This has been quite an interesting week. I hope I can do it justice in the little time I have to write today.
As you may have calculated, next Monday will be transfers (each one comes more quickly than the last). So this week we have been busy working on the sacred process of changes with President Mendoza.
When we do transfers, we always start at the top. As Elder Olguín is finishing his mission, this means that our first decision would be my new companion. We were blessed with a hard choice between about eight missionaries. After about an hour of discussing and praying, we narrowed it down to two: Elder Crisostomo and Elder Dudley. We had a hard time choosing between the two, but, because we would need someone who would stay beyond the arrival of the new mission president and form the bridge between him and president Mendoza, the Lord chose Elder Crisostomo instead of Elder Dudley. (Elder Dudley goes home in June, with my generation, whereas Elder Cisostomo goes home in July, when I will go home since I have extended.)
It is interesting how the Lord works. All this week we have been receiving messages about missionaries who were going to arrive and then didn’t, and there have been some questions about who will be going home this transfer and who will be staying. At the end, it turned out that 20 heroes will be going home and 15 valiants will arrive.
Those numbers mean two things. First, there were lots of transfers to be made, and since most of the heroes are leaders, lots of new leaders to be assigned. Second, since we currently have an even number of missionaries, losing 20 and gaining 15 means a deficit of five, which means closing three areas and having a trio in the mission. When there is a trio, President Mendoza prefers a trio of assistants—which means that I will have two companions, Elder Crisostomo and Elder Dudley.
I would have never dreamed that Elder Dudley, my BYU friend, and I would be companions, much less as assistants. But it was the Lord´s will. I did everything I could not to let my bias as his friend get in the way of my suggestions to President Mendoza, but it was the Lord’s will, not mine. I am excited for this new transfer. We have lots of great things to do together.
Elder Crisostomo is from Veracruz. He is a convert, having joined the Church about a year before leaving for his mission. After working with him this week, I can tell that he is a great person. Elder Dudley I met a year before my mission in BYU, and can say that even in his pre-mission life he was obedient to the Lord’s commandments, and was a knowledgeable, spiritually sensitive leader.
As I said, the Lord’s will is always made manifest when we do transfers. There were a lot of difficult decisions to be made this time around, as many new leaders were to be called. But the Lord helped us. It was interesting that we received phone calls from missionaries to inform us of situations just when we needed more information about certain missionaries to make our decisions. The Lord is involved in this work.
Even though we have been busy with transfers, our time in the area, as always, has been great this week. When we went out on Wednesday, for example, we taught two families. The first was a man who we found in the area book, a man who had investigated the Church before. We found him and his new wife, and it was as if they had been waiting for us.
Before they got married, she was a member of a Church called “La Luz del Mundo,” which as far as I know only exists in Mexico, but is a growing denomination. Upon marrying her “Gentile” husband, however, she was basically kicked out. Together they are looking for the truth, and a church to attend together. He had told her about us, but she didn’t want to know more because of what she had heard about polygamy and the like. After our visit with them, however, in which we answered their questions and taught about the Restoration, she told us that she wanted to learn more. They will be accompanying us to church this Sunday.
The other family is a part-member family. The mother of the family is less-active and her husband and children (ages twelve, nine, and six) are not members. We started the lesson with the mother and her children. Following a suggesting from Elder Holland, we talked about the Atonement and the sacrament and invited them to church.
About halfway through the lesson, the father arrived, and we taught him as well. It was a very special feeling as we taught the whole family. I had a vision in my mind of them being sealed in the temple. This next Tuesday we are going to have a family home evening with them. I love teaching families!