Monday, May 7, 2012

Mi querida familia,

I just want you to know how much I love you all. I received a Dear Elder last week from Dad, a forward from another well-known sister, and it made me so happy to know that there are people at home being blessed from the same testimony that is blessing me. I know that testimonies are meant to be shared. If you don't share it, yours will never grow. What an opportunity to be a missionary, and share your testimony in every moment of every day. I have never felt so close to my Savior, than I do when I am testifying of Him. I feel like He is really right next to me, shoulder to shoulder we stand, and whether the people accept us or not, He is always smiling at me as I testify of His gracious love. Whether the person wants to hear or believe you or not, the Savior is always pleased with those who share His message of Salvation.

Well, this week has been pretty interesting. I finally have another American companion. As the Mexicanos say: "Fresh out of the package". His name is Elder Williams, he's from Montana, 19 years old, likes music and whatever sport. He served in the Independence Missouri Mission for a month while waiting for his visa. He's pretty funny too, we're getting along, he already speaks spanish pretty well, way better than I did when I got here. He took 4 years of Spanish in high school, so that helps I guess. We're just working our butts off here. His first day here, I just walked up to literally EVERYONE in the street who came in our way, and we contacted them. He was pretty lost, and told me that they never do contacts like this in the Missouri mission. But with different cultures and different people, I guess you have to work different too. He told me they worked with a lot of references from members and church headquarters, haha. It was pretty funny to me, but it made me think about how different the mission must be in the U.S. I'm sure there are all kinds of different strategies for working, different tragedies, different disappointments. But I love the way we work, I can't imagine working less, you all know how restless I can be. (Haha, just so you know... When I first got in the mission, I used translators every once in a while to translate from English to Spanish.. I just realized that I translated something from Spanish to English... Nooooo! I'm forgetting English already!! We found a guy who speaks English in the street the other day, and afterwards Elder Williams couldn't stop laughing. He was like, "Hahaha now you know how I feel. Maybe I can't speak spanish to the people, but you can't even speak English! Ha!" was pretty embarrasing to say the least.. When all you know how to do is respond to the people in Spanish. But I'm getting better =) With Elder Williams as my companion.!)

Well family, time is just flying by. Seems like just yesterday Caitlynn told me about Seth, and now they're getting married this week! Seems like just yesterday that Haley told me she was going to take her endowments out, and this is the week! I can't beleive it, I really can't. I feel like everything is so surreal, that so much is going on and I just totally forget about it in the days.. Danny's already back too, wow so much stuff is going on. It reminds me of what Elder Vasquez and I were talking about the other day. So Elder Vasquez is like my best friend here in the mission, he's from Maryland, and we've been following eachother around all of the mission. He was in Mina with me, then we were in Carmen together, and now we're in Coatza together too! And he's training a newbie this transfer too, so we both went to Villa together to pick them up last week. It was so great, we didn't just talk about home and what we were going to do after the mission or junk. But we were just casually sharing scriptures with eachother, talking about gospel principles, talking and contacting people in the bus. It felt so great. I really feel like we were friends in the premortal existence. God put us here together to support eachother. It is so great. He gets home 3 months before I do though, but we've made plans to go on trips together or something. Mom and Dad, you will meet him, he's coming to our house to learn how to surf haha. By the way, if a Mexican ever shows up at our home door, just let them in and I'm sure they'll tell you that Elder Knight said they could stop by haha.

So one thing our zone is doing right now is trying to figure out how to be true missionaries of Jesus Christ, true disciples. These last two weeks we've had no baptisms at all. Baptismal dates falling here and there, progressing investigators disappearing or deciding not to hear from us anymore, all kinds of disappointments and strifes. All of our zone is experiencing it. So we had a district leader meeting yesterday, and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had in my mission. Elder Williams and I went from Cuichapa to the stake center (an hour and a half bus ride), and met with all the other district leaders and the zone leaders. We went into a room with a table and nice chairs, and air conditioning(hallelujah). As we prayed, and sang together I started feeling so comfortable with the other elders. Then we just opened the conversation to all who were there, and we discussed over what our zone can do to get better. By far, the conclusion was to UNDERSTAND the atonement. Many of us know what the atonement is, we can teach it to other people, we can cite 100 scriptures about it, and we can share our testimony about it. But last night we came to the conclusion that we should all really UNDERSTAND the Atonement. I don't know how to explain it all in a letter, but I'd like to share with you an experience from another missionary, a bit old now, but a true disciple of Christ:

As a young missionary, Elder Orson F. Whitney (1855–1931), who later served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, had a dream so powerful that it changed his life forever. He later wrote:
“One night I dreamed … that I was in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. … I stood behind a tree in the foreground. … Jesus, with Peter, James, and John, came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, He passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed …: ‘Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.’
“As He prayed the tears streamed down His face, which was [turned] toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I wept also, out of pure sympathy with His great sorrow. My whole heart went out to Him. I loved Him with all my soul and longed to be with Him as I longed for nothing else.
“Presently He arose and walked to where those Apostles were kneeling—fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, inaffected by the least show of anger or scolding, asked them if they could not watch with Him one hour. …
“Returning to His place, He prayed again and then went back and found them again sleeping. Again He awoke them, admonished them, and returned and prayed as before. Three times this happened, until I was perfectly familiar with His appearance—face, form, and movements. He was of noble stature and of majestic mien … the very God that He was and is, yet as meek and lowly as a little child.
“All at once the circumstance seemed to change. … Instead of before, it was after the Crucifixion, and the Savior, with those three Apostles, now stood together in a group at my left. They were about to depart and ascend into heaven. I could endure it no longer. I ran from behind the tree, fell at His feet, clasped Him around the knees, and begged Him to take me with Him.
“I shall never forget the kind and gentle manner in which He stooped and raised me up and embraced me. It was so vivid, so real that I felt the very warmth of His bosom against which I rested. Then He said: ‘No, my son; these have finished their work, and they may go with me; but you must stay and finish yours.’ Still I clung to Him. Gazing up into His face—for He was taller than I—I besought Him most earnestly: ‘Well, promise me that I will come to You at the last.’ He smiled sweetly and tenderly and replied: ‘That will depend entirely upon yourself.’ I awoke with a sob in my throat, and it was morning.”

I love you all so much.  I'm praying for all of you.  I wish a happy week to you all.  I know we will all be happier if we can all focus ourselves in the loving sacrifice that Jesus Christ gave for us.  Let our thoughts always be directed to him and let our words always be testifying of Him.  Our actions always reaching out to those who have need to feel this same love from Him.  Never give up.  KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

Love, Elder Knight

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