Speed walking. A great trait to have as a missionary. I think my grampy is a professional. Anyways, we were speedily walking almost running to a member/menos activo house to beat the storm that was coming in. I had decided to change our previous plans to go to this members house because we would be able to go inside and get out of the storm. Any second, the water was going to pour down. We made it just in time. As we were at the members house, we found out that their son was on on their way to the hospital. He was at his university, when apparently a super strong wind picked up a table and hit him in the head. The father was on his way so we were with the rest of the family. We read about Christ coming to the America's and healing the sick. We had a kneeling prayer and the spirit was definitely there. They were at peace with what was happening. They then gave us dinner.😊 Meanwhile, it was pouring outside. Oh, their son is doing good now. Nothing to harmful! Anyways, we didn't want to walk home in the rain..so we waited. And we waited and ate to long and left late, while it was pouring. So we started running home. We ran about 5 blocks, realized we were already soaked, weighed down by the dinner and decided to cross the street and hope for a miracle driver to pull over and take us home. We were a 30 min walk away from home and we left at about 9:30pm. So while we were walking we were talking about the miracle stories we had read or heard about missionaries in similar circumstances. Rest be assured, nobody stopped to take us. We were so wet. About 2 blocks before arriving at our house, we saw a car stopped in the middle of the road with 1 hazard on. We stopped to see if they needed help. It was just a nice plump man, about 35 with a car that would not start at all. The road was fairly busy so we helped him push the car to a side street. Then, we sat there looking at his engine talking with him. He explained that this never happened, but he thought he could fix it. Elder Parada (yes, Elder Parada is my new comp. We had changes on Sunday! I stayed in my ward, Campo Grande.) asked if he thought about saying a prayer. "Oh no no no. Its just blah blah blah". He tried starting it and surprise--nothing. This man was so clueless around cars(probably as clueless as I am). So he came back, began twiddling his thumbs in between wires. We asked again. Same response. "Fine, I thought. If you aren't going to pray I'm going to say a prayer in my head". I figured Elder Parada was doing the same thing. That morning I had just studied praying with faith and I said one of the most faithful prayers in my life. I said multiple actually. But I asked Heavenly Father to help this man continue on his way to pick up his son and get home safely, and to not perform this mighty miracle by his faith, but by the faith of Elder Parada and I. After I finished that prayer, I asked him to try starting it again. It had been about 10 minutes from the time we first found him. He decided to give it a try. 1st attempt. Nothing. 2nd turn of the key and the car started without a problem. That is the power of God. Elder Parada and I looked at each other instantly and just smiled. We had both been offering up prayers of faith and were yet again amazed by the power of God. The man sat in his car just revving the engine for literally 3 minutes after it turned on. He didn't need to, but we think he was just stunned. Nonetheless, he didn't want anything to do with us so we walked on home on cloud 9 from experiencing that miracle.
Other than that amazing miracle, we have also been blessed in our area. Unfortunately, the 2nd Joel moved to Limpio about 2 weeks ago. Forget to let you all know. But between Sunday and today, we found 5 new investigators which beats the amount of investigators we had in the previous 6 months! Hopefully they will have some baptism dates to report for next week! I will give you some more details next week...I wanted to talk about something huge I learned this week.
“How can I make my weaknesses strong? The scriptures say our weaknesses will be strong characteristics, so how can I do that?” That was my sincere question to the to the Lord right before personal study. I started by Reading 2 Nephi 32 (continuing where I currently was). In verse 3, it says to “feast upon the words of Christ and they will tell you all that you should do”. Okay..So that felt like the start of an answer. To turn my weaknesses into strengths, I need to study the scriptures more, conference talks, Preach my Gospel and so on. Great. But I didn’t feel like that was the entire answer, so I kept reading, verse by verse with my question in mind, searching for the answer. In chapter 33 of Nephi, I cam across verse 4, “And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them…” Wow. Nephi explains that he wrote his prophetic words in weakness? Yet when I read them they hit with so much power and truth! Okay, so what do I need to do to turn my weaknesses into strengths? It´s funny because up until now, I had the thought that after doing “whatever it is that I have to do to magically change my weaknesses into strengths” I would wake up one day in the future and my once-upon-a-time weakness would be one of my strongest qualities. I was still looking at my question searching for a good checklist to use in order to achieve this worthy goal! So I kept reading in verse 4, “for it persuadeth them to do good;…it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end which is life eternal”. “Hmm…maybe, just maybe, I had found my checklist” I thought. So using the 2 scriptures I marked, I made the connection—“feast upon the words of Christ for the words of Christ will tell you all things you should do” and now Nephi is telling me his words are weak but made strong unto me because they “persuade me to do good; speak of Jesus, and persuade me to believe in him, enduring to eternal life”. So my checklist to “personally change my weaknesses into strengths” is simply:
· Do good
· Believe in Christ
· Endure to the end (encompassing the commandments and gospel of Christ of course)
Well great! Now I know what I need to do, right? Wow I was so equivocado! Then, the little “a” by “fortes” in the Portuguese translation of the Book of Mormon caught my attention. I moved my eyes to the bottom… “4ª Éter 12 26-27”. “Yeah, I've read that. If I do what’s right I can turn my weaknesses to strengths. That’s where my question started” I thought. You see, I wasn’t completely satisfied with my “checklist”. It was pretty vague and the “endure to the end” box…man I won’t be able to check this “checklist” off until I die! That’s kind of lame… So, I was stuck. I decided to read Ether 12:26-27 again. But first, I want to mention that in verse 23 Ether cries unto the Lord, “Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things because of our weakness in writing…” and he continues through verse 25 about the weakness of writing. Two prophets stating that the scriptures we study today were written in their human weakness. Christ responds in verses 26 and 27 stating,
“Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them”.
And then I realized what I had completely misunderstood from this scripture. Yes, yes it does promise that our weaknesses will become strengths. But it doesn’t require that we do a mountain of things to change them. Christ give us the perfect instruction:
· Be humble and come unto Christ
· Have faith in Him
That is it! It is not something that requires me to stretch my limits and do everything to be perfect, no. Christ will make my weaknesses become my strengths. Not I, but Christ. I can’t do it, but Christ can because His grace is sufficient.
It reminds me of a speech on Lds.org from “Hope Works” called “The Perfect Lie”. The perfect lie is the following:
Me + More = Christlike
Satan uses this impossible equation to make us feel like we need to be more faithful, more patient, more loving…to be Christlike. When in fact, I will never be exactly like Christ because He was perfect his entire life. But Satan made me think it was possible. If I could do more good, be more diligent, then I could turn my weaknesses into strengths and be more like Christ. But Tiffany Webster shows us that Christ’s equation, the perfect equation, is the following:
Me + Christ = More
If I am humble, have faith in the power of my Redeemer, He will turn my weaknesses into my greatest strengths because He i son my side, and His grace is sufficient.
1-P-day.....for everyone else. But its cool because my friends come and visit me!
3-A video of a normal thing that happens in Paraguay...When it is mango season, there are 10,000,000,000 mangos. When it is strawberry season, every corner is filled with a vendor selling them for the same price. And there are certain places dedicated to sell certain things. For example, this video. If you want to buy a chair, you just have to travel to the ruta in Luque and you can buy 1 of 5 models from 1 of 100 vendors for the same price.