Dearest family and friends,
First off, HAPPY (almost) BIRTHDAY TANNER!!!! Wow, 12 years old! I hope you have an awesome day buddy! Sure love you!!
Well, I am now officially in my last transfer of the mission. Personally, I dont feel like I’m finishing… In my head, I know that I am, but I just cant register that fact right now! We went to Cusco on the 12th, and were there for the transfer meeting. I got my new and last companion, Elder Agazzani, from Cordoba, Argentina! Right were Devin was serving! Haha, but he is real cool, and is pumped to be here in Sicuani. He has 16 months in the mission, and is from the same group as my “son”, Elder Aguilar (when I trained him in Juliaca). We get along so much better than my last comp, and I'm so grateful for that. My last comp was trunky with a capital "T". Ahhh... But! Elder Agazzani is a great missionary with a good heart.
So, this week has been good! It went by really fast because of the transfers, but it was good nonetheless. Elder Ryan and I contacted a referral given to us by Elder Jensen who is here in the zone as well. We contacted her, and ended up teaching her in a big bus that her parents own. Apparently her house was a mess, so she asked if it could be in the bus. It was a great lesson/meeting we had with her. She wants so badly to just feel peace in her life. We found out that Elder Francis (a returned-missionary I know) and his comp visited her and her boyfriend one week, took out an appointment, and never came back. Francisco (her boyfriend) was especially touched by that visit, and was looking at the time and was expecting them any minute, but they never showed up. We are hoping to find him this week, seeing as he goes to his work (dont know where) for 20 days, and is home for 10, then he goes back for 20, etc. So we'll see how it goes!
Ayde and Miguel are progressing wonderfully!! They are always so excited for our visits, and said that they just feel better and happier after we visit. They werent able to attend church yesterday because they had to watch their little nephews and seeing that it was Fathers day, they were invited to Miguels parents house. They have committed to attend this week, and we are loving being there and to teach them! Miguel is originally a Catholic, much like most of the people here in Sicuani, by tradition. But he has opened his heart and is so accepting to our message. They fully embraced the Plan of Salvation, and Ayde feels so much better knowing that her mother is in a better place. Tonight we have an appointment with them, where we will talk about Chastity, and marriage. They said that they are willing to do whatever necessary that they may be baptized and be able to join the church. We are so stoked for them!
Fran, Miriam, and Lucero still have baptismal dates for the 23rd, this saturday! Lucero is still not too sure, but we asked her if she was praying, and she said that she wasn't every day. So we challenged her to pray, kneeling, and promised her that she would feel what she is laking in order to be baptized. I personally feel like there is something that she isn't telling us, and that certain thing is whats giving her doubts. Will let you know what happens. Fran and Miriam and golden for saturday. Roberto has to wait for his mother to get a certain document and then he has to do some things for his ID, but no, we havent tried to fast yet, I think that is a wonderful idea! We have actually been thinking about it. This week we'll do it.
I was reading in the Bible the other day, in John, and watched a devotional by Elder Holland that related to it. It was the part after Jesus was crucified, and Peter was the cheif apostle. After the death of Christ, the apostles looked to Peter and were like, “What do we do now?” And poor Peter, he simply not knowing what to do, said that he was going fishing. It was the thing that they knew how to do. So, he went fishing accompanied with John and some other apostles. They fished all night long, and caught nothing. Zilch. And the next day I could imagine they having been pretty tired and discouraged from not having caught anything were probably about to finish. But Jesus showed up on the shore, and called out (possibly saying), “Hows the fishing?” And they answered (not knowing that it was Jesus), “Not so great. We havent caught anything.” Then Jesus told them, “Cast your nets to the right and you will find.” Now, what do you think they were thinking at this point? They dont know who this guy is thats telling them this from way out on the shore, I imagine that at least someone could have said, “Oh right, get a load of this guy.” But, in their desperation, they did as he said. And when they did, they couldn’t bring the net in for the quantity of fishes that they had caught. At that moment, John looked at Peter and said, “It’s the Lord.” When Peter heard that, he looked at John, then back at the shore, and jumped overboard and started to swim to the shore. The rest of the apostles then brought the boat in, along with the net. And here, we see the thoughtfulness and love that Jesus has for them. He knew that they had a long night, with no luck, and knew that they must have been tired and hungry. So he made a fire right there on the beach, and cooked breakfast. Something so simple, yet so meaningful. Now, knowing that it was the Lord, Jesus looks at Peter and asks him, “Peter, do you love me more than these?” Meaning the boat, the nets, the fishes, etc. Peter then answers him, “Yes, I do.” Jesus then asks him a second time saying, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter, probably thinking well yeah, I just told you I do… Said, “Yes Lord, I do.” Now, Jesus asks him a third time, “Peter, do you love me?” Now Peter, feeling now pretty touchy about “3’s”, said a third time: “Lord, you know that I love you.” Christ then said to him, “Feed my sheep.” That is what He wants from all those who love Him. He didnt want the apostles to go back to fishing, to do the things of their past lives, he had already called them to leave all of that behind! When He had called them to the apostleship, He called them to change their lives. To not go back to the things they had done before, but to leave it all behind, love him, and answer the call with all their heart when He beckoned them, “Come, follow me”. The call is the same for those serving or who have served missions, or who are members of this church. We have received the call, and God expects us to leave behind our worldly ways and to follow His Son. We must loveHim! That is the first and great commandment, after all. I know that this work I am doing, alongside of thousands of other missionaries around the world, is the greatest that the world has ever seen. I know that this message we boldly bring is the most important message that anyone will ever hear during their lifetime. My time as a missionary has become short, but I continue to work my hardest until the end. I would like to ask you, the readers of this letter, if you love Him. Have we started and committed ourselves to a life dedicated to serve the Lord? If so, and if we love Him, then its a new life. Just like Peters. We can't turn back. Ever! All of us are missionaries, not just those who have the badge on their chest. "Feed my sheep." Its a call to us all!
I love you all so very much. Have a wonderful week!
PS, The pics:
22 - Me and Elder Agazzani!
17 - In the restaurant "Fuego", in Cusco on Tuesday for P-Day.
03 - Scenery in Pitumarca
PSS..... My flights are bought. I return home the 3rd of August!!!!! (Next week I'll forward my flight plans) Que loco...