I can´t believe 2014 is coming to an end. I remember a year ago in my mission like it was yesterday. On New Years Eve we ate dinner at a member´s house, who gave us little party hats and noise makers. Afterwards, we were walking down the street (with our party hats on because we forgot to take them off… although we quickly remembered afterward) when we saw the opportunity to serve a lady who was moving things from her car. We helped her move a bookcase into her house and she consequently became an incredible new investigator. However I was transferred three weeks later and now I have no idea if she got baptized or not.
It is crazy to think that an entire year has passed since that night, and I can´t even begin to recount all of the miracles that I have seen happen in the year of 2014. But looking back, I am grateful for the growth I have seen in my life. I think it is the year I have grown and matured more than any other year in my entire life.
This week was difficult. I related a lot with Joseph Smith in D&C 121. I mean, I haven´t been in prison for nine months nor have my family and friends been persecuted and oppressed, but all the same I felt many of the same feelings he expressed in that section. Most of our marked baptismal dates besides one fell through, and most of the people because they don´t want to learn more about the church. People who have received answers that the Book of Mormon is true, people that have literally had dreams that they need to be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ rejected the greatest gift they could ever receive. And many were SO CLOSE to receiving the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. One girl, after going to church, told us “Even if this church is true and is the only way to return to have eternal happiness, I think I would prefer Hell”. We received many responses like that this week, and each time it felt like someone was stabbing me in the heart. Because I know the gospel is true and I disdain hearing people speak poorly of the church. But also because I love these people dearly and want so badly that they have the blessings of the gospel.
Also, as you may have noticed talking to me on Google Hangouts, I was starting to lose my voice. I spent the rest of the week without any voice whatsoever, making it literally impossible for me to contact people in the road or teach lessons. If only I knew sign language. But today my voice is already mostly better and I know that this week will be better.
As The Lord said to Joseph Smith, “All of these experiences will be for thy good”. And I know it is true. If Satan is trying this hard and throwing this much opposition in our path, it is because he saw how much potential we have to do good with God´s help. He would love it if Elder Padilla and I gave up now or got discouraged, but we won´t let that happen because that would just weaken our faith and our ability to help others.
I think that is what I learned this week.
It was fantastic to talk to everyone this week, even if I didn´t get to see everyone. I don´t even think I talked to Ryan (sorry!). Thank you for the awesome package, Mom. The family photos and history are incredible. And thank your for the pictures of my baptism. It was a blessing to see Grandma and Grandpa Koetitz as well as Grandpa Mooney in the picture.
Also, President Dalton wants me to tell you that my return date is JUNE 17, 2015. I know, A WHOLE MONTH OF MY MISSION GOT CUT OFF! President Dalton said there is a possibility that I could stay another transfer and come home JULY 29, 2015. He told me to ask you (my family) which you would prefer, June 17th or July 29th. Although it isn´t “for sure” that I would be able to stay until the 29th, just a possibility.
On another note, the mission secretary said that in order to go to BYU-Idaho Fall of 2015 I need to have everything taken care of by February. Just let me know what I need to do!
AMO TODOS DE VOCÊS!!! FELIZ ANO NOVO!