Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful mothers!! Especially to mine, Michelle LaMont, and the fantastic mother-figures in my life. I love you Mom! <3
Since Elder Zurcher doesn't care much for Aikido, we made arrangements to attend the gym here. The manager allows us to pay the monthly cost for six weeks because we are missionaries. I am so blessed by the Lord who gives me these small and simple blessings I can so easily take for granted. I'm really happy I've been able to go to work out over the course of this week! I don't need to lose any more weight or I'll blow away in this mad Kansas wind.
After emails last week, Sister Dahl and Elder Zurcher wanted me to join them in juggling a volleyball. I couldn't help it you guys... I just hit the ball like I would a soccer ball because I kept sending the ball flying every time I used my hands despite the practice I had junior year playing volleyball with friends at lunch. They didn't seem to mind too much.
The following story is in a present-tense because I enjoyed writing it.
When it is time to get to work on Monday, Elder Zurcher and I make way for Andrew Cervantes. Andrew is in the front of the trailer park playing basketball with a ten or so friends. Elder Zurcher and I show ourselves with a, "Hey Andrew!" Andrew seems really embarrassed to know us so we change tactics. "Can we shoot some hoops with you?" Andrew seems hesitant, but responds, "Sure guys." Tyler, a buddy of Andrew's, sizes me up. Tyler is just as tall as I, but he is ripped. He looks me in the eye, making it very clear he despises religion.
Some may say stupid, some may say fearless,
but I search his intoxicated eyes and boldly ask, "Why?" Tyler continues in defiance to tell me no man could ever get a single religion entirely correct. I vocally agree and Tyler is stunned. I explain Christ is the head of the church, a church to worship God. "What god?" he scoffs. I peer into his prideful eyes, staring at the soul of this lost brother of ours, saying, "Our Heavenly Father." It shuts him right up. "I like you!" he announces to me. Tyler hands me the basketball. "Here you go church-boy. We're shooting for captains." I put the ball in the air from distance immediately, and all that is heard is SWISH! One of Andrews buddies, awestruck, chimes "Did church teach you that?" I yell back, "Sure did!" Elder Zurcher and I play ball with them and dominate! I hear in the midst of the intensity after a rebound of mine, "C'mon Jose! White church-boy is jumping higher than you." My team won. Needless to say, Elder Zurcher and I left quite the impression, and I had a blast. Unfortunately since then, Andrew is no longer progressing, but I must say this was a cool experience!
First thing Friday morning, Elder Zurcher and I travel to Salina for Zone Training. One of the Sister Training Leader's trainings leaves quite an impact on me. Following her instruction, I close my eyes and visualize the Savior Jesus Christ. In my imagination, I stand in a plane of white. The savior sat upon a golden throne white as the whitest shade ever to be seen. His hair was white, His eyes were white, His white brow was alit with a white flame above His powerful eyes. The grandeur of His presence is indescribable, perfect. I imagine him walking the streets of Hays, Kansas alongside me. I hold back tears as I come back to reality, touched by the Spirit.
Within the next few days, I am shocked to read the following account of the Savior appearing to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland temple:
We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.
His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father."
It seems the Spirit touches our imaginations as well as our minds and our hearts. Never before have I read or heard of this account until after my experience in Zone Training.
I bear testimony of a Savior and Redeemer. Jesus Christ, the son of the living God. He loves and knows each of us. Of this, I promise you.