May 25, 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

 This past week we really buckled down and hit the pavement, and we hit it hard. We have stepped up our efforts, have been looking for new families, trying different approaches, and increased our efforts to work with the local ward. With this past week, I have recieved a new companion and that means a whole new working tactic, a whole different kind of study routine, and most of all, a whole new way of looking at things. In the mission, you and your companion are basically like 2 branches on the same tree and you have to adjust and make changes if you want to work well together, otherwise you lose the spirit and nothing happens in the Lords work without the spirit. But from what I have seen, Elder Villalba and I work very well together and I am grateful to the Lord for putting him in my life. I know that each and every person I meet here is a blessing, but my companions especially have been a very tender mercy. They offer me comfort when I stand in need of it, a smile here and there to pick me up, and an ear to listen when I need to voice something. Preaching the gospel 2 by 2 is the method established specifically by the Lord, and now more than ever I can see why.

 Still I remain in my first area, Catacaos, and many amazing and wonderful things have been happening in our area. Investigators are coming out of the woodwork, those who had previously rejected us or never wanted to listen to a single word have now begun to accept the missionary lessons. References have come our way, the ward has provided us with new means to contact and rescue less actives, and my converts continue to bless and enrich my life through their testimonies and the things they teach me.

 I had an amazing spiritual experience this week, that bore testimony to my heart that the Spirit truly does guide the Lords missionaries. Out here in the field you’re always hearing about missionaries who say things like “I just had this feeling” or ” I KNEW that I had to go here or do that”. I always thought those were clichés until of course, it happened to me. We left our house one afternoon to look for a family of future investigators who lived near our street. We looked and looked but couldnt find the address. Finally I decided to knock on a door and ask for some help. I had passed by this house literally hundreds of times during my stay here but this was the first time I had ever knocked on their door. A young woman answered, and said she didnt know the family and couldnt help us. I thanked her and I almost, ALMOST just left it at that. But I stopped and my companion Elder Villalba began the usual contacting routine. I returned to the door, and began to chat with the young lady. As it would happen, she was actually a member. Baptized 5 years ago, became less active over time, and had stopped attending for about the past 2 years. I was stunned. How many times had I passed by this house, and had never known that there was someone like her who needed missionaries like us. Her name was Graciela. She wasnt in our records, but nonetheless she invited us in and we began to talk.

 

She was very open with us and as she talked she showed a sincere desire to make up for lost time and return to the church. She said she knew she had to attend, but life had just been getting in the way. We decided to watch a video from the Church and share a short spiritual lesson but before we did so I felt prompted to ask a question. It was something like “If Jesus were here, what would you ask him?” She got silent. She put her head down and her hands to her eyes. Through a choked up voice she told us that she would ask him why her father had left her family, why he had one day just got up and left. And with that response she began to weep, and was just sat there watching, waiting. I was shocked. The Spirit was overwhelming and I have never been more sure in my entire mission that I was exactly where I needed to be. Right there, in that exact moment, was where Heavenly Father needed me to be, and through the holy spirit, we had found our way to the house of this wonderful young girl. We thanked her for our openness, and extended the invitation to go to church on Sunday. And wouldnt you know it, she actually came. I have never been so happy to see someones face amidst the members of the congregation than I was seeing hers.

 

Well, this email is getting a bit long but I just wanna bear my testimony that the promptings of the Holy Spirit are so real, they are God given, and when they are heeded, blessings flow forth like nothing we can imagine. I knew God was directing us in that moment, and I knew that we were guided that day.

 The mission really is something spectacular. Thanks for listening to me rant haha. Love you all, and I hope to hear from you next week.

Sincerely,

 

Elder Cruz

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