Saludos queridos famila y amigos!
A good week here in the warm winter Dominican Republic!
Wow, so it hailed in Gilbert? That's crazy, it sounds more like a touch of snow! Wow, is it still cold there in Arizona?
Bob (It's a long story, but "Bob" is the nickname we sometimes use for Scott!)hiked Picacho Peak? Sweet! I love that hike man! They have an old bridge that you cross at the top that is sweet! We went down there over spring break of my senior year just me and a couple buds and we hiked it, it was sweet! Haha, Scott acts like me? That's funny, because I think I've only shown a picture of our family to one Dominican, and they told me that Scott looks a lot like me! Haha, that's funny! (Scott went on his first overnight scout campout and one of the leaders who also went on campouts with Jeff in years past told Henry that Scott reminds him so much of Jeff on campouts.)
Thanks so much Mom! (We sent a package with another new pair of shoes and some other things Jeff needed.) We just got the transfer call this morning, and Elder Jackson is being transferred to an area in a zone called Osama, and I am staying here and a Dominican Elder named Elder Clausen is coming here. He sounds like an awesome Elder! And, you know how Elder McBride is in my zone, well, they are changing the districts up with this transfer, and Elder McBride is my new District Leader!!!! How awesome is that, to get to work in the same district with Elder McBride! Wow, how awesome!
This transfer will be awesome! There are so many people who are so ready to hear this Gospel here in La Cienaga, and I hope that me and Elder Clausen can find them and help them come unto Jesus Christ and receive even more blessings for the faith that they already have.
The Dominican People have so much faith, they are so ready to receive the Gospel, they just need to put their faith into this Gospel, and then they will receive the blessings that everyone is looking for in this life, lasting peace and happiness which come from the promise of Eternal Life.
We are working with a guy and his family named Enrique, and he is an awesome guy! He has had some problems with drugs in his life, and I think it may have actually had some lasting effects on him, but he is so awesome! It seems like every time we pass by his house, he is reading the Book of Mormon! And he is going to church and he asked us in one of our last visits when he was going to get baptized! I hope soon. They have a picture of the Temple in their house, and he actually ended up at the the Temple on accident this weekend while he was looking for a different building, and he really liked it and wants to go there in a year! Hopefully we can get that year started soon! They still have to get married, so we're going to have to start working on that next.
Two ladies showed up at Church yesterday that I had never seen. I didn't have a lot of time to get to know them because I had to talk to them in between hours of church and President Antivillo was at church with his wife. But, I got their information and later we went by and visited them. We actually met with them separately, and when we met with the second lady, she told us that they had been trying for some time to visit the Church. They had seen it and they had been trying to visit for some time, but every time they passed by, the church was closed. But this Sunday morning when they passed by, it was finally open, so they went in! Wow, how amazing that is, people who were literally looking for the Church! I haven't had very many experiences like that. One of the ladies is named Maria, and she has so much faith. She has lost several family members within the last few years, and she actually started crying when she was talking to us about them, but she has so much faith. She knows that it's all part of Heavenly Father's Plan, and she has faith in Him! Now she just has to use that faith to pray to know if this is the true Church and she can start progressing towards having the blessing of an eternal family in the Temple! What a privilege it is to be a representative of the Lord in situations like that!
I know that sometimes we have really hard times in our lives, and sometimes it just feels like we don't know if we can go on, like we're just worn out and done, the tank is empty, and we just don't know how we can go on. But when those times come and the discouragement comes with them, we can't give up. We have to remember the Lord, Jesus Christ and that He knows where we are. If we look, we will find Him standing next to us. He is always there, and He always knows how we feel. That helpless moment, that breaking point, the times when we just don't know how we're going to go on or how long this will last, in these moments of discouragement, helplessness, and maybe even hopelessness and loneliness, Jesus Christ is there, He is there and He knows how we feel. And Heavenly Father won't give us a trial that we can't make it through faithfully. We cannot be conquered if we have faith in Jesus Christ, for He has conquered the World. So whoever you are, and wherever you may be, don't you give up. Relief, peace, and your reward are closer that you think. Don't forget to pray!
I love to relate the Gospel to sports, and I was blessed during high school to get the opportunity to work with the schools football team, and I daresay that I've seen a few other football games in my life. I think one of my favorite analogies is what I call hitting the pile. Many times, in a running play, the ball handler will run into the opposing defense, but will not quite be tackled, just what we call stood up. Other defenders will fly in and try to aid in the tackle of the ball handler. There can easily be a situation with the ball handler being stood up with two or three defenders trying to tackle him. In this moment, the ball handler's progress is rapidly impeded and slowed down. But what the ball handler has to do is keep moving his feet. He should never stop moving his feet. Sometimes it seems like he isn't going anywhere, just staying in place pushing against a wall of defenders. But if he doesn't stop moving his feet, he can get one more yard. That yard can be the difference in a game. That can be the difference between a first down and a turnover, a touchdown or a field goal, a win or a loss. I think we can take a great lesson out this. When we hit the piles of defenders in our life, if we keep our feet moving, even though it's hard, if we keep walking, we will always win, because Jesus Christ will always push us that extra yard!
I love you all so much!