Hello my mother. Whew well it`s been a craaazy week. Where do I begin. First off, YEAH! Kyle`s back. You`ll have to tell me how he`s doing. He must have extended right? Have you heard anything about Ben getting back?
Wow Ty`s leaving. Two weeks in the MTC and then he`s off to California. Man, I wish I remembered what the letter I sent Ty says. I remember telling him what really matters but more than that... well it was for him and I`m glad it`s helped him. If you see him before he goes tell him I love him and tell his parents that everything will be great and not to worry, he`s in the Lord`s hands.
And happy mother`s day to Nicole! Sheesh when I left nobody was married or had babies and now I`ll be coming back to find Grandma and Grandpa great grandparents and my teenage cousins all grown up. Good grief two years makes all the difference.
Ah, speaking of difference, thanks for the package! I got it all! I had forgotten that I said that I missed pop tarts, and then I find them in the box! Sweet! Thanks a lot. I believe in the law of consecration though and had to give my two companions some, they had never even seen pop tarts before! I told you all that I`m with Elder Dos Santos again now right? No? Well I am. We`re in a trio. Who`d have thought I`d be back with this crazy brazilian again? Asi es la vida.
Okay as for what we`ve done, I went to the mountain Cayambe last Monday, thus you can see the photo. I love Ecuador, I can be 16,000 feet up in the snow and wind, and four hours later I can be in the hot humid Amazon rain forest or a beach by the pacific ocean. Can`t get much better than that!!
So one thing that`s really struck me this week was when the zone leaders showed up at our door Saturday morning saying that President Ghent wanted to talk with us. uuuuuh ooohhh..... So they call him and I talk to President first, he informs me that my companion, Elder Granda´s, dad had died. He told me not to tell him yet but that we needed to go to the offices where Elder Granda`s bishop would be waiting for us because President was in a stake conference in Esmeraldas. I said okay and said we would help Elder Granda as much as possible. I then told my companions that we had to go to the offices to talk with Elder Kaneen, the finances elder. On the bus ride I couldn`t help praying for poor Elder Granda who just seemed so happy right there and then. I tried to talking to him, tried to prepare him, talking about his study of the Atonement and one of his favorite scriptures, D&C 122:7, but there`s no way to prepare someone for a thing like that. Finally we arrived at the empty offices, all empty except for Elder Kaneen (a senior missionary) and the bishop from Machala. There Elder Granda heard the news and called his family.
Now I`ve learned several things from this last couple of days, first and foremost I`ve come to understand another face of the Atonement. While in the bus I prayed asking Heavenly Father to put some of the pain and sorrow of Elder Granda on me, that he wouldn`t have to take this on by himself, that I would be able to feel what he was feeling and help make his burden more light. That`s when the thoughts came to my head saying, you don`t have to, He already did. Christ already took upon himself our sorrows and heart ache. He already knows how we feel so He can succor us according to our "sicknesses" or trials that we pass through. Elder Granda`s faith shouldn`t be on me, but on the Savior because He`s the one who`s drank from the bitter cup. So that helped me know where I should direct people`s vision when they`re suffering. I can always help and try to provide comfort but never as well as Jesus can.
Now my companion has gone through this trial remarkably well. He`s been doing great and has been able to continue working and has stayed focused. Of course he misses his father but things are different here on the mission. What goes on at home doesn`t feel real. Or sometimes the Spirit has more opportunity to comfort us. So he`s been doing great. This has taught me that I have absolutely nothing to brag about. These last few months I`ve been with companions that have lost loved ones, that have gone through terrible pain and injury, that are the only members in their entire family and thus receive no support from family members whatsoever, yet they`re here serving the Lord. They`re here giving the best of themselves. Maybe they understand something that elders such as I (the type with great family support, years in the church, good health, and that have made little sacrifice) haven`t fully understood yet, that the mission isn`t about us, it`s about the people we serve. It`s about our brothers and sisters who haven`t had the chance yet to know the gospel. It`s about the lives and generations that we can change. So people ask, why can these young men and women make such sacrifices and leave so much behind? BECAUSE IT`S THE TRUTH!! There`s absolutley no other reason. I`ve personally seen the sacrifice, prayers, and tears of these companions and I know that there could be nothing save the very work of salvation that would make them give up so much for nothing in return. This the work of God and I`m so grateful I`ve been able to a part of it. I`m also grateful that Christ`s sacrifice is very real, and His Atonement really does give us strength in times of trial. What else can I say?
Other than that we`re doing well. We`ll be working harder this week. We`ll be doing our best. Thankfully, I have no time to be trunky with a companion to help and train as well as a ward to help and people to teach. So pray for us please! Thanks for all your help and all you`ve done for me. I`m very grateful for all the support I have from home and for the things I learned there. Stay strong, have a great week, and do what`s right! I love ya guys! Adios!