Sorry in advance that this letter is going to be pretty short... but I just got to talk to y'all yesterday! I echo the sentiments of Mom and would have to say it was my best Mother's Day ever too!!! LOL. Thanks to the phone call yesterday I'm recharged for the next "couple of months"...
To everyone I didn't get to talk to yesterday and that I don't have your e-mail addresses, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! (a little bit late no más).
It is wild to think I've been away from home long enough to get pregnant AND have the baby... LOL. Almost 9 months y todavia sacando la mugre!!!
As I said last week I'm in Lo Ovalle 1 again as junior companion to a district leader, Elder Davenport, and loving the mission again. We have had a lot of success in the recent months in this ward (with baptisms 3 weeks straight) and we are currently teaching parts of 5 families (the other parts have already been baptized). I love this ward and the work here... as with all wards it has its problems that could easily be fixed (and hopefully will be), but the members here are ready and willing to work with the obra misional to help the Church to grow in this area. I'm grateful for the friendships I've made here and all of the service and support that we get from the members and investigators here.
Sunday Ian was confirmed a member of the Church and hopefully his mom will take the steps to receive her own baptism, soon. It is great to see a young man or woman accept the Gospel and be the pioneer in the family that in time helps the whole family to find all of the blessings that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has for them. We have been blessed to help these families start in that process and hopefully will be in the mission to see them finish it. With this sector alone, there are 3 families that are well on their way to receiving these blessings within a little over a year.
I can't put into words the importance of member missionary work and the blessings that come from sharing this Gospel. As the face of the obra misional, the missionaries are a little bit intimidating... we are (as Sean Gilmore said) a bunch of teenage "religious freaks" walking around in suits and ties all day knocking on people's doors wanting to talk about Jesus Christ. We dedicate all of our time to this... but sometimes that isn't what the people need. They need examples like them, people like them... their neighbors and friends, to share the Gospel, to share the blessings they've seen in their lives. In 2 Nephi 2:6-8 we read about the importance of the Atonement of Christ and our commission to share the Gospel:
6 - Wherefore, aredemption cometh in and through the bHoly cMessiah; for he is full of dgrace and truth.
7 - Behold, he offereth himself a asacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto bnone else can the cends of the law be answered.
8 - Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, asave it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who blayeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
We've heard countless times, "Every member a missionary". Recently in General Conference, President Monson spoke to us about the importance of sharing the Gospel with our friends and neighbors. The missionaries (us) can do the work alone, but it is not the best way, it is not as effective, nor is it the WAY OF THE LORD. We are all, every one of us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called to take this message "to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people." That is our commission... what are we doing about it???
I encourage each of every one of you to prayerfully select someone with whom you can share the Gospel (a friend, neighbor, family member, etc.) and to start the process of being a member missionary. Perhaps you could have a Family Home Evening with them and invite the full-time missionaries, or invite them to a ward activity... perhaps you could start a conversation about the Church, or give them a Church related movie... whichever way you decide... JUST DO IT!!! I promise you, you won't lose their friendship or their respect... if they reject you it will do nothing more than put a little bruise on your feelings for a few minutes until you realize that they will in fact grow in respect for you as you strive to share something that is important in your life with them.
The message of this great and marvellous latter-day work is for EVERYONE!!! We are to share it, regardless of what we think the reaction of our loved ones will be!
I love you all and am eternally grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve as a full-time representative of the Lord Jesus Christ for these two years and for the opportunity that I have every morning to wake up and put his name on my chest. We represent Him and we represent each and every one of you. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said in the last General Conference, “You are HIS hands.” We are the hands of the Lord, without us as members of the Church he does not work here on this earth... we must remember that and take the calling that each of us has seriously!
I love you all and miss you all! Also I look forward to getting more pictures soon and the package that y'all are preparing (with a big bag of Starbursts in it... *wink, wink*).
¡Todo mi amor y cariño!
-- Élder Todd