Monday, June 15, 2015

The Sower

Sunset over beautiful Pontevedra from our piso window

What a great week here in Pontevedra. We have been really busy which has been really good. I love being busy but it makes the weeks seem to fly by. News from this week: we received iPads and have been able to use them to teach and to study which has been really cool. I love being able to share videos in lessons or quotes from talks from the apostles and prophet. There is a great spirit that is brought in as we watch the bible videos made by the church detailing the life of Jesus Christ. I love being able to show part of His life and testifying that He lives and that we are part of His restored church! This is why I love the iPads because they help us testify of Jesus Christ and share our message in a more relatable way. (Also the camera is really good and we can capture the sunsets that we see each night from our piso window.)

This week in my personal studies I have been studying the parables taught by Jesus Christ during his ministry. One of my favorites is the parable of the sower which talks about a sower, someone who plants or sows seeds in the fields, and the types of earth where the seeds fall as they are sown. I love this parable because of how I can identify with it as a missionary and as a disciple of Jesus Christ. There are four types of earth where the seed or message of the gospel falls. The first is the hard trodden path where the seed falls but cannot take root and is eaten by birds. For me these are the people that we talk with in the street who are content with what they have in their life not wanting to improve or change anything to better their lives. These are the same people who lack faith to take action. The second type is those who land upon rocky soil. They grow in the gospel but when they encounter any difficulty they give up wither and die because their roots in the gospel where not strong. The third instance is those seeds that fall among the thorns. The thorns can be the things of the world. The seed is in good soil where things will grow but gets caught up in the things of the world and is cut off from the gospel. The fourth type is those seeds that land in good soil. In the good soil they can grow and receive nourishment in the gospel, but even still some seeds bring forth 30x, others 60x and others 100x. As a missionary I have the opportunity to see all four types of soils and it is a great blessing because it has helped me to see that those who have the most happiness are those who are trying to produce 100x the grain. They are giving their all to the gospel and trying to help others. As a disciple of Jesus Christ I love this parable because I can look at where I am spiritually and make sure that I am in the good soil, have the good roots to overcome the trials that will surely come, that I do not let thorns grow around me even if they don't appear to hurt me, and that I am trying to produce 100x what I am. In "Jesus the Christ" by James E Talmage he writes of this parable and says "In the parable we are considering, the Teacher depicted the varied grades of spiritual receptivity existing among men, and characterized with incisive brevity each of the specified grades. He neither said nor intimated that the hard-baked soil of the wayside might not be plowed, harrowed, fertilized, and so be rendered productive; nor that the stony impediment to growth might not be broken up and removed, or an increase of good soil be made by actual addition; nor that the thorns could never be uprooted, and their former habitat be rendered fit to support good plants." Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can always change. We can increase our soil and be producing 100x what we are. 

Other news this week we had a great couple of  lessons with Julio a joven (young) kid that stopped us in the street. He has desires to learn and to find the truth in his life. We also found a woman in the street named Pili. She is a teacher for the Catholic Church. It was really cool that as we were teaching her and answering her questions it was apparent that light bulbs were going off and she understood that which we were teaching in her heart. As we taught her about receiving an answer from God about which church is true she realized that she was going to have to visit our meetings. Even better than that though she came to church on Sunday with her son! It was really cool to see her there and we are excited to meet with her again! Victor wasn't able to come to church this week which was really sad but we are hopeful that as we continue to teach him he will feel of that Spirit again and have that desire to come. I could go on all day about the great people that are here in Pontevedra but we don't have time for that. I know that the Lord is guiding His work here in Pontevedra and that he has prepared people to hear the gospel. 
We have also been teaching an 8 year old boy whose sister has been bringing him to church but whose mother is less active. It has been really fun to teach him and get to become friends with him. His baptism was on Saturday and it was a really great experience. Always at baptisms there is a great spirit testifying that the step that that person is taking is correct. I love being a missionary for those days when we get to see another person taking steps to come unto Christ.

I love you all,
Elder Gustafson

We went to the concert of our ward mission leader as our cultural
event (we get one cultural event approved by President Jackson). He
played the piano and his friend sang.
This is us with the Serranos.


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