Monday, May 4, 2015

How great shall be your joy!

Elder Giforos and I with Richard before his baptism

 "Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"
- Doctrine and Covenants 18:14 - 16

There is no better way that I could express my thoughts and feelings than these. I am so grateful for the baptism that we had on Saturday night. It was an incredible experience to finally see why I came on my mission. It finally made me appreciate fully why I chose to serve a mission. That purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ and the only way to do that is through repentance and baptism. I am grateful for Richard, the great guy he is and the choice that he made to find out for himself what God´s will for him is. I met Richard the first day I was in the field. We went to meet him with Hermano Pompin. Richard invited us in and we sat and talked with Him about the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, restored to the earth in this time. Our next visit we extended him an invitation to be baptized and he accepted having faith that God would answer his prayer to see if our message was true. After teaching him the lessons and seeing him grow and gain a testimony, in my time here, there was no greater opportunity that I had than to baptize him and then afterwards here him bear a strong testimony of the basic truths of the gospel. The spirit of his testimony filled our little chapel.

"But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
- Alma 26:11 - 12

I am grateful for the Lord´s blessing upon us as Ammon rejoices because of the success that he has seen among the Lamanites so to do I rejoice for the success that the Lord has blessed us with here in Pontevedra. I am so grateful to be a missionary at this time and in Pontevedra. It is hard to remember the worry and the difficulties that we have had when the Lord blesses us so abundantly. I love the mission and the ability that we have to be instruments in the Lords hands. Richard was prepared and the light of the gospel can now shine through him. I remember that first visit to his testimony on Saturday night and what a change it was. He was a great kid before but now with the light of the gospel he is going to be a tool for the Lord to use.

Besides that great event this week, we have also been working with Raquel still. She is great and working to make the changes in her life that she needs to in order to be able to be baptized. Please pray for her and also for us as missionaries to know how we can better help her. I know that God answers our prayers and I thank you for those that have been offered on behalf of the missionaries and the investigators that we are working with.

One last story to end this week on: On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Elders in Ourense. I was with Elder Bailey and we were out street contacting. I was talking with a woman and my companion went to talk with a Latino man and his two boys that were walking along the street. As I finished with the woman I went over to Elder Bailey and he introduced me as his companion and we continued with the conversation but the man got very frustrated with us and started to tell us what it was that we believed and what it was that our church had done wrong, and how bad we were. Eventually, when he could, my companion told the man to stop fighting with us, that all we were trying to do was to have a conversation and share our beliefs but, the man reaches out and pushes my companion in the chest. At this point I´m starting to get worried, I really don´t want this to turn into anything more, but my companion, after recovering his balance goes and pushes the man right back. The adrenaline started pumping now even more than before and I start thinking that there is no way to get out of this one, we need to leave right now. This Latino man was probably 6´2" and big. The man stumbles back and just I as I think we are both done for he and Elder Bailey start laughing. The Latino man is actually a member of the rama in Ourense and it was all a big joke on the new missionary. It is in actuality really funny but in the moment it felt intense. 

Elder Bailey, myself and the member from Ourense
Anyway, the work moves along here in Pontevedra. I love being able to laugh and have a good time while still working hard and having the Spirit. I love the mission, the good days and the hard ones. All of them are what makes it worth it. Thank you for your examples to me, testimonies, love and prayers.

Elder Gustafson

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