon. Too weird, really. They have served with their whole souls, and I love them so much.
Our mission motto is “Loyal to the core–Courage, Obedience, Reverence, Effort”. I love that. As Elder Holland said, “the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.” It is true. I cannot think of a better way to show love to my Savior than being fiercely loyal to Him always. My desires to grow and serve and care and try and work and learn were renewed ten fold, as well as my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. I know it is true. I know He lives. I love Him, and I want to be like Him.
I believe in Him.
I was reading in Jesus the Christ this week, about Christ walking on water. With the people just mobbing Him, he had separated from the apostles for the night and took a breather. Spent the night in prayer and away from the hustle and bustle (and misunderstanding) of the crowd. A physical and spiritual renewal, I believe. His apostles attempted to cross the sea in their little boat, and He, seeing the storm and sensing their need for rescue, came to help them. He came to their aid in the way that was available–by walking. On water. And announcing peace and safety upon their discovery of Him.
“…bid me come unto thee on the water.”
And through that step of faith the elements were controlled. Elder Talmage says about the whole occasion, “The phenomenon is a concrete demonstration of the great truth that faith is a principle of power, whereby natural forces may be conditioned and controlled.” THIS is faith. This is loyalty. This is trusting in that Being who made you and who saved you and doing so with such courage and trust and effort and spirit that the very elements of the earth combine to support you.
I love that. I know faith is power.
I love you all! So much. We are off to play sports today–STOKED!!!!!!
Connie is praying about a for-sure baptismal date. I feel very hopeful for her. She is lit up with the gospel.
Light is truth.
All my love,