Well the biggest news of the week is that, if you've been following all the ups and downs with Javier's eligibility for baptism, it's looking like a go for the 25th! We are going to get there. It's been a
wild roller coaster ride but that family is so pure in heart we are not going to stop until he is baptized and they are in the temple!
We have a fantastic district and the branch continues to grow. Last week a big Mormon family from Utah was visiting and sacrament attendance hit 92. That is absolutely crazy. Only after having tried
to get members and investigators to church RELENTLESSLY for the last year and a half could I fully appreciate how much of a straight up miracle it is that only four or five months ago attendance was only 40 with English and Spanish, and now we've swung up to being one of the bigger units in the mission. God has some big plans for this branch. Now we've just got to get some of these people baptized..... In the last transfer alone we've had four solid baptismal candidates fall through because of legal issues. We really feel like Hampton bays is about to break through and finally get these people into the water.
Hello hello! Another week has passed us by. Life is epic. Javier is such a stud it blows my mind. He literally studies the gospel at 2 am. And his wife is a saint.
Hampton bays is still the best branch in the mission.
To answer a few personal emails: I'm doing well, really. The last couple of months have been hard for me because of a lot of different things, but what has really been frustrating me is just that I have felt like I'm not progressing so much like I used to at the beginning of the mission, and sometimes it's hard to feel successful as a leader when your missionaries change out every six weeks, so after all sometimes you feel like you're running in place. I've been a zone leader for too long haha ;) I've seen every last member of the mission leadership council come and go and I'm still here chilling! But it's been good. I've learned a lot. It's a job that require a true, absolute focus on just serving. Any slight deviation of motives results in the worst discouragement because it's an unwinnable fight if you try to win the war single handedly and forget that you're just a soldier in the army that does his job.
Funny side story: I will serve happily in whatever way I'm asked to, but I've always told our district leaders that I often miss being a district leader because they are the ones who are really in the trenches and working on a personal level directly with the missionaries in their area - I loved being a district leader because I felt close to the missionaries and had more focused power to help them. Of course I forgot to be specific with the Lord about being released from being a zone leader before going back to being a district leader, so this transfer I got stuck with both....
As always before, added responsibilities have given me a second wind.
I truly love this work. I love missionaries. It's been interesting to see my focus change over the last several months from being completely focused on our own work to being so preoccupied with thinking about other missionary's work. Making minor improvements in our own work blesses people's lives. But the blessed and sometimes frustrating journey of helping fourteen other companionships do the same blesses a lot of people's lives. Anyway, the point of telling you all this is just to let you know that you have leaders in the church, some who know you well and some who may not know your name, that care for you. They care for you so much they stay awake at night praying and thinking about you. The Savior is capable of blessing them with his love, which reaches us all even though we may not understand how that's possible.
I love this work, with all my heart, might, mind and strength. The gospel is a different thing than what I thought it was a year and a half ago, and understanding it will yet be a nice long term adventure. From the very get go, right in the MTC, the meaning of the phrase "I know this is true" has changed, and that is my testimony! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.