Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 27, 2014

Hello, hello.

Hey Fam! What up?! Haha, that just made me think of something. So you all know that my companion is pretty new, but there is another Elder in our piso with us, who is also pretty new, only one transfer more than Elder Galeano, I think. The funny thing is that they have new slang that I don´t understand. Seriously, half the time I have no idea what they are talking about! And they just laugh and talk about how long I´ve been in the mission. I feel old. It´s weird! This is just one of the many things that makes me not want to go back to the US. Do you think they can release me here and I can just stay in Spain? You all can come visit me. . .

Buuuueno. So, news for this week. We have very few investigators. But! We set baptismal dates with 2 of them this week! Fue guay. First with Joaquin and then with Domi, the Dominican guy that I met in the metro. We had a really cool lesson with Joaquin where we talked about baptism and what it means to him and if he wants to be baptized. He said right away that he wanted to be baptized and then he explained to us what it means to him and it was exactly what baptism is. He talked about making a promise with God and about starting a new life. He is more than ready. He said too that he believes that it is really God´s church and talked about how amazed he is with all the church and it´s members have done throughout its history. He is fascinated by the church and he has a strong testimony. The only thing is being able to come to church because of Emilia. So we set the date for a little farther in the future, March 8th. I´m confident the Lord will provide the way for him to come enough times before his date. Sadly he didn´t come yesterday. Emilia just couldn´t make it. So we met with him last night, re-enforced the importance of attendance and promised the Lord would provide. In the end he came up with a solution. He decided that he would be able to leave Emilia alone for an  hour in order to come at least to sacrament meeting. The requirement is actually just that they come to sacrament mtg various times. And as he comes I know that with time he´ll be able to come to the classes as well. So we are pretty stoked for Joaquin.

Domi has also committed to be baptized, but he is having a bit of a challenge with it. We set the date for the 15th of Feb, but I think we will have to push it back because he still hasn´t made it to church. He is super good, we have had some really spiritual lessons with him, but for some reason he won´t quite accept it fully. I think he knows that what we have taught him is good and that it comes from God--like I said we´ve had some really spiritual lessons and I know he has felt it, you can see it in the lessons, but he is afraid, I think. I´m not exactly sure what of--making changes in his life, leaving the Catholic church, the opinions of his family. I think it´s his family more than anything. I think maybe they belong to other religions and maybe have been talking to him about other doctrines, or even disapprove of his meeting with us. I´m not sure, but we need to find out. He is such a good guy, such an example of charity to me. He always has a drink or food ready for us and it´s just obvious the love he has for other people. I want him to be able to accept the Gospel completely and continue developing the gifts he has from God. He definitely has desires to follow the Lord. Please pray for him to be able to overcome his doubts.

We also found Dilmer this week who is a miracle from heaven! We had one of the coolest, best lessons of my mission with him. Dilmer is an intellectual, a thinking man, which is cool because he is open to new ideas. He said right from the start that he had a lot of questions and one that he most wanted answered. He said that he´d met with a lot of different religious groups but that none could answer his questions well enough. His main question was: "if God loves us, why is there so much suffering in the world?" If I could tell you how many times I´ve heard that question in my mission. . .  And I´ve never been able to help people understand, unitl Dilmer. I´ve thought a lot about that question, because I´ve been asked it so many times. Here is my conclusion and what I explained to Dilmer. We know that we come to this earth to gain experience and learn and grow as people and sometimes that comes through trials. Also we know that everyone has their agency. Most of the suffering in the world comes from the bad decisions of other people. So the question then is, if God is just and loving, why does He let that happen. First of all He will never take away our agency, but He is also just. The key is that sometimes His justice comes after this life is over. And that´s why people don´t understand, they can´t see past this life. But, as I explained all that to Dilmer, his face lit up. He understood. He said that no one had ever been able to answer that question for him before, but that we had done it. Even better he said that as we spoke he felt something that he described by putting his two hands in front of his face and slowly opening them just a little bit so that he could see, just a little of the light. Illumination is the word. We testified that was the Spirit, that the Lord was revealing to him the truth. It was amazing to me, because it was both logical and spiritual. That has always been a foundation of my testimony of the Church, that it makes sense. It all makes sense to me, mentally and emotionally, in my head and my heart if you will. And it was amazing to see that happen in another person who I feel is similar to me. Sadly he also couldn´t come to church, but we are going to meet with him on Wednesday. Oh, he also said during the course of the lesson that he no longer wanted to do what he wanted, but what God wanted. He wants his life to follow God´s pattern. Talk about someone who is perfectly prepared for the Gospel. And you know what´s even better? He´s a husband and father of 4 kids who are here with him. So. Excited!

One other piece of news. Contrary to what you may believe, we did have an investigator in church yesterday. Her name is Patricia and we have met with her just once! We found her when we went to visit a less active woman and her 16 year old daughter. She is the woman´s sister and she just got here from Honduras. We didn´t focus too much on her in the lesson, more on helping the family come back to church, but the fact that she came yesterday shows that she has interest in learning about the church. I´m really excited, she already has the support of her niece who is amazing! They came together yesterday and she was helping Patricia out with everything. I feel like she will definitely progress quickly. We have a Noche de Hogar with the 2 of them and a member family tonight. Should be good. 

All in all we have some good things going on. Our numbers for this week look terrible, but my companion said that he feels like we are doing a lot more now that he did last transfer. They contacted a ton! and taught a lot of first lessons, but that was it. He said he feels like now he is actually helping people instead of just working. That makes me feel good. :) 

Alright, quickly, below is what I want to share for missionary month.

The thing that I learned from Missionary Month that has been the most help to me during my mission is the simple doctrine of the Gospel and being familiar with the missionary lessons in Preach My Gospel. The Gospel is simple and powerful and Preach My Gospel is the way to teach it so that it reaches people´s hearts. Study Preach My Gospel. Know the doctrine so that you can teach it simply and from the heart. And always remember that the spirit is what brings the message to people´s heart.
I have a huge testimony of missionary work and the power this Gospel has to change people´s lives. I know it is the Lord´s work and I plan to be a part of it throughout my life. I have also found more joy in this work than in any other thing in my life. My joy in missionary work comes from what Alma says in Alma 36:

 24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
 25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;
 26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.

I have felt the changing power of the Gospel in my life and there is nothing better than being able to share that with others. I love this work with all my heart. I would not trade my mission for anything in the world. I know better who I am, what God´s plan is for me and how I can be truly happy than ever before. Go on a mission. You will never feel a stronger love for your Heavenly Father and you fellow man. It will change your life. This is my testimony. 

I hope that that is what you were looking for. I hope it will help someone. All of it is true. I love this work with all of my heart. And I never want to stop being a missionary, in whatever way I can. Thank you for raising me in the truth, for giving me this opportunity to grow in incredible ways and feel love and joy like I´ve never known. Oddly enough, despite being so far away, my love for you, my family, has grown so much in my time here. I wish I could tell you some other way than just saying it over and over again, I love you guys so much!

With that, I´ll end. Take care, be safe, be good. I love you. Until next week. 

Elder Cousins

PS Here is a gorgeous picture of Madrid that Elder Moreland took. Save this, it´s going on a wall in my house some day. I love this city! 

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