Saturday, September 10, 2016


View from our piso
It´s been a great couple of weeks here in the office. Lots of fun, running people around, finding new apartments, getting bills paid etc. We have been having a lot of fun. This morning, I sent a picture of a hand with some bloody knuckles to my Mother, forgetting to attach an explanation, and received the following email back.

Dear Elder,

Thank you for the enclosed photo of your bruised and swollen fingers. An explanation would be appreciated! :D

The Mother

I hope to be able to provide an acceptable answer that will also draw some gospel conclusions. This story begins when an MMA fighter was called as the new Assistant to the President. Elder Trantham loves fighting and is very good at it. He has his gloves with him. As we have talked he offered to teach me how to box. Of course, not being able to refuse the offer I took him up on it. We wake up early as a district to go out and play sports, futbol, frisbee, or basketball, while Elder Trantham teaches me how to box. We hit pads and so the only thing that gets damaged are my weak hands that are protected by gloves but still breaks open a couple of my knuckles. So what is the point in going out and boxing several mornings a week? The beauty of it is that my hands heal and as they are healing they become stronger. And not only my knuckles but the rest of my body. There is great power in the pattern of being broken down in order to heal again.

As I look over some of the lessons that I have learned and that I continue to learn there is a major theme. It is the idea that we must continually progress forward. And if we stop pushing ourselves along our Loving Father in Heaven will always be there to push us, to give us something that makes us return to progression towards Him.

Those that understand that sacrifice, or pushing ourselves, for good things is a requirement of happiness, are people that truly have found success in life. I see examples of them all around me every day. I see a Mission President who pushes himself every day to put on a smile and love those that he serves with and then goes home to be a dad all the while still dealing with the problems that exist in the mission. I see it in the ward mission leader in Talavera who even though he still has not regained full use of his hands, has gone and found five possible pisos in Talavera that he will be going to see in the next week because of a conversation we had about the needs of the missionaries there. I see it in our Bishop in San Sebastian, who along with consoling those that need comfort, worry about those that are of need in his ward, and all the other things he worries and thinks about has come up with a plan that is one of the most inspired teachings I´ve heard about how to help his ward members share the gospel. On top of that, on a day that he was prohibited from going to work by his doctor, because of an injury, went on splits with us to go and present his plan individually to the leaders of the ward. The list could go on and on. I am grateful for those that sacrifice to bring something greater to come to pass.

In conclusion, going out in the mornings to box is not a sacrifice, getting bloody knuckles is not a sacrifice when compared to the examples listed above, but it is similar in the idea that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. Boxing brings its rewards, being able to be more productive after a good exercise, feeling confident and not like a lazy bum sitting in an office chair all day, growing physically. The spiritual and temporal sacrifices like those of the men above, bring real spiritual strength into the lives of all those who sacrifice big things or small things for the Lord. My invitation for all of us this week is to find one way to sacrifice a little bit more for the Lord this week, so that we can become spiritually stronger.

Thank you for your examples of spiritual strength to me through your examples and letters.

I love you all,
Elder Gustafson

The office
District SanSe

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