Monday, April 4, 2016

The Best Week

Zone Conference with President and Sister Pack

April 4, 2016

This may have been the best week of my mission. Starting with Zone P-day and then Zone Conference on Monday/Tuesday, then an intercambio in Pontevedra (the area where I started my mission), then the baptisms of Iris and Jose Antonio, finishing with an amazing General Conference! I have been blessed this week. Thank you for letting me share these experiences with you!

In zone conference we talked all about growing the faith to find new people to teach. That is one of the biggest struggles in our mission, probably everywhere as well, we have been really focused on how to more effectively find. How do we improve how we contact? 1 be yourself, don't pull a hi I'm a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ and we would like to share a message with about once every hundred people, 2 have or develop the faith that the Lord has prepared people and will bring you into contact, 3 talk with as many as possible every day, and 4 recognize the hand of the Lord, in your efforts to find, every day in prayer. Essentially have fun being a missionary, trust in the Lord, work, and return and report. It was a conference spiritually uplifting.

Then, an intercambio in Pontevedra! Wow what a blessing! We are on opposite sides of Galicia but thanks to my companion who had to do an intercambio with the district leader down there, made an exception and let me go down to Pontevedra and what miracles we saw! First I got to meet with Victor (African investigator who got baptized after I left). He has been inactive in the recent past and we went and talked with him. At the end of the lesson he told us, "I will go to church this Sunday, but I will not go for you or the missionaries or President or the members. I will go because I need to and God wants me to." We were very excited! Then the following day we met with Pili, one of my favorite people here in Spain, who is still investigating. She has recently left off of meeting with the Elders but she has recommitted to rereading the Book of Mormon every day (she has already read it once) and to continue searching for an answer to her questions! At the end of the lesson she said, "I believe that one of the reasons you came back up to Galicia was to help me get back on the path." Yes! Yes! Yes! She's coming back around! That alone might have made my week the best week ever, but it gets better.

The baptisms of Jose Antonio and Iris! What joy and happiness does someone feel when they get to participate in such an incredible step. When Jose Antonio came out of the baptismal font and I got to give him a hug in his dripping wet clothes what joy! The Lord has been good to me. I feel like I have done very little in the teaching of this family as I just arrived a couple weeks ago but have received a pay day that was sweeter than any monetary payment could ever bring. I am grateful for the efforts of the many missionaries who have passed through teaching this family it is thanks to them and the Lord that I had the privilege of being there.

Finally, General Conference was the best I have ever been to. It is such a blessing that we have to be able to hear the words of God as they are shared by His prophets and apostles. There were several key messages directed towards me in the conference, among them: the importance of prayer and its relationship with power, putting your desires behind the needs of others, and knowing who you are and the authority that you hold. Thinking about this last idea as it applies to missionaries, the keys of the gathering of Israel restored to the prophet Joseph Smith by Moises allow me and all other missionaries of this church to not only represent the church but also to be representatives of Jesus Christ, something that no other church has regardless of how extensive their missionary program is. These are just a few of the treasures that I loved about General Conference. I hope that you were able to watch and enjoy of the recharging spirit of the conference.

I love you all!
Elder Gustafson

Reunion with my awesome Pontevedra Friends

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