"I was in that company and my wife was in it. . . . We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? ... we came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities. I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it... I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of god were there. Was I sorry that I choose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the mar time Handcart Company."
I am sharing this with you because in a real sense this is exactly how I have felt serving my mission. I distinctly remember my first Zone Conference in the feild and our Zone Leader who was just about to go home bore his testimony and he said, "you will look back at the end of your mission and realize that your Savior was right there with you the entire time." There have been times where I have thought otherwise, where I thought that I was so alone and then there are times, like this week, where I have completely felt the love from my Savior.
I had the most satisfying lesson of my entire mission thus far. HUGE MIRACLE. One day we are riding our bikes, I think it was the day we rode for 9 hours and came across this man fixing a big moving truck. We start talking with him and he is kind of interested in us coming back, but then says that his son needs Jesus. We try for days knocking on their door and calling them but there was excuse after excuse. Until Saturday.... we called and he cancelled, but rescheduled for Sunday. This pattern was kind of getting old. Sunday comes around and we show up at the house and the wife answers the door and informs us that Jesus (that's his name) was sleeping.... Wow. Shocker. She invited us in and what seemed like forever he finally came out. BEST RESTORATION LESSON EVER! They had been studying with JDubs, but something just doesn't tickle their fancy. The loved everything about it. Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the power of prayer. ALL OF IT!! *yes I am just a tad bit excited about this family* I also had a tender experience with them as I was really struggling with my spanish, some weeks I feel like a am progressing and others not so much. This week I am definitely at a plateau. Jesus could tell that I was struggling to find the words to say and looks at me and tells me how grateful he was for me trying my best and was going on about how much he appreciate me trying. After our lesson they invite us to eat with them... there was no way we were going to turn down some cuban black beans and plantains. During dinner he randomly asks us "so if my friend comes over could I have a beer with him?". No. No you can't. We whipped out a good word of wisdom lesson and they were a little hesitant about giving up coffee and the vino, but they said they are going to work on it little by little. Mmmm yeah we didn't even have to invite them to live it, they wanted to. I don't think I have ever met a more golden family. By the time we left there we felt like family. I'll be sure to keep you posted!
So yeah, tomorrow is Hermana Jacks and I hump day. We are celebrating by going to Chipotle. Also, we aren't trunky or anything, but who doesn't like an excuse to celebrate, let alone eat Chipotle. Vivan las fiesteras!!
We had a solid 24 people at church and were able to have 4 member presents this week which is 4 times the normal amount we normally get. Talk about blessings. This week we are shooting for 7. With all these people we are adding to our teaching pool there are going to be great things happening here in Kissimmee.
I think that's all I got for this week! The Church is true. CTR.
LOTS OF LOVE,