(this is me talking to my Mom on Mother's Day - that's dad's laptop on our kitchen counter in San Marcos, CA)
I just saw and talked to you all yesterday. It was pretty weird to be honest. I didn´t feel like its been 5 months since I last saw you all (Christmas time Skype). Sister Lucresia and Sister Leva were so happy to see you all! Lucresia told me that I should send a "hello" to my family from her, and when I told her pretty much like, "Why don't you just tell them yourself?" she got SO excited. Just so you know, they both took showers and put on really nice clothes just so they could skype with you. =) They are so great, seriously. I love them to death. I was just telling Elder Williams about how lucky he is to have this as his first area. The people here can be pretty tough, I'll be honest, but we find good people. The members are all nice, they all have such great hearts. Its a small branch, and we only have a house of prayer (there's no chapel or anything) we get by with what we've got.
The President is great, we were talking with him last night about the branch, and we really were on one wavelength it was cool. He totally understands us, and as we talked about what we could do to help the branch, the members, and investigators, we were just filled with inspiration. We have plans to go to the temple this June. The branch hasn't gone at all while I've been here... And we want the recent converts to go with us and experience work in the temple. So President and us put firm plans to rent a small bus and ask the stake president if we can take out a portion of the branch's budget to pay for a portion of everyone's tickets. Its going to be great, I am stoked. (Because I want to go to the temple too). ..And not to mention that this area also has a sweet house. We've got a big desk, a good shower head, a washing machine, and awesome members next door(Leva and Lucresia..aka our 'Grandma' and 'Mom' here).
We're getting people ready for baptism, although many baptismal dates have been falling since Elder Williams has got here, we keep putting more. They all fall because the people don't come to church. We have 3 weeks now without investigators in church on Sunday. Yesterday we passed by more than 15 people in the morning, and not one came with us to church. It was rough for Elder Williams. I feel bad that we're not having much fruit, but I know that the Lord is preparing the people for us right now, and it'll only be a matter of time until they start coming to church.
Congrats to Caitlynn and Seth on your wedding! I already have a new brother, haha. Reagan, I hope you keep enjoying seminary. Its a blast, I miss it so much. Haley, you're probably already on your way to Utah right now; don't let yourself stop praying, studying, and going to church EVER. These habits are commandments, and are truly blessings for us; they help us to constantly remember our Savior Jesus Christ. Like how the children of Israel had the Law of Moses, filled with all kinds of practices and customs, they didn't even have a chance to forget the Savior if they were always doing as they should. We in these days don't have to do so many practices or customs or sacrifices at all. We only have to remember him in Prayer, in Study, in Obedience to His holy commandments.
"Let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven...
"For behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit...
"Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven...
Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect."
(3 Nephi 12:16,19-20, 48)
I know that eternal life will be worth everything it takes. I have the faith that if I push forward in all my life, with a broken heart and contrite spirit in front of my Savior, He will rescue me from this broken world. I know that things aren't always as I would like them to be, and maybe its not as God would want them to be either, but He permits us to fall sometimes so that we can strengthen ourselves when we stand back up. He knows what's best for us, and His kingdom is being prepared for the entrance of those who so are worthy of it.
I love you all. Chelsea and Danny, you are both studs, I can't wait to see Porter when I get back! Mom, Dad, you are the best parents in the world. Thank you for everything you do for me. I know my Heavenly Father loves me, because He has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear. =) I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. I wouldn't be able to stay here either if it wasn't for your examples to me of perseverance and hard work. I love you!
Love, Elder Knight
P.S. My scripture of the week. Alma was a BOSS.
"And it came to pass.. that Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people...
Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;
Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death.
And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him...
And he himself [went] forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.
And thus Alma..confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy."
Such a stud...