Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Spirit will bring the message to the heart

View from the hike to our mountain top rama (branch) activity.

I´m going to start this letter with the probably funniest moment of my mission, shared with permission of Elder Giforos. On Saturday we had a rama activity and we were responsible for bringing some sort of desert, and we decided to make brownies. So we bought all of the ingredients that we needed and came home and of course had to make sure that they were delicious so we decided to make a small batch. Elder Giforos is a great missionary and is exactly obedient and so when the directions of the recipe said mix ingredients by hand he stuck his hand into the egg, flour sugar, chocolatey mess of the bowl and started mixing it with his hand. I look over and just start dying laughing. He turns to me and says, "What?" I explained to him that it meant without an electric beater. He pulled his hand out covered in chocolate mess dripping off his fingers. It was a great moment that has kept me laughing all week long. I´m just glad to have a trainer who is exactly obedient.

Other than that this week has been pretty good! On Monday after P-day we had a wonderful discussion with some Testigos de Jehova which was really interesting as it always is. I am so grateful that with our message no one has to believe our words. What I mean is that they can and must find out for themselves that our message is true. I could show people scripture after scripture that show that our church is the church of God on the earth but that is not how we work. Obviously we share scriptures and stories and our own testimony in order to help people strengthen their desires and their faith to take action but they need to take their own action and read the Book of Mormon for themselves and pray and then they can receive that answer from God that we are promised. 

This week we also found another really cool investigator. She is a professional triathlete here in Pontevedra who gets to travel all around Spain competing in triathlons. We contacted into her late one rainy night and she seemed kind of interested, and then when we called her she was in Madrid for a triathlon and said she didn´t have time for the missionaries. Then about a week ago Elder Giforos sent a mass text to all of the contacts that we hadn´t had more than a first street contact with. She responded thanking us for not forgetting about her and that she would love to meet. When we had our first lesson with her she told us two great things first that if she receives an answer she´ll be willing to take the steps necessary to be baptized and second that she has a friend as well that she thinks would be interested in hearing our message. It was an amazing miracle in Pontevedra.

On Saturday we had our Rama activity which was super cool. One of our investigators came and we had ribs cooked over a fire up on a mountain which was really cool! I think that was when I realized how sad I would be if I had to leave this this area. (That night we would be getting transfer notices) We bonded with the members and our investigator bore a testimony up on top of the mountain right before our spiritual thought which was really cool! It was a really great day and ended even better when I found out that night that I would be staying in Pontevedra with Elder Giforos for another transfer and probably another after that because he goes home the end of this transfer. 

Sunday was a day of reflection for me. It was a great day, I gave a talk in church and that went well or as good as my broken Spanish allowed, but it was good to feel the Spirit. We still haven´t seen recent convert at church since his confirmation which is really sad because he can´t leave the family business to come. It is difficult and we just keep praying for him. After church and later that night we had an appointment that made me realize that the only thing that we can do as missionaries is invite. Even if people refuse to accept the message for themselves there is still nothing more that we can do. The Spirit can convey our message to the hearts of all but only those who chose to let it into their hearts will ever be truly converted. We all must look to see where our own faith is and not belittle others because of their mistakes or sins. Love is the key and there is no other way to help anyone besides love. This is something that I am trying to improve on. Loving everyone. It is super easy to love your friends and your family but when you have to love people that are making such poor decisions in their lives this is hard for me. I am grateful though that through the atonement of Jesus Christ my weaknesses can be made strong. This I believe with all my heart.

The work here in Pontevedra is great. We see miracles every day. I am so grateful to be here in Pontevedra at this time with my great companion. I am praying for you all and hope your lives are filled with the joy of the gospel that mine is filled with.

I love you all,
Elder Gustafson

My new little friend!

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