Mommy & All,
"We dont do these things because they are easy, but because they are hard." -John F. Kennedy
First off I want to my bro Dustin Harris out there in New Bern, North Carolina to know I'm thinking about him. I'm praying for you every night big bro and I know how strong you are. I know your Dad passing away has to be so hard that I cant imagine it. But with the knowledge that you have, the knowledge that you taught me about the Plan of Salvation during the time we have together, I know you know it will be okay. Prayers up to you out there in NC big man. Keep on fighting the good fight.
This week was pretty good. We were able to get to Perito so of course my comp wanted to go visit his buddy Raul again haha. So we got there and started talking about baptism. It was a really interesting conversation. We started off talking about how baptism is really important and he agreed with us, but said of course he had to be ready. He also asked me about baptizing in the lake. It seems for some reason, not very many people are very fond of getting baptized in a lake of glacier water here as we are starting winter. So the first question that came to this guys mind was if the baptism would be with or without clothes. My comp and I both held back a nice laugh and told him with clothes for sure. Then he looked at us with a little grin and asked if lots of people would be there and we said quite a few. Then he asks if they'd be with or without clothes. This time my comp and I looked at each other and died laughing and Raul gave us his sly old man grin. Then he tells us that the water would be really cold so when he'd get out, he would have to change his clothes and all the girls would be right there and they'd watch him change because there would be no where else to do that. We promised him that wouldn't happen. Then he looked me right in the eyes and asked me the most interesting question of my mission. He asked "Well why wouldn't they wanna watch me change my clothes..?" So after I recovered from the laugh attack that soon followed only because it was Raul, I asked him if he'd take a pic with me so I could document the moment and he happily accepted. This guys is 71 yrs old, has 4 kids and like 9 grand kids and he asked me that question haha. Also as I mentioned before, he smokes quite a bit. We have talked about the Word of Wisdom with him a ton but it doesn't really sink in. So just out of curiosity, I asked how long he'd been smoked. He told me "oh not very long, just this last little bit after I got separated from my wife." I asked how long ago that was and he said 40 yrs ago. So its a bit of a challenge for him. I think now he might be the most interesting guy I've met thus far haha be he is a nice guy.
Also in Perito, AnaMaria is super ready for baptism. With the way we do things here, we are in Las Heras for, and then the next we are in Perito so we do the every other week thing. So its sometimes hard to get investigators to church when we aren't there. She is the only one who goes to church when we aren't out there and she really likes it and its been awesome to see. But we've already invited her to be baptized twice and she's said no both times. We think part of it is the freezing lake as well. but we honestly aren't sure what the other part is. So we are praying really hard to know what to do for her.
So yesterday we had District Conference in Caleta. They don't have enough people to make it a Stake, so its still a District. They talked a lot about the Atonement and it was great. There were 2 stories, 2 analogies given yesterday about the Atonement that I loved. The first went like this: There is a person sitting in a closed off room. They are spiritually hurting. There are a bunch of cards in the room. This person takes the cards, and one by one, writes every sin they've ever committed from their littlest to biggest. At the bottom of every card, they sign their name. Then they put all the cards in a box in the corner. Then the person says that they have to lock themselves in this from forever and cant ever leave because of all the bad things they've done. Right before they go to lock it, there is a knock at the door. The person says "please be anyone but Jesus." They open the door and its Jesus. The person walks to the other side of the room and sits in the opposite corner as the box. Jesus walks in and looks at the person, and then at the box. Then He walks over to the box, opens it, and starts reading every sin this person has ever committed out loud. The person starts crying and asking Jesus why He has to do that. Jesus looks at the person, and without saying anything He walks over and puts his hands on their shoulders and cries with them. Then He goes back over and takes every card one by one, and signs His name over the name of that person in red. In His blood. Then he looks at the person and says "Its okay. You no longer have any shame, guilt, or pain. I've taken that from you. You are free to leave, free to go. And I must leave as well. I have more cards to sign..." That one really got me.
The other one was this: There was a boy who wanted to ask the prettiest most popular girl to the school dance. The girl knew this and didn't really want to go with this boy, but didn't want to have to say no. So she told him he had to bring her a red rose and then she would go with him to this dance. Well she gave him the impossible task, because there wasn't one red rose in all the town. This boy had a bunch of white roses in his garden, but knew that wouldn't be enough. The boy had a little pet bird who flew around everywhere with him. This little bird loved this boy more than anything and hated seeing him hurt and sad. The little bird knew the boys problem and did everything he could to find a red rose, but was unsuccessful. But this little bird was willing to do anything. So one night while the boy was sleeping, the bird left the house, and went outside to the garden. It sat down on one of the white roses and made itself bleed. The next morning, the boy got up, and saw this perfect red rose in his garden. He was so excited that he just grabbed the rose and ran to school, not wondering how it got there or where it came from. He also didn't see his little pet bird lying under the rose in a pool of its own blood. So when the boy got to school, he sprinted around looking for this girl. As he ran by the basketball court, his best friends were playing and told him to come and play. He told them no at first because he knew he had a goal to accomplish. But after looking for a minute longer he started thinking again about his friends all playing and having fun without him. He looked at his friends, then looked at the red rose. Then he said to himself "She really didn't want to go to the dance with me anyways." So he threw the red rose aside and went to go play ball with his friends. So the little bird is Jesus Christ. The boy is all of us. The rose is the Atonement. The friends and the basketball game are the things and temptations of the world.
I learn new things about my Savior Jesus Christ every day and its incredible. Salvation isn't easy and it isn't free. We will never have to pay like Christ did. But we all have to pay at least a little of that price. And that doesn't always mean we have to hurt. A lot of the time it will be giving things up that we really want to do or have. Yet we didn't come to earth to suffer, but to learn how to progress and learn not just now, but eternally.