So my new area is made up of two little pueblos called San Pablo and Zula, and a whoooooole lot of country! There aren't very many roads, just dust and dirt everywhere (hence, San Polvo, or Saint Dust). We have some investigators and members that literally live out in the middle of nowhere, we have to hike through all these open fields, and we can see their teeny tiny house from forever away. Crazy, man. My companion is Elder Antonio. He's been serving for one transfer less than me, lives a few hours away in Ixtapa Zihutanejo, and is one of the two members in his family of 11 (I hope that makes sense...). He has been a member for just over a year, but he loves the church and he knows the scriptures really well. He's a great guy, I'm really lucky to have him! District leading is so fun, I really enjoy it! I now have this renewed desire to be more obedient and serve more diligently and everything, I love it!
On Thursday, we had our mission wide Christmas, which was so fun! I got to see my mission dad, Elder Jimenez, as well as some other awesome mission friends. So great, I love these elders.
One thing I've noticed in my area is that there are lots of investigators who are progressing really well, and yet, they don't have baptismal dates. I'm not sure why, but we're gonna work on getting them prepared to make those holy covenants with God so they can truly enjoy all the wonderful blessings God has in store for them.
Alma 5:45-46; 'And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.'
I love this scripture so much! Just a little bit of back story, the prophet speaking is called Alma. As a youth, Alma hated the church and went about causing all sorts of iniquitous acts to be committed by members and nonmembers alike. One day, he was going around with his friends, the sons of Mosiah (who was a prophet and the king of the people at the time), when an angel appeared to them and told them to stop it. After much guilt and pain and sorrow, Alma repented and became one of the greatest prophets and missionaries ever.
Now back to the scripture. Notice he does not say, 'I know these things because I saw an angel. That experience never even enters the conversation. Instead, his testimony came from the witnesses of the Holy Ghost as he prayed and fasted to gain this knowledge. Some people say seeing is believing, but honestly that's a load of...well, it's not correct. To quote President Joseph Fielding Smith;“When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase.'
I love this! Things we see with our eyes are never going to be firm foundations for our testimonies, but the feelings of love and joy and happiness we receive when the Holy Ghost testifies of the truth to our hearts, THOSE experiences change us and make us better. I encourage everyone to do the same as Alma; that is, fast and pray for your own witness. As you do so with faith, I promise, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that you will receive your answer and that it will be a resounding 'YES!! IT IS TRUE!!'
I love you all! Merry Christmas!!!