Monday, August 13, 2012

Time Moves Fast

Hello everyone! 

An up and down week but it's amazing how fast time moves when you’re having fun and working hard. Mission work really is fun if you work hard and have fun while doing it. I get to teach people the truth, grow closer to my Savior and eat great food every day! I'm doing my best not to gain weight haha, so far so good! On Tuesday and Wednesday it was raining like crazy, when it rains it pours here. I have never seen so much rain in my life, I literally felt like I was in a hurricane for two days. As I mentioned, this past week had it's up and downs. I was feeling great after emailing home last week and we had a great day on Tuesday, but then boom I started getting sick on Wednesday. The flu and colds have been going around here. I started to get a cold on Wednesday and felt completely exhausted, it was really hard to stay motivated and keep moving forward.

Thursday I was really struggling and didn't even feel like talking to people. We had a lot of appointments fall through on top of being sick (5 of our 7 fell through that day). My companion and I went back to our apartment so I could take some medicine, I told him that I wasn't feeling to great so I asked if we could get on our knees and pray. The power of prayer is such a real thing, the rest of our day completely turned around. I have been feeling a lot better the last two days, I'm so grateful for the strength the Lord gives us as missionaries.

I'm so grateful for the trials and challenges we face as missionaries. It is in the furnace of affliction when we truly develop the attributes of Godliness which will enable us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. I've come to appreciate how central the atonement is to missionary work. When we feel the atonement in our life and truly understand its significance, we cannot help but care for those we teach each day. A great indicator of whether we've been truly converted and developed that testimony of the Savior is our desire to share the gospel with others. We cannot truly understand the atonement and the need for Christ until we fully comprehend and accept the fall of Adam and Eve. I've come to really learn more about the doctrine of the fall, the more I understand the fall, the more I come to learn of the atonement and it's great significance to mankind. There is a quote from President Benson which I love that I found the other day: "Just as man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ." The atonement is so real and I'm grateful for the sacrifice of our Savior.

I mentioned in my last letter that there was a sister we tracted into and started teaching. Her name is P……and we have a scheduled baptismal date for September 23rd! She has attended church every week since we met with her. The other day we went to meet with her but she wasn't home which was a little bit strange because she has been really excited each time we go to meet with her. Well as we were driving away, we saw her on the street walking home. We spoke with her for a few minutes and we could tell she was distraught. She was almost crying, she told us she had no money for food for her and her little 7 year old son. We felt heart broken and didn't know what to do, she said she couldn't meet until the next day. After talking with her the two of us felt so humbled and thankful for all that we have.

We decided that night to make her muffins and brought her some other food the next day when we met with her. She was very grateful and our lesson with her went amazing. She said that we are an answer to her prayers and she has been searching for a church for a long time. Many of the churches she had attended she didn't "feel" anything. She says she feels happy each time she meets with us and goes to our church. She called us after we left and she said we left her in tears because she was so grateful we came into her life. We're really excited and can't wait to prepare her further for her baptism.

This past week I came across something that told me to pray as a missionary for unplanned opportunities to serve others. We began to do this as a companionship, wow it's amazing how the Lord gives us those opportunities. We had about 3 or 4 people we ran into and started to help them with different chores, they were willing to listen to us and we gave them some pamphlets. I'll give a quick story about one lady who was more than willing to listen. We were tracting when we found these two ladies doing some digging around the house. We offered to help, they were a little confused but then we took their shovels (in our white clothes) and started doing their work for them. We found out they were hired hands to do some work for that home. Well the owner of that home, saw us doing that work for them and was shocked! She came out after we had been there for about 15 minutes and invited us to come in. She gave us some drinks and some food, we had to go so we didn't have time to teach her but we set a return appointment. We returned two days later and sat down with her, we found out she had been visited by missionaries 15 years ago! She still had the B.O.M. in her home on the book shelf. We started to clarify some of her questions about the B.O.M and taught her the restoration. She has deep roots in the Anglican religion but it was a good lesson and we'll be returning next week.

Currently we still have 6 investigators with baptismal dates. One of them, his name is C, is getting baptized on the 26th of this month. He is a champion and has a strong testimony. His wife and kids are members so he has a lot of support. The biggest struggle is that he has had to learn English the past year, but he has finally learned enough and developed a testimony for himself. It will be a huge support to have a father led family in the branch. There are not very many priesthood holders here (only about 6 that I can count besides us).

Honestly I don't feel like the mission is much of a sacrifice, I feel as though the blessings of heaven are being poured upon me and this area. We are finding a lot of success and really moving the work forward here. I love the people, it's disappointing when people reject our message but I know that everyone has been given agency and they don't know what they are missing!

Thanks for the letters that I have received from you guys, getting a letter in the mail is a HUGE support and really gives me a boost as a missionary.

Love you guys!

Elder Summers

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