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Monday, April 1, 2013

Week #24: Laureles (La Oficina) - 4

Dear everyone,

I hope that you are all doing well, and have had a good week. Thank you for the emails which you sent me, and I´m glad to have been able to read them. Please, keep sending me mail. I appreciate it, it´s nice to have.

I have some good things to share with everyone this week.

After I finished emailing last week, I continued listening to a recording entitled "Conversion of a Catholic." Therein a man tells his conversion story, and I started listening to it, enjoying it, and being entertained at times too. However, I only listened to part of it the night before last Monday, so after writing I decided to finish it. That was when the real power came and hit me.

As I listened to him talk about his trials, he shared about how while his father (who had totally rejected him after his decision to be baptized) was deathly ill, he wanted to go home. The day he was to go home, his mission president called him and told him that the Lord wanted him to serve 6 more months, and he was like "How can you ask me to do that?" and he hung up the phone. He talked to his family, and learned that his Dad (who was comatose I believe) came to for a bit, and said he heard a voice, assumed it was the Lord, and he was told to stop contending against his son´s religion, and to tell him to stay in his mission. He called the President back after this, and his President was apologetic for his insensitivity, but the Elder stopped him and explained what had just happened.

His President listened, then said to him something along the lines of, "I don´t know how I can keep my promise to you. I can only extend your mission 3 weeks..." and the Church was only extending about two months too... But a few weeks later the Church announced that missionaries could serve a full 24 months if they desired, so he did.

In the last month of his extended mission, he and his companion taught an elderly woman, and she was baptized after reading the Book of Mormon. She also learned about Patriarchal Blessings and wanted to receive hers, so she got everything arranged and received it. The Elders visited her every day, and she called them once to say that "It came!" They were going to visit later that day I believe, but she insisted they come sooner. They went, and she told him (the speaker) to read her blessing. He declined, saying she should. She asked again, and he declined saying it was personal, for her, and not for him. She insisted, and told them that she could not read. Her eyes had stopped being able to read 15 years earlier. She could not read. When she received the Book of Mormon, she could read it, and she knew it was true - she said she had received a power from the Lord to be able to read that book, and as soon as she finished reading the entire thing she could not read anymore, she no longer had this power. He accepted to read it to her.

As he read he came to a part that told her that she would have been baptized 25 years earlier, had the Elder who accepted his mission call actually gone and served. The Lord had prepared for her two more missionaries, who, for the sacrifices which they had made, were worthy to deliver the message to her. He continued testifying of the exactness and importance of where we are called to serve as missionaries. It is not random, it is not "this mission lacks people..." It is inspired by the Lord, and we go to the area where there are people we will mesh with, and be able to work together, and the Lord prepares people for us. I have heard this before, and thought on it a bit, but as I listened to it here, I wept a bit. It was very powerful, and very good.

I know that I have been able to see the Lord work through us, in trying to find and help his children. Sometimes I get down, doubtful, or whatever, and I just need to remember the spiritual experiences which I have been blessed to have. If I had not decided to fill this call to serve as missionary, I would have missed out on these experiences. The Lord places us where we are for a reason. He helps us, leads us, and guides us. He loves us and wants to help us be happy. Even when we are "slow to remember" He helps us and loves us. If we could all pray for help, and remember our spiritual experiences, confirmations, and lessons, it would be good. I am grateful that I have kept a journal every day during my mission, and as I now approach my six-month mark, I am able to look back and reread the blessed experiences the Lord has given me. A journal is a source of power, a witness of the truth. I have reviewed some things this week to try and help strengthen my resolve and testimony. I encourage each and every one of you to review your past experiences in your journal, if you have kept one. If not, start today to keep one. Every single day. I am grateful for the experiences I have written in my journal, and I am also aware that I have failed to write some experiences as well. With time, these memories can decay until they no longer exist. The importance of keeping a journal, in real-time, is highly important. It can be a treasure and a help for you, and for your families, descendants, and whoever else may have chance to read it. Seriously, write in your journal, especially if you are doing something worth remembering, like serving a mission, getting married, or whatever it may be. Seriously. Today. I´ll go ahead and get all missionary on you all: WILL YOU WRITE in your journal every day, starting today?

Okay, so that´s that. This week we also had a baptism. A convert of my companion Elder Capiz was able to baptize his mom and sister. It was pretty good.

Also, I think I´m tanner than possibly I have ever been, I don´t know for sure. I think that´s this week´s email to the general public. Take care of yourselves!

- Elder Izak Thomas Erekson

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