Dear Friends and Family,
It has been an extremely stressful week over here in Piura, but I mean that in the best way possible. Theres a quote by M. Russell Ballard that says that if you spend just one day with one of the Lords full time missionaries, you will see that there is simply no possible way that their work is the work of the Lord, and it cannot be done without the divine influence of our Heavenly Father. I bear solemn testimony of his words. I have come to know my Father in Heaven very well in the time I have been away, and I can say with perfect and complete honesty that I depend on him in every moment. His presence is real, his influence is powerful, and faith in his son Jesus Christ brings about miracles both big and small.
This week we have been focusing a lot on a certain investigator family that we have known since March. Since our first visit, their progress, while at times slow, has been absolutely amazing. One of the children, his name is Ricardo, only is 9 years old but every time we come to visit he pulls out his little Book of Mormon and listens attentively to what we have to say. He always wants to say the prayer and his mother tells us that every Sunday he gets up at 6 in the morning, gets his little shirt and tie ready and waits for the hour to come to go to church. His diligence and faithfulness have been a huge example to me. The sciptures teach that if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must become as little children, and this child has shown me what it really means to do so. Even if there are times when I get just so frustrated when I think I am not helping my investigators progress, I take one look at little Ricardo and remember that no effort is in vain, and not a single second of the Lords time every goes to waste. His family doesnt have much, but they have faith in God, and I have seen it manifest in their desires to change and improve every day as they accept our lessons. They have a baptismal date for the 27 of June. I sure hope we can help them meet that goal.
Also something I forgot to mention, a few weeks back we had a ward baptism. A little girl by the name of Roxy had just turned 8 years old and on her birthday she wanted to be baptized. Most of her family are not members, only she and her mother, and so there is no priesthood authority in her household. And so, she needed someone to baptize her and wouldnt you know it, she chose Elder Cruz. Truth be told I was a little stunned, I didnt really know this little girl too well but one night the Bishop called me and said a little girl in the ward wanted me to baptize her and how could I say no? The day of her baptism was easily one of the happiest moments I have ever had on my mission. There was a huge turnout and just seeing her smiling face as she emerged from the water just bore testimony to me that something truly amazing happens in that baptismal font. Even before we went in, she ran to give me a hug and thanked me for helping get baptized. It was hard not to cry. She is a very special girl with an incredibly sweet spirit. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me this oppurtunity. Everyday I find reasons to smile while I am out here, and it just lets me know that God really does care for those who labor in his vineyard.
Well family, thats about all for this week. As I read back to what I have written, it would appear that I am a real big hit with the kids haha. I guess thats what God wants for me. I hope you all are doing well and as always I extend to you my utmost gratitude, appreciation, and love. You keep me going, and give me the strength necessary to carry on. Until next time.
Elder Justin Cruz