The work in Laguna Niguel is going well! Thank you for the email and snail mail this week! It got hot again here and we bike a lot of hills. I haven't been on a scale for a while, but you saw from those pictures yesterday that I still have my insulation. My companion is wonderful and we have seen much success. Our investigators are progressing and I love meeting with and teaching them! We had a really neat experience that I will share in a minute. I also really enjoyed the message on LDS.org about the currant bush by Elder Christofferson. Some advice and direction to change is really not so fun to hear. Just like Matt Lorenzen*, the pro golfer had to start from scratch at the height of his success and re-invent his swing, we must accept the Will of the Lord to change. At times we may feel restricted by the imposition of a model of behavior and lifestyle, the Lord know how to help us bring forth fruit to bless us in our lives and aid us in our journey home again to the Being who created us.
*(name has been changed to protect privacy and not bring up a taboo subject [Tiger Woods]:)
This week we went to a back to school BBQ at the bishop's house for the youth and shared an impromptu message about missionary work. The youth especially enjoyed it when I bore my testimony in Mongolian. I feel more comfortable sharing what I believe in another language. I sometimes think that I was called to Mongolia and learned Mongolian so that I could learn from the beginning how to say the core beliefs that I hold dear. At times I would rather not say anything in English, but I would not hesitate to share my faith in Mongolian, so now I need to apply the skills and courage I gained in that learning experience to bless the lives of everyone who has ears to hear.
I can't think of any amusing stories to share, but I do have two experiences I want to talk about. I was feeling a pretty sick during the week and was not being as effective as I wanted to be. The Lord has blessed my tremedously with a desire to serve and to dedicate myself more to this than I ever have to anything else before. The Lord also has provided a standard that is to be upheld and lived. The Lord does not want His servants to try to outdo that standard. I was not taking care of my body and did not sleep as much as I should have and the Lord reminded me that He know what He is doing better that I do. I prayed and asked for forgiveness and strength. As I changed my ways and relied more on the Lord and leaned not unto my own understanding He provided ways for miracles to happen and work was accomplished that my companion and I could never have done on our own no matter what manly means we may have employed. I think that is actually a kind of funny story, but maybe that is just me.
The second experience was last night and my highlight of the week! We have been meeting with Ioannies (I-O-neighs) and his mother Rocio (Ro-ci-o). Last night we had dinner and a lesson and talked about priesthood authority. She asked if she could have a blessing for her back and we gladly did so. Elder Barton did the first part and I gave the blessing. I was a little nervous, but I asked God to help me and He provided His words for me to say. After the blessing she described what she was feeling as calm and peaceful, but hot and burning. All in the room could feel the Holy Ghost. We testified that the sensation was the confirming of truth by the Spirit of God. I know that the Spirit testifies of true ordinances. The priesthood has been restored and I am grateful to have the opportunity to lose it. Then we invited her to be baptized on October 20 and she basically yelled YES! That was an example to me of how the gospel changes lives. People just need to be invited, because most do not know what to do. Even if they know the church is true they need to be given direction. Baptism is the first step and we can begin our journey back to God through it.
I know conference will be a revelatory experience and I am stoked! Hope home has happiness. And all homes throughout the world.