Saturday, February 13, 2016

After the trial of your faith (week 12)

Okay, so this week. This week was something special! To me this week has been a huge testimony builder of the truthfullness of the scripture Ether 12:6 " I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith".

So first off, this week was super hot and humid (like usual) but for some reason it just felt so much worse. This is probably because we were walking around everywhere trying to find someone to teach but everyone we met was busy or was "already religious". And when we leave the house in the morning we can only take one water bottle each and within ten minutes of walking around, you feel like you've already sweat out a gallon of water, so I'm constantly thirsty. Unfortunately, most houses that are kind enough to give us a drink don't give us water (drinkable water is hard to come by here) they give us soda, which is good, but is something I'm not only allergic to but also doesn't quite quench your thirst. So that's been a big adjustment. I've never been so grateful for the clean water we have in America!
Have I mentioned there are A LOT of dogs here! I know I have, but just In case you've forgotten, there are a RIDICULOUS amount of random dogs here! And they hate us! It's like they've been trained to seek and destroy missionaries! So during the week A Dalmatian dog almost tried to rip my Comps hand off (aren't Dalmatian's suppose to be nice dogs?) and would have gotten me too if I hadn't ripped off my bag and started swinging. The dogs here come in every shape and size. I've seen Chihuahuas, Rottweilers, St. Bernard, greyhound, husky, german shepard, Dalmatian, boxer, pug, mug, bull, and a host of others I don't even know what they are. But the ones I love the most are the chihuahuas because, apparently, they rule supreme down here. They come in all sorts of diversities. I've seen a golden retriever/chihuahua mix, Dalmatian/chihuahua  mix, Rottweiler/chihuahua mix, and a chihuahua that looked like it got loose in side a cheetoh's factory. Very Weird, unnatural stuff!!!
Oh yah it rained yesterday too and the streets totally turned into rivers. I know now why we had to bring giant irrigation boots with us! It was awesome.  Luckily we were in a lesson during the brunt of the storm so after we left, we only got a little soaked, but the other elders were totally drenched.

 It was also the end of the first transfers yesterday!!! This past 6 weeks has been simultaneously, breathtakingly fast and cold syrupy slow. But the verdict is that I get to stay here in Villa Tesei for another 6 weeks and with Elder Ortolano again too. I guess his "never wrong" "feeling" that he was getting transferred was wrong! I'm super happy about staying because the people here are so amazing and I'm super excited for the investigators here. This kid named Franko we are working with had his baptismal interview this week and he passed with flying colors. This kid is so awesome becuase he is 17 and we found him so randomly, although nothing's really "random" in missionary work, is it. We needed directions somewhere and we stopped him on the street to ask how to get where we needed to go. From there we started talking and then started teaching him. He is already thinking of going on a mission and he's pretty good at futbol too (not that I'd know anything about futbol! But others have told me he's good.) We are also working with this lady named yamila who has a daughter and she is awesome because she told us she is not an emotional lady but she crys whenever she goes to church and in every lesson so far because she feels the spirit so strongly. MAN!!!! She is so awesome and Franko too and there is so many other capo (FANTASTICALLY AWESOME) people here.

 But anyway back to "trial" talk.... so this week was hot. Also there was fast Sunday. We started our fast after lunch on Saturday and we would end it on lunch the next day. Sounds easy right? Its mas o menos. I think it must have been an hour after we started our fast on Saturday that I started getting thirsty again. And I had drained a whole liter of water in preparation for our fast, right before we started.  Immediately I'm thinking "oh dang, this is going to be horrible"! I could not stop thinking about water for like hours. All I could think was selfish and negative thoughts. And it was horrible. I could not get the right attitude. I was getting extremely frustrated with myself because of my attitude. I was angry that I could not shake the stupor of cynicism. Then I began to be afraid as well. I was afraid because I was fasting for a reason and that reason was important. I was fasting so that I could have the Spirit with me in the lessons. I needed this for the investigators and I knew that if I continued this fast with my current attitude, it would all have been for naught. So I did whatever I could to distract myself. I sang hymns in my head, thought of scriptures, read from the scriptures, and read restoration Pamphlets. The last one worked the best because it said lot of good reasons why the restoration was important and helped me get into gear for the upcoming lessons. And I also prayed alot in my heart. I prayed as earnestly as I could. This was the make it or break it time. It helped to distract myself from my thirst. Also starting into the lesson and teaching helped because I didn't have the opportunity at that point to think about myself. I got to put all my attention on this Child of God and see if I could help. The people we taught that day were definitely answers to my prayers. Not for that reason alone though. It was also because of a goal I have. I have been reading from the Book of Mormon lately the history of the Sons of Mosiah and Alma and I love the words they use to describe there demeanor towards service, they were "instruments in the Lords Hands" and they were "zealous" workers in the extreme. I admire that so much and I want to be like that. This week has shown me more fully how I can achieve my goal. So there is the Trial but what was the Witness? The witness came by the Spirit while I was reading some scriptures. I know now how I can acheive this goal. It is through the development of charity withing myself. If you read the definition of Charity in Moroni 7:45-48  it says, 45: And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. 

This shows the obvious and simple way to be a profitable servant of the Lord and I received this personal revelation from God through the Spirit. It was such a direct answer to the question I was pondering and so powerful of a feeling from the Holy Ghost straight to my spirit that I cannot deny that it came from God. And I was blessed for my fasting. I know that it is true and this is my Witness, that God does care about me and how I work here because I know He loves the people here. And though I'm so imperfect and have so much to learn, I am exceedingly grateful that my Father in Heaven has blessed me with guidance to further my progression here and to help others in the future. I know that God Lives and I know that He is my Father.

Thanks for all your awesome emails guys!!! 
 Elder Ren porter

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