|The tables at the Conference, super exciting seeing high quality decorating like this, it's been a LONG time since I've seen this :)|
This last week was super super interesting. I've been having a little bit of difficulty with taking as many people to church as I've been wanting, and the people that would get baptized have been running into a lot of problems as well. I've been super confused cuz I feel like I've been working really hard, we're teaching a lot, my companion is learning really fast and teaching really well, so I've just been confused up until now about why the results haven't been happening. Sunday was a difficult day, we had a 18 year old that was SUPER elect to be baptized, but as he was outside waiting for us to come get him and take him to church, his boss called him up and made him go to work :( He said he'd still be able to make it to sacrament meeting, but me calling every 20 mins or so and him not answering, he wasn't able to get out of work in time... It was a huge bummer cuz obviously he can be baptized this next week, but just from experience I've seen a lot of times that when someone isn't baptized on the original date that you mark, Satan puts EVERYTHING he's got into trying to stop that person from taking the step of being baptized. It's almost like the first time the investigator is always super super excited, but when something like this happens it takes a kick at their attitude and they kinda lose that original fire that they had. We're still working with him and I have total faith that he'll still be able to baptized this next week, but it's gunna be a fight for sure. But, that's what this work is all about.
Anyways, sunday and the other days were pretty difficult, we've been running home to get there before 930, running in the rain, wind, sun, doing whatever it's needed to teach everyone we needed to and get all of our appointments done, but even with the hard work, nothing was happening. Luckily though, the first of this week was zone conference. Since we only have it every 3 months now, they did the Christmas one even though it's november. It was kinda weird having it all christmas-y this early, but it was such a welcome happiness :D It's amazing the Spirit that Christmas brings, because singing a Christmas hymn and just seeing all the decoration, I got the best pick up ever. After an amazing lunch and everything, we did a deal where each companionship would go in the front, say 2 things they liked about their comp, and then explain about the story of 1 of their baptisms from the month of November, and then stick the picture on a paper Christmas tree as a "gift" to the Lord. It was amazing seeing how even though we hear, "Yay! The mission baptized 160 people this month!" or whatever, that every single one of these people has a story. It was so cool to see how every missionary out here is having amazing experiences and stuff... So cool.
I'd been praying really hard lately that the Lord could show me what I was missing in my work so that I could help more people be baptized, but hadn't been really getting my answer. As I was listening to the other companionships and the stories of the people that were baptized I started feeling a lot of promptings from the Spirit, and even though the words that I needed weren't being said, they were being felt. It was incredible. So with time I ended up learning exactly what I need to do, and I am SO excited for this next month of December!! I learned and was reminded that the Lord and his Atonement apply for each and every one of us. I realized that with time I had ended up only teaching and showing this for other people, and just with the passing of time and the routine of being a missionary, it was almost like I had forgotten that this applies for ME as well. Even though I have the opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord's hands doesn't mean that passing on the Atonement for other people deprives me at all from It. I actually get to enjoy even more the blessings that it brings!! I know that the Lord loves each and every one of us, and seeing the stories of over 100 of his children that were found and returned just strengthened how I feel about all this. I love this work so much... Thanks for everything family and friends, hurrah for Israel!!!
-- Elder Ballard
|I finished making this plan of salvation diagram, turned out decent I thought|
|Elder Santana, my comp|
|I don't know how luck was so good to us, but by chance the day we had conference all 5 of us MTC groupers were in the same meeting!!! It was SO good seeing them again.|