Family and friends,
All of these days and weeks are starting to blur for me. It's hard to think about what we've done in the past week, but I'll try my best to remember everything I wanted to say.
To start off, we had transfer calls this past Saturday. We received a call from President Baker, which means one of three things. Someone is being called to be a trainer, someone is being called to a leadership position, or they are going to close down an area. Luckily for our case, it was about the old area of Elder Martinez. President Baker decided that for now, we are going to split it up and share it with the hermanas. But, Elder Berry, and Elder Martinez, and I will be staying here in Newport News for this Christmas season!
Speaking of Christmas, we also had the chance to watch the Christmas Devotional yesterday night at the Frayde's house. I especially liked the talk by Elder Bednar, and now I don't think I can look at Christmas lights without thinking of Christ.
As missionaries, usually one funny thing happens once a week. This week, it happened when we were backing out our car. It was my turn to back out the car, so I turned around and marched behind. Well, our neighbor started his car at the same time, and started to backup before we did. Well, the two cars are the same color, and I wasn't really paying much attention, so I got behind his car and starting making the hand signals to back him out. I backed him out, and he gave me a pretty funny look as he drove off. My companions teased me quite a bit for that one.
This week was a lot of fun, and even though we are staying in the same area this next transfer, I had to say goodbye to two good friends. The first person I had to say goodbye to was a man named Elian. He was an investigator of ours, and one of the most generous men I have ever met. The other Elders before us were teaching him, so when we got her we just continued. It's hard to get a hold of him, because he always gives his phone to people to borrow. Also, whenever he is not working, he is always working on old beat up cars. He buys old cars, fixes them up, and gives them to people who don't have cars. Free of charge. He is from Cuba, so a lot of times I have to ask him to repeat himself. It's crazy how fast they talk. Well, I should get to the reason why we had to say goodbye. Recently his wife divorced him, now he never sees his daughters, he lost his job, his best friend got killed, his niece is about to die in Cuba, and his grandma who also lives in Cuba needs someone to take care of her. I guess, he just doesn't have any reason to stay here. We went over to his house this week, taught him a quick lesson, and said our goodbyes.
The second person we had to say goodbye to was Hector, our recent convert. He was only living in America because he had a heart condition. He has had several heart attacks, and a heart disease, and currently only one fourth of his heart is working. So he was here in America, where he could get proper care for his heart. Well, he has now stayed the duration of his allotted time, and he returned to Columbia this Sunday. Although I didn't baptize him, I had the opportunity to teach him once we became a trio with Elder Martinez. Even though only a fourth of his heart may be working, I pray that I can have a heart as big and loving as his.
A spiritual insight I would like to share real quick comes from Elder Williams. He is a missionary in our zone, and is actually leaving today to go home, after serving a faithful two year mission. During our zone meeting this past Friday, he gave his departing testimony. He paraphrased a talk by Elder Eyring called No Man Left Behind. Or at least that's what he said he thought it was. I'd like to quote a few insights that I learned from his testimony. He said, that on a battlefield, when a soldier gets shot and falls, everyone yells "Man Down!" and rushes to give him help. Even putting themselves in uncomfortable circumstances to help their friend. Why is it then, in this spiritual battle that we all fight, when someone takes a shot and falls we don't help them? Instead, we sit by and say things like "Oh man, they shouldn't have done that." or "They shouldn't have been there." Instead, we need to rush to their aid and help them. When a soldier gets shot, you don't ask them why they got shot. Why is it then, that we do that with the spiritual battles of our friends and families?
Going along with that, I'd just like to share that some of the most joy I've found in missionary work has been working with the less-active members. They have their testimonies, sometimes it just takes a little work to help them remember it. Sometimes we get all excited when we find new people to teach, but we always have to remember that we have our brothers and sisters in the church that might be just a little lost right now. Maybe they just need a hand. Maybe, they've been shot and they need someone to help them. I have a testimony of missionary work, especially by members. I have seen it here, and I know it is possible no matter where you are.
I love you all so much, and wish yall Happy Holidays during this time we are preparing for Christmas!