Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 15

Special St. Patrick's Day Package from Home!
We are the "LUCKY" ones to have Chandler as part of our Eternal Family!!!

Work, work, work! There is so much to be done and the time really has flown by this last week!

We have been working with an incredible family, the Zamora Family. Like I said last week, we found them by helping the mother get her car unstuck. I'm so grateful for the Winter storm we had (they called it Storm Thor) because without it, we never would have met them! They are such a great family, that is slowly, but surely, progressing. Alfonso, the father, doesn't really believe that there can be a living prophet and one true church. But he is always telling us that we know so much about the bible, and that he wants us to help him "change his heart and beliefs." So, we are helping him see the importance of a Latter-Day Prophet and Church! He loves the Book of Mormon and is reading it. His wife is much quieter, and doesn't put her opinion in much. But every time we come, they have their folletos (I honestly can't think of what that means in English...brochure or pamphlets I guess? Sorry!) out, their bibles out, they are always ready for our appointments and excited to talk about the Church! So progress is going well with them.

We also have Walter Gonzalez, the nephew of a less-active member named Oscar. We had him on date for a little while, but he has fallen off because he has been missing church! But he is reading and praying, and we are helping and teaching him! He just came from Guatemala about a month ago, and had talked with Elders while there.

I had an amazing experience this week while at a Members House, the Salvador Family. We were talking about the Atonement, and I felt the Spirit so strong, everybody in the room did. Hermana Salvador was crying, and Hermano Salvador was telling his conversion story. All of a sudden he looked at me and asked me why I had come on a mission. It hit me so hard, and the Spirit was so strong. It made me think for a second and I told him why. The reason I came out here is because I've been blessed by this amazing gospel and I want other people to have that light and joy in their lives constantly. That is why. It was such a spiritual moment that I will never ever forget!
Allen & Mosi, Branch Preisdent's sons
Bryan Bobailla

We are also teaching a lady named Bety and a young boy named Kevin. We had a huge breakthrough with a less active member named Saida. We visit Saida every Thursday when she is off work, but she usually doesn't let us share a message, we just talk with her and her brother and cook snacks for her little siblings and all their friends. But this time, we had brought a recent convert named Bryan Bobadilla. When we asked Saida if we could share a message, she finally said yes. So we all sat down and I could tell she was already about to cry, she looked so stressed and we could tell it was different this time. She looked at us and asked that each of us just bear our testimony. Bryan went first and did an amazing job, telling his conversion story. Saida was already crying, and for the first time we finally had made her see what she had been missing for so long. The gospel! The joy that it brings. Elder Pettersson bore an amazing testimony, and then for some reason when it was my turn, she asked "Elder Leavitt, have you ever gone through something incredibly hard?" I was planning on just sharing with her my testimony of the church, but when she asked that, I realized exactly what I needed to do. I told her about my experience with my Liver Disease and how much that had increased my testimony. It was such a cool experience. Then she bore her testimony. She told us that she wants to come back to church and that she has missed these amazing feelings given by the Gospel. She has just been going through a lot, being 21 and having a 4 year old child she has to take care of, always working, no family support. It was a breakthrough we had never had with her before!

The families are still amazing in our branch! This week I ate cactus, more cow stomach, and pupusas! The pupusas are amazing, from El Salvador! Every Sunday Morning, we go over to a family in our branch and they make pancakes and pupusas for breakfast!

For my spiritual thoughts, first I have a quote from Elder James E. Faust: "Hope is the anchor of our souls. Hope is trust in God's promises, faith that if we act now, the desired blessings will be fulfilled in the future. The unfailing source of hope is that we are sons and daughters of God and that His Son, Jesus Christ, saved us from Death." Hope is something that at times, especially during the hardest of times, is hard to have. But if we have hope, we have everything else! We have faith, we have charity, we have every attribute that we need to continue in the work of the Lord. Even though hope seems like something hard to have, we should work towards it! Work towards having hope throughout everything we go through. 

Another thought as I was reading in 2 Kings 6:15-17. It talks about the chariots of angels protecting us. Elder Jeffrey R Holland said "Remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection." This goes along so well with hope! Even though we can't see it, we have protection from both sides of the veil! Heavenly Father is so concerned for us and our protection and well-being that he literally gives us body guards. As a Missionary, I've felt that presence of protection from harm and am so grateful that we have that promise. Even though we can't see them, we all have that protection.

Have hope, persevere! That is all that we can do. Have hope that you can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord, and he will help you do exactly that. Thank you so much for all of the support, love you all!

- Elder Leavitt

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