[Editors' note: This is the second of two posts for January 6, 2009]
Breathe! I’m ok. In fact, I’m wonderful. Please forgive me for not writing yesterday. Yesterday we had a special event in the mission offices for all the missionaries here in the "city." It is an annual tradition in this mission that takes place around Christmas or New Year's. First, we had a sports tournament. We played soccer, volleyball, and basketball. I had a blast. I am not at all good at playing any of those sports, but I enjoy playing them anyway. After the tournament, we had a delicious meal followed by a mission talent show. Then we had a devotional where we listned to the testimonies of the "heroes" (those who are going home at the end of the transfer) as well as certain other missionaries who President asked to share experiences. Then President said a few words and we went home. We got home at 8:30, so we didn't have time to do any of the normal preparation day stuff, except clean the house a little bit. So we have today, until the 2:00 meal, to write, shop, etc.
This week has been a wonderful one. We have lots of people (including several families) that we are teaching. After the wonderful experience with Eddi and Olga, I am looking for more families to teach (as Preach My Gospel tells us to.)
The father of one of the families we are teaching is named Santiago. This last week we had a powerful lesson with him and his family. My companion and I had decided to read 3 Nephi 11 with them, because they hadn't had time to read it on their own. After reading it, I asked Santiago how he felt. "Wonderful," he said. "The word of God is so powerful. It is so smooth, yet so piercing. To be honest, when you have come in the past, I didn't really feel much, but this, the pure word of God, this is powerful." First of all, I was surprised at his obvious testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Second, I was reminded of Preach My Gospel, where it says that the Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is the most powerful tool that we have as missionaries. It was a lesson to me that I need to use it more in my teaching. Because like Santiago said, I don’t teach very well, my words aren't that great. But it is impossible to deny the power of the word of God.
Mom, you asked if there is anything I need. . . . Letters and pictures are all I really need and want . . . . With that said, I’m going to contradict myself a little and ask for [something]. . . . There is an Elder in my zone named Elder Valenzuela. He is from Peru, a convert of two years, and the only member in his family. He has been a missionary for nine months and not once has he received a card or letter or package, even from his family. During Zone Meetings, when the mail is passed out, he always goes to the bathroom. If you could send him cards . . . , I would be very grateful. . . .
Throughout the Earth, there is a famine. Not of bread or water, but of hearing the word of the Lord (Amos 8:11-12). People are searching for this spiritual bread, but cannot find it. As a famine is a matter of life or death, this is a matter of eternal life and death. Jesus Christ is the bread of life and the living water. If we come to Him, we shall never hunger or thirst. (John 6:32-35). Jesus Christ and His gospel is the solution to the spiritual hunger that exists in the world. God doesn´t want us to be in this famine, He wants us to feast upon the words of Christ (2 Ne 32:3). Blessed are we if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, for we shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. (3 Ne 12:6). My job as a missionary is to bring food to the spiritually hungry. There are many who are starving and who are searching for food, but they know not where to find it. I want to wear out my life helping them find this spiritual feast (D&C 123:12-14).
I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior in a very individual way. He truly is the Living Water, He has quenched my spiritual thirst. His gospel is the way to find peace, happiness, and purpose in life, no matter what problems we face. Joseph Smith is His prophet. This week we had an investigator ask us why we talk about Joseph Smith so much. I explained that we do not worship Joseph Smith, but we deeply respect him. The reason why we respect him so much is because God through Him, has put an end to the spiritual famine, has helped us grow closer to our Savior Jesus Christ.