[Editors' note: This is the second of two postings for Friday, March 10. The first appears below.]
Before all else, I want to wish [my little brother] Benson a happy birthday. Here in Mexico, the traditional birthday song is called “Las Mañanitas” ["The Early Morning,"] and it is usually sung very early in the morning to wake up the special birthday boy or girl. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wake you up singing on your birthday, but I did think about you.
You have now reached the age of accountability, and are starting it well, using your agency to chose to follow Jesus's example and be baptized. Everything that I do as a missionary is centered on helping people understand how important it is to make that same decision. Congratulations! I am sure it will be a very special day. I always tell people that they will feel a happiness and joy that they have never felt before, and I know that you will as well. . . .
As Benson competes eight years of life, I complete 21 months as a missionary. It is hard to believe--in fact, I don’t like thinking about it. But it has also been a time to evaualte myself and think about where I am, how far I have come, and how much further I have to go.
As I told (and showed) you in my other emails, today we went to some caves. I truly stand all amazed not only at the love Jesus offers me, but also at the beauty of His creation.
Ever since last week’s opportunity to attend the sealing of Eddy and Olga, I have been more excited to work with families than ever. My companion and I are teaching several families, including three part-member families. It is wonderful to teach families.
Last Sunday, the Lord blessed us with a "tender mercy" in church. The teen-age cousin of one of our ward members has come to stay with them for a few months to study and work. He came to church with them that day and that evening we taught him in their home. In the first lesson he accepted a baptismal date. His name is Jesus Chaides and is a good guy. He wants to come with us one day next week to see us work, and wants to go on a mission when he finishes high school. What a blessing!
Mom asked me in her email if there is something that I would like you to fast for. In the missionary handbook, it suggests that we not ask our families at home to join us in special fasts for investigators. But since you offer, I think it would be great for you all to fast for something that the Area Presidency asked all the members in Mexico to fast for as part of a quest to re-dedicate ourselves to the Lord:
- That the government leaders throughout all the world can make good decisions that protect their people and help the gospel to grow, and
- That the members of the Church throughout the world have the desire to be obedient to God's commandments.
In the months of November, December, and January, all the members of the Church in Mexico fasted together for those purposes, and I can see the wisdom in that fast as well as the other things that the Area presidency has asked us to do.
I don’t know how much you hear about what is going on here in Mexico. But I imagine that it is quite a bit. Just know this: I am fine, as are all the missionaries here. The Lord protects us when we are obedient, and as Joseph Smith said, “No unhallowed hand shall stop this work.” When I get home I’ll have some stories to tell, but for now, just know that I am well and am protected as are all missionaries.
I truly appreciate your prayers and fasts and thoughts and love.