How are you all today? I'm great. Still enjoying life as a missionary, and anticipate enjoying it to the last second. And as indicated by the subject, I'm fairly confident that this is the last time I will be writing. Maybe for a second next week to tell you that all is well or something like that.
This week really has been amazing. Another roller coaster. I wouldn't have it any other way. I have mentioned one of our investigators, Heraldo Cordoba. He is so awesome and so ready to be baptized, but is struggling a lot with cigarettes. He’s smoked for years and is having a really hard time quitting. Tuesday night we had one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission. I really won't be able to do it justice, but I'll try. I was on divisions with my district leader Elder Soza from Nicaragua because Elder Pratt was sick in bed. It was the go or no go lesson for this Saturday for his baptism. We talked about the plan of salvation, then transitioned into a stop smoking talk. We started talking about his dad and how after not smoking for three years, went back to smoking, but worse. His wife then shared the story about her dad, how someone told him that how could some little 3 inch thing conquer him, being about 6 feet tall, so that day he threw his cigarettes out and never went back to smoking and is now the stake president in the other stake. We analyzed the differences in these two cases, then a scripture came to mind about the Nephites being motivated by a better cause, even though the Nephites were fighting stronger than ever. We then talked about his family and the temple and the blessings waiting. It was during this part of the lesson that I learned what Nephi was talking about when he said that the words that the children spoke when the Savior came were forbidden to be written. It’s not that they couldn't write the words, but that the words were sacred, and that’s how I consider the words she spoke, but I will tell you what they were (in English). His newly adopted three year old daughter spoke up and said, "don´t smoke anymore daddy." It broke my heart, and if it had that effect on me, I can't imagine what he must have felt. His wife then took him by the hand and asked him to stop to, if not for himself, then for their daughter. He is now motivated by a better cause, which is also now causing him even more heartache because it isn't easy to stop. His is trying so hard, he has received blessings of the priesthood and is united in prayer with his entire family-in-law and us. Even still, he can't kick it. So last night we talked about the purposes of the Lord, and how that someday he will look back on this time of trial and testing and thank the lord for it. For now, he has something to learn. We talked about the people of Ammon and challenged him to literally bury the weapons of his rebellion. I can't even imagine how hard this must be for him, but I know that he will pull through in the end. He really is so awesome and deserves to be baptized as soon as possible.
That was the bulk of the cool stuff this week. We also overcame two days of sickness to have our best week ever and get those famous standards of excellence for the mission, which is very satisfying. We also had some difficulty working due to the world cup of soccer. Everyone, and that means everyone is nuts about it down here. It’s away to find the chosen ones because if they are willing to listen for a bit during a game, they are very very interested in hearing what we say. Every single television was on the game when Argentina played and we heard the fireworks, gun shots and horn honks when they scored, then again when they won. It sounded like war had broken out. I guess the U.S. is looking pretty good too. Apparently, if you can tie with England you are really really good.
Another cool story. Here, you can order anything and have it brought to your door... including ice cream, and so we ordered ice cream once or twice last week. ON one occasion, the ice cream man asked us, if it wasn't a bother, if we could go by his house sometime in the week. We said ABSOLUTELY! Took down his address and everything and passed the reference to the area it belonged to. Conveniently, another time we ordered ice cream he came back and told us that they hadn't come by yet, and that he loved the pamphlets that we had given him. We didn't hesitate this time and gave him a book of Mormon. When he took it in his hands he had a look of awe on his face and promised that the first thing he was going to do when he got home was read it. We saw him in the street the other day, delivering ice cream on his motto and said that he really wants to tell us about his experience reading. We have to order ice cream again.
Well, I can't think of anything else to write about the week. The only other thing is to thank you guys so much for all of the letters you sent me during these two years. They really have helped me be better, even when they were trunky. I love you guys so much and am so glad that we are a family. We are so blessed.
I was listening to song "come thou fount of every blessing" and the words hit me pretty hard. In one of the verses it says "here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I'm come, and I hope by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home." Obviously referring to our heavenly home. I remember learning that an Ebenezer is a stone that was raised by a biblical prophet, I can't remember who, as a sign of gratitude to the Lord for having preserved him and his people. I know that the Lord has brought me thus far by his grace and mercy and certainly hope that he will continue to bless me has he has thus far. Everything in my life has been such a blessing, from being born to goodly parents to suffering the infamous "plank" in my youth. It has all helped me be who I am, and it was really the Lord helping me become who he wants me to be. Even though I don't always make the right decisions, he is there to help me make up for it.
The church is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Jesus Christ is our savior and Redeemer. Joseph Smith was a prophet and Thomas Monson continues the work Joseph started, and he does it under direction of the Savior. I know that this is true.
Love you all!