Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another week

Well family, I just spoke to all of you, and I guess I'll be seeing you soon? So I'll keep this one short but still give an update so Jessica/ Hermana Croft knows what's going on over here. So like I was able to tell some of you on the phone yesterday this week has been a good one but one full of ups and downs... Sunday was quite the crazy day, but in order for it to make sense I have to go all the way back to Thursday. On Thursday we went up to the Visitor's Center so Nick could see the temple, have his baptismal interview, and see the lights. It was quite the experience, especially since it took us about an hour and 40 minutes to drive there fighting city traffic, lets just say that I may be a little bit more of an agressive driver than I used to be, but it's necessary, it's one of those crazy driving worlds out there in Washington DC. Anyways, that was extremely frustrating with a couple of other frustrating experiences on the way as well, but after repenting of our frustration we had a very spiritual time at the Visitor's Center, so Nick was set for his baptism! Saturday we taught the Walters family and it was an incredible lesson as well, they were all excited about their baptism, the kids couldn't wait to "be mormon" and they were excited to come to church the next day. We left their house once again just feeling profoundly grateful for the opportunity to teach them. Sunday came around and we were excited for what was about to be an incredible day, the Walters family was going to be at church and Nick was going to have his baptism, it was going to be perfect! However, as usually happens, trials seem to come. Early Sunday morning we got a text from Alex Walters, the son, saying that they wouldn't be able to come to church that day... We were shocked but wanted to know why and after a few texts back and forth we got a call from the mother, and it was honestly the saddest phone call I think I have ever had on my whole mission. Like Dad once said, the hardest and most depressing thing that seems to happen on missions is when a family drops you. It's something I had never experienced and something I had hoped I would never experience, but the Mom called us and said that she just didn't think this was for her, that she just couldn't believe some of the doctrine and that she had made her decision to no longer listen to us or keep with the lessons.... It literally felt like a blow to the gut, we had no idea what to say and we just immediately began to pray as we spoke to her, trying to find the words to say. She agreed to let us come by again this week to answer some questions, and so we'll be going by hopefully on Friday... But it was honestly one of the hardest moments of the mission. All I could think about was this incredible family and fearing that they would never be baptized. It's strange how as you teach them you can just see their potential, that they were going to be incredible members, that they would have such a greater spiritual abundance, and that eventually they would go to the temple and be sealed. There were quite a few tears shed... I'm not sure I've ever cried over an investigator dropping us before, but this one definitely cut pretty deep. However, not all hope is lost, it's normal for people to have doubts and we are still praying and hoping, and we'll be fasting as well that they can feel the spirit as we speak with them and decide to continue. We love them a lot, it's crazy how you can come to love people in such a short amount of time. I feel that that is one of the things that has changed for me, that it's gone from caring about people to truly loving them. Sunday continued and it was the best and worst of times you could say. Nick's baptism was pretty incredible. There was literally an outpouring of the spirit and the hearts of his parents were touched as well as every single individual there. His parents are also now interested in what their son is learning. Nick was weeping as were most people in the room as talks and musical numbers were given. I've never seen him display that much emotion and it was just incredible to feel the love that was in that room. His father was also crying as he saw his son become a devoted follower of the Savior. It was a powerful moment, and I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to see Nick progress. He has a bright future and I can almost see him as a missionary, a father, a leader, and a priesthood holder. It also taught me a lot about the Savior and our Father in Heaven. For them, and hopefully for us, the sting of losing some of His children does not in any way diminish the joy that is felt at one of His children making it home. Nor does the joy of one returning diminish the sting of those who are making mistakes. I feel that He feels both individually and simultaneously in some inexplicable way. I guess it just means that His love, while all encompassing, is also incredibly individual. So, it was quite the incredible week. There were other things that happened, but that's the main run-down of it all. I was thinking that this would be a shorter email, but I guess not.
I would just say once again, though I know I've said it many times. I love the mission. I love living the gospel, I love the Savior. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to be able to serve Him and my brothers and sisters. It has literally been the most incredible experience I could have ever asked for. I have literally seen miracles daily, I have seen the hand of the Lord revealed in the lives of His children. I have seen the power of the Atonement as it has worked in my life and in the lives of so many. I testify that the Gospel is the "more excellent way" that leads to exaltation. I know and am confident that every one of us can make it back to the presence of our Heavenly Father as glorified and celestial beings. There is no greater cause than the one that we are a part of now, and that is spreading the gospel, whether to our families, friends, or strangers on the street, preaching the gospel is one of the greatest priveleges we can ever have. I know with a surety that the Book of Mormon is more scripture, that it was translated through the Prophet Joseph Smith by the power of God, and that it truly is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I feel that my testimony has been strengthened, and that my conversion has deepened. I will miss the mission, a lot, and thankfully it's not over yet. There are still many miracles left to be seen, and many more lives that still need to be touched, and luckily, the work will go on even when I'm not here. Still, I just hope that I can make the rest of life "real life" Missionary life.

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