Wow it's been quite a week. I'm learning so much about my callings. It's not been a walk in the park for sure, but I've been having a lot of fun...
... As you can see.
Working with Elder Wood is a different experience from any other companion. Moments from, "Alright let's try this one more time, you can do this," to "Woah, dude! You definitely can NOT do that. What are you thinking?" But wow, it's such a rewarding experience to see him grow. What a stud.
As a District Leader, I also have to spend a lot of time with the zone leaders. Reporting, accounting, taking orders, asking for help, the whole nine yards as they say. It's way different than doing these things to a district leader as a 'foot soldier': passing the phone to your companion saying, "Your turn to talk to the DL tonight." I don't have a companion that shares district leader responsibilities. It's helped me to realize just how not alone I am. The Savior is helping me, and I'm depending upon Him now more than ever before. Times are getting harder, but it the times are even better. I've been under stress to the point I'm about to crack, but I've been amazed again and again to have the burden upon my back lifted, and to find strength in the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
This is a picture of Christ we have been given by the mission. The plaque reads 'Come Follow Me'. Such a simple phrase, yet, the most powerful commandment we could be given.
I have a great story followed by a wonderful announcement.
Yesterday, fast Sunday, Javi sits with Elder Wood and I. A young boy named Cael Crosby approaches the pulpit and delivers a powerful testimony of the awe inspiring creativity of the Almighty God. The "most incredible architect in the world," he says. A testimony so powerful, it stirs the heart of Javier Cervantes. Javi leans to Elder Wood and whispers, "I want to do that. But... I don't know what to say." I listen intently, waiting for Elder Wood's reaction, praying Elder Wood will feel the same inspiration that if Javi reaches the pulpit, the Spirit will fill his heart to the maximum. I knew this would be an incredible opportunity for Elder Wood to grow. I allow him to encourage Javi without my help, pretending to be oblivious. Elder Wood responds to Javi, "I will go up with you so you won't be alone. You'll know what to say when you are up there, I promise." This simple encouragement and testimony is enough for Javi. He stands and moves toward the front of the chapel. At this point, I'm shaking. I'm such a nervous wreck, my suit is wearing me. What on Earth is he going to say?
Javi reached the pulpit and began, "I am so glad to be here. And I never would be here if it weren't for Elder LaMont and his companion. I remember, when they first approached me, my mother had asked me to take out the garbage. I really did not want to. I reluctantly made my way outside and saw two well-dressed young men. I immediately recognized them to be missionaries. My eyes met theirs, and I knew I made a mistake. I began to say in my mind, 'Please don't come over, please don't come over, please don't come over.' Well, they came over. I bared my teeth as I responded to their questions. I figured I will allow them this one chat and they'll go away so I can move on with my day. They asked for my number. I was very hesitant to give it to them. Over the next few weeks, they kept calling me, and texting me and texting me. They are SO persistent! When they invited me to church I responded 'Some day.' There came a Sunday I had a clear schedule so I accepted their invitation. When I had come, I started to realize... I have never been more comfortable in any other church. Even though I was in a church where I knew no one, I had no clue what I was doing or what I got myself into. Now I know this is where I need to be. I love this church. I know this church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Sister Pederson and Sister Wall shoot me looks and grins while this happens. I smile with a great big lump in my throat and choke on my words when Javi returns to his seat, "Great job, buddy," I say. What an amazing feeling in my heart.
JAVI IS GETTING BAPTIZED!
The service will be September 10, 2016 at 10:00 am. Javi has been investigating for months, and the entire ward couldn't be more excited. The world just became a better place to live, and the heavens are celebrating.
What incredible joy.
I can't wait to tell you all about it. In the meantime, I thank you for your prayers, your help, your thoughts, your service, your faith, your support. You're wonderful people. I'm so lucky to have all of you. THANK YOU!