This last week was a bit crazy....tornado warnings, an emergency transfer, and turning 19 all in one week!
So first, the weather has been crazy. I never realized how bad humidity could be until now, living in Maryland! It's just hot all the time and no matter what, you feel uncomfortable! Usually when it's hot you want it to rain, but here it just seems to get even hotter! And then randomly there will be tornado warnings and crazy rain storms! But it's definitely growing on me! :)
This last week, there were some problems between the missionaries in Frederick and the Branch leaders, so I am no longer serving with Elder Cornejo, he got moved to Frederick. I am back with Elder Chaico, and got to stay in Columbia. It was quite a surprise! We were having our interviews with President Christiansen and he told us the circumstances and what would be happening, and the next morning we were exchanging companions!
This past week I also got to see 3 of my closest friends from the mission! The first two are both missionaries that have returned. Both Elder Pettersson, my trainer, and Elder Dutsin came to visit Maryland and I got to see them and say hi! It was so crazy getting to see them, I'm so grateful for their examples they have left on me for the rest of my mission. The 3rd was Axel!! The 19 year old that we baptized in Frederick. I went to Frederick for a meeting and got to say hi to him! It was so good to see him. I've made so many friendships on my mission that will last a lifetime!
|Elder Dutsin & Elder Chaico|
On Wednesday night, I was able to be in possibly the most spiritual lesson I've ever been in in my mission. It was with the Noboa family. They are an amazing family that love the church and have such strong testimonies, but they haven't come to church in years. They are so nice and always willing to talk, so we asked them if we could go through the lessons to practice our teaching with their family. They agreed, so on Wednesday we did a "practice" of teaching the Holy Ghost. These practices really are meant to help us, but we have realized that it helps the Less-Active Members just as much. Even with a practice lesson, their answers are real, and the Spirit can still be felt. I don't know exactly what was said, but I just remember feeling the Holy Ghost SO strong. Possibly stronger than I have ever felt. In those moments, promptings always seem to come and I looked at them and said "We know that God is proud of you and that he loves you more than you'll ever know." It felt as if Jesus Christ was in the room standing next to us, and their wasn't a dry eye in the room. I'm so grateful for experiences like that on my mission!
There has been a lot more desire from the members to help serve and do missionary work! Hermano Mora, a partly active member in our branch, starting telling us about how badly he wants to be a missionary! He told us that he wants to just go out on the streets with us and talk to everyone about Jesus Christ! It's so amazing to see the desire of mission work touch the lives of the Members.
Victor Soriano, the 9 year old that wants to get baptized, is doing well! We have now been able to get the mom involved too, she is super excited for her son to be baptized. We will be seeing the family tonight, they are so awesome! We've been continuing to teach Carlos and Viridiana, they came to church yesterday! Viri seems to love coming to church, and she says she has been reading the Book of Mormon, really wanting to know if it is true or not!
On Saturday, I got to spend my 19th birthday out here in the mission field! The Villatoro's took me out to lunch, then we went to a baptism of an 8 year old that night, then all went and played soccer! It was definitely a different birthday than I've ever had, but it was so great!! Earlier in the week, we were eating dinner at the Riggin's house, and they brought in a cake and surprised me with a little birthday party! I'm so grateful for the members here in Columbia, they are so caring and just so fun to be around!
Here is a super cool miracle I want to share from the last week. The first started a few weeks ago, when Elder Cornejo and I were street contacting. We met this African-American woman named Rebekah and talked to her about the Book of Mormon. She was super interested and told us she had never realized us Mormons believed in Jesus Christ or had a book about him. We talked to her, and then passed off her information to the Sisters in the area so that they could teach her in English. Well for a few weeks, they just couldn't get in contact with her. Last week, we were walking around the area again, and once again saw her! She came up to us and said "It's so good to see you again! I have a new phone # and I need you to give it to the Sisters so they can come visit me!" So we did just that, and the Sisters got to go over and have a lesson with her, and then yesterday they called us saying that Rebekah came to church! It is truly amazing to see how God works and how he leads you to the people that you need to find. Rebekah told the sisters "I'm so grateful for that red head and dark haired kid. They helped me find this church!" It is truly such an amazing experience to be part of this work!
"Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting." I absolutely love the power behind this quote, it is so true! Sometimes on a mission, it is hard to be patient. You're always waiting. Waiting for someone to desire baptism, waiting for someone to call you and tell you that they are interested. I think sometimes we confuse the word patience, and think that if we wait, we are patient. It is all about the attitude that we have and I love the way that is explained.
|Birthday Package from Home|
|It was tough celebrating Chandler's Birthday without him!|
"Fight all of your battles on your knees and you will win everytime." I'm so grateful for the power of prayer. We have the opportunity to communicate with God, to talk to him and ask him questions, get feedback and counsel from our Father in Heaven. I'm so grateful for his love for us, that he is willing to help us no matter what, no matter when, he doesn't judge us, he loves us unconditionally. I know that prayer is so important, and I hope we don't take advantage of it, it is a wonderful gift from God!
Have an amazing week!
- Elder Leavitt