Dear family and friends,
Elder Cruz is finally done with his 12 weeks of missionary training and is ready to step up his missionary game and bring home those lost souls who are awaiting the truth of the restored gospel. Well, I may be talking myself up there a little bit, but I do feel more ready and motivated than ever to hit the dusty pavement of Catacaos and find, teach, and baptize all those that will receive me.
This week was transfer week and that means a very heartfelt goodbye to my companion, friend, and trainer, Elder Casimiro. We spoke long and deeply during our Friday morning companionship inventory session about what’s next for us and I cannot tell you how great the love and compassion I have for this guy is. I know the Lord blessed me with him specifically so that I might grow, learn, and develop the faith and skills necessary to be a successful missionary. Perhaps he and I were not perfect, but we did our best, and the fruits of our labors together were certainly not few, but many. And so with Elder Casimiro taking off, I have received a new companion, named Elder Villalba. He is from Ecuador and go figure, he is a big music geek like me. We both play violin and piano, and he even has a violin that he lets me practice on! I have much yet to learn about him and we have a long way to go before we establish an effective teaching pattern, but I am grateful for this opportunity the Lord has given me to meet someone new, and I pray with all sincerity of heart that Heavenly Father will bless us with success.
As with all transfers, we spent some time the Sunday evening before P Day when all the missionaries have to take off to their new areas saying goodbye to the families that Elder Casimiro and I taught together. Words do not explain the love that we have had for these people, and watching them say goodbye just hit my heart like a truck. When I left the MTC, my teacher told me that one day I would find someone who would look at me and say that I was their angel, sent to bring them back home to heaven. I just thought that was a clich’e phrase that all the teachers say, but when I saw a 16 year old girl break down into tears when she had to say goodbye to the missionary who had taught her the gospel, it confirmed in my heart just how precious and valuable of a work we have as missionaries. Our job is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them recieve the restored gospel. I will never forget that as a missionary, my job is to strengthen and rescue those who need me. And just seeing our convert family cry when Elder Casimiro had to go…ughh I cant even explain the things the Spirit spoke to me in that moment.
It has been a wonderful past 12 weeks, and I now look forward with even brighter hope and faith that this next transfer cycle will be a good one. The road ahead is still long and arduous, but I will walk it with head held high and trust in my Lord that he will bless me. I love being a missionary. Seriously, its pretty cool.
Love you all. Take care. Until next time.
Elder Justin Cruz