August 31, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been absolutely packed with stories and experiences that I could share with you all. In truth, I have never felt better as a missionary than I do right now but at the same time I have never been more stressed. Arguably this week has taken a lot out of me and I am giving the best I can to get the work done here in my area. Its rough sometimes. But there are always things to smile about, and stories that keep my spirits high.

 This past Wednesday, our entire Zone came to Morropon to help us move the work forward. As I mentioned, the stake has given until December to grow and baptize new members, or our little branch will be dissolved. And so, in an effort to give us a hand, 16 other missionaries came to our area and in within 3 or 4 hours obtained 89 references for us. 89 people to find, teach, strengthen, and hopefully, baptize. What was amazing about this activity was the amount of member activity involved. The members of our branch have been a little disheartened and discouraged but rallied together that Wednesday afternoon and showed what I believe to be the strongest demonstration of faith and service that I have yet seen in this area. Those that said they could only accompany the missionaries for and hour or so ended up staying for the full 4 hours of proselyting time. The members that usually sit in the back and say nothing came back from proselyting with bright smiles, wonderfully happy faces and a mountain of stories to tell. The entire chapel was buzzing and it was an incredible moment to see so many come together to move forward the work of salvation.

 While the activity was a great success, there is a minor detail we overlooked. Yeah we have 89 references to go and fine, that’s awesome. But there’s only 2 of us in Morropon. And we already had enough to worry about. Managing and organizing all these references has been a logistical nightmare for me since my new companion still is getting used to the mission field. The stress and exhaustion gets to me every now and then, but nonetheless I am incredibly grateful for the efforts of the other missionaries on our part.

 Now for the cool stuff, Elder Bednar. This past Friday we had the chance to gather as an entire mission and be taught by Elder Bednar, his wife, and a member of the area 70 and his wife. Never before have I been in a room with an Apostle, a 70 and their wives in a relatively small group of people such as this. I am certain that this could have been perhaps the only time I would have an opportunity like this.

 Elder Bednar was something else. He was everything I was expecting, and everything I couldn’t possibly have hoped to expect. His countenance radiated the Spirit, his words were concise yet powerful and I have honestly never seen a man as wise as this. The way he taught was beyond insightful and with every sentence he blew my mind. And right when I was getting my brain back together he blew it all over again. To be taught by one of only 15 men on the earth who are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators is something of itself and this definitely had a powerful and lasting impact on me. I can say with complete certainty that this man as well as the other general authorities of the church are called of God and indeed hold the keys of His holy priesthood here on the Earth.

I could go on forever about this, but I will leave it at that. Elder Bednar was awesome, just as he always is. And before you ask, no I could not get a picture.

That’s all for now. Thanks for everything and I wish you all the best.

Elder Cruz

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