March 23, 2015

Dear Mom,

You need to quit it with the Facebook comments because honestly they get me teary eyed every time. I was recently reading in the Doctrine and Covenants the account of the Prophet Joseph Smith during his time in Liberty Jail, and the words of the Lord to him saying that “Your friends do stand by you” and that they would greet him with “warm hearts and friendly hands” really hit me. And now here I am reading this collection of loving support from those back home and I cant help but wonder if the Lord spoke those words knowing that someday I would read them and draw comfort from them. You all have indeed given me warm hearts and friendly hands from which I can draw strength, and I am eternally grateful. In a world in which at times I do feel a little alone, it brings me peace to know that friends and family are standing by me, urging me forward to new heights and greater happiness.

 Life here in Catacaos is the same as ever. Recently it rained here for about 3 days straight, a rare sight to be sure, but we are now paying for it with insane heat. I think I have forgotten what it feels like to not be constantly sweating. As uncomfortable as the climate may be, it has not drawn me away from my goal and I continue to put my best foot forward. As of late, I have been dedicating an immense amount of time and effort to my personal prayers. I plead with Heavenly Father every day to help me make up for the things I lack, whether it be Spanish, personal worthiness, or being obedient. Often times I will admit that I wish God would send me that which I need a little bit faster, but I have faith that he knows better than I, and I am humbled immensely when I finally come to see the blessings he has prepared for me. He is watching me always and everytime I experience a small tender mercy, be it remembering a scripture or saying a complex sentence grammatically correct in Spanish, I am in awe of just what it is he does for me constantly.

Our investigator who was baptized last week was confirmed this past Sunday. I was very happy to see that he was wearing the tie I gifted him. I am very proud of him, and as I see his spirituality and testimony grow I cannot help but feel immense gratitude not only for him, but for the gift of this gospel and the change it can bring about in peoples lives. Many times in our lessons there are instances where I dont speak a whole lot and I merely watch, and what I see astounds me. They say that you can tell all you need to know about an investigator by looking them in the eyes. What I see in the eyes of these people when they have truly come to understand a gospel truth, or when they seem to find an answer they have been seeking, is a light that does not admit description. There is nothing more incredible than to see someone find truth in this gospel and have a dark spot in their life illuminated. It really is something beautiful.

As I close out the letter, I must take some time to express my thanks to you, my mother, and the rest of the family. Somehow I dont think the phrase thank you really cuts it. Its true, I was not always like this before the mission, but I know the person I am now, in this moment, has sprung forth from the seed in which each of you planted within me as being a part of my family. I am grateful for you all. Glad to see you are all doing just fine. Welcome home from China by the way. Hope everything went alright.

My time is coming to a close so I will just say love you lots, and I look forward to next week. Stay strong, keep the faith, and as they say here in the mission, “¡Seguir adelante!”

Your Son, 

Elder Justin Cruz

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