Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Elder Holland!!!

Hola Familia!!! 

So it sounds like you guys have had a super fun week with all the family and having Kevin and Cortney in town! Hopefully Kevin gets the job in PISD so we can all party all the time! But that's great that you guys have all been able to hang out this week!

Oh man, so I'm just going to tell you guys right now that there's no way I will be able to explain how amazing Elder Holland was, but I will definitely do my best :)

So we were SOOO lucky to be able to have him come to our zone, so we only had to travel 15 minutes from our house to the church, but other missionaries had to travel up to 10 hours to get there! But we arrived at the church at about 8:00, and already all the missionaries from the whole mission were there outside talking. So I went and found Elders Keenan, Norseth, and Shaum, and it was super cool to talk to them all and see them again!! We realized that we were all 4 shades darker than we were when we left the MTC. Haha, so we talked for a little bit, and then President Swapp got us all organized by zone and we went into the chapel to get seated, and my zone got the front row seats. How lucky are we right? So we all sat down and sang some hymns while we were waiting for him to get there. And then President Swapp told us that he was in the church and so they went out to greet him and we all waited, and then he walked in!!  We all stood up and watched an apostle walk right by us. He instantly brought such a great spirit to the room. Then we all got the chance to go up to him and shake his hand. Soo cool! I was freaking out a little bit on the inside, haha. But I went up and shook his hand (needless to say I haven't washed that hand since:)) and said how great it was to meet him and he said "Great to meet you Elder Bird, thank you for your work". Cool huh? Also President Johnson was there with his wife, who is the area president in Mexico. So after we all got back in our seats we started the conference. First Hermana Swapp gave her testimony about faith, which was super strong. Then President Swapp got up and talked about the importance of inviting ALL to Christ, also very awesome. Then Sister and President Johnson got up and gave their talks about the importance of living the gospel, living what you preach. And the power of the spirit. All of them brought a really strong spirit into the meeting before Elder Holland spoke. Then, Elder Holland got up and spoke! Oh my goodness... if you thought his talks were strong through the t.v or computer... it was incredible. He is such an amazing speaker, it blew us all away. He started off talking about how his mission did more to change his life than any other young man who served a mission, and he bore his testimony right away about how much his mission meant to him, and why it meant so much to him. He told us that he wants us to love EVERY moment of the mission, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because you will never have better opportunities to learn and to grow than in these 2 years, or 18 months, on a mission. He said it's sad to him to see missionaries who stop progressing, who level off after their initial excitement, because the mission really is such an incredible opportunity. And he said the one thing that breaks his heart more than anything in the world, is to see a returned missionary go inactive. It was incredible to see how passionate he was about this, and he said if we go inactive he was going to hunt us down. Haha, so just keep that in mind returned missionaries :) He then started to talk about the importance of being your best convert, and if you can just convert that one person (yourself) then what a successful mission you have served. He taught us the importance of living the things you teach will all your heart, and that we can't teach an investigator anything that we aren't willing to live for the rest of our life. Then he started to talk about how much he loves the book of mormon and the importance of it in our faith. I honestly have never heard a more powerful testimony on the Book of Mormon than what he gave to us. He finished his talk bearing this testimony, along with his testimony of christ, and how he KNOWS without a doubt that Christ lives and is there for us. It was SOOOO powerful. And he ended with telling us how much he loves us and appreciates the sacrifice we are making to the Lord and how we will be blessed beyond what we can imagine if we serve a faithful mission. Ahh, guys I can't even tell you how incredible it was to  hear him speak in person. It's definitely safe to say that he motivated us ALL to be better missionaries.

So since he talked I have really been making more of an effort to be the best missionary I can be, and to talk to EVERYONE, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. And we have already seen the results! On Thursday we met a really really cool family who we were able to teach a little bit and they already have a desire to be baptized! So we are going to try to prepare them and get them ready to baptize in 2 sundays, the last week of the cambio. We also had G come with us to church yesterday and he is very excited to be baptized and we have a service for him on Sunday, so we are going to do everything to make sure we can baptize him next week. We're still also working with A a little bit but he hasn't been progressing as much as we hoped so we have had to make the decision of whether to keep teaching him or find someone else, which has been really hard. Because he's really cool! But, maybe he's just not ready. On Wednesday I went on splits with Elder Canul (the Zone Leader) in his area, which is the centro of Saltillo. It`s a pretty rough area and I encountered more drunks and druggies on Wednesday than i have in all my time in my area, But we met some cool people for him and his companion to teach after I left. On Saturday, Fundadores had a baptism for 2 people in their area that we had  been able to teach and prepare a little bit on Thursday with them, and that was way cool! 

Well, we're continuing to work hard in our area, I'm continuing to get tanner, I'm continuing to forget english, haha. Just kidding. But only kinda. It really is getting hard for me now to only speak in English, which is a super good sign! The few times a week i get to speak in english i find myself speaking in spanish half the time just out of habit, which is pretty cool! But this week has been incredible because of the spirit that Elder Holland brought to us. And as far as the new mission, I still know nothing. I'm guessing at this point that we won't know which mission we will be in until the night of cambios. But anyways, i'll keep you guys in the loop. Love you guys!!!! Study hard and finish out the school year strong!! Miss you! Have a great week :)

Elder Bird

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