February 15, 2016

I am convinced that my tan has now hit the point of no return. Every time people see my pictures from when I first got to the mission, they say they can hardly recognize me, and I don’t blame them because neither can I. But the sun and has come to be the least of my problems as of late.

 It was a challenging week. I was brought to my knees several times in these past few days just asking for blessings and hoping that the Lord would come through for us. We have been teaching some investigators for about 3 months now, and unfortunately, we had to leave them behind this week. We visited each of them and we just had to tell them directly and sincerely that we could no longer continue with the lessons. The looks on their faces are hard to describe, and they are as equally hard to forget. 2 of the investigators are a couple, and when we first met them, we thought for sure they would be our next baptism. That was 3 months ago. When we came by to tell them the truth, they confessed that even though they had read the Book of Mormon and prayed, they just couldn’t bring themselves to change their religion, for fear of family, or friends, or simply because they lacked faith. Our other investigator was a 16 year old girl who confessed simply enough that she could not find time to come to church on Sunday, no matter how many times we explained how important it was. She just couldn’t get over her own worldly cares on the Sabbath day, and could not trust enough in the Lords promises.

 I don’t think I got angry at any of them, not even in the slightest. Rather, I was just…I guess sad for them. There was a sincere, genuine feeling of sorrow for these people who I, without even realizing it, had come to really care for. That’s the interesting thing about this work. We can do so much, teach so much, testify so much, but at the end of the day, we cannot convert anyone, that is not our calling. Its up to them to let the Spirit into their hearts. I think now I understand how Heavenly Father feels about us when we don’t obey. He can do so much for us, put so many blessings in our path, teach us all we need to know, but when its all said and done, he cannot give us salvation. We must choose it.

 Cant say that this week I have been the most perfect obedient missionary in the world. I know there’s much God still expects of me. My companion was super sick this whole past week and that has taken a toll on both of our attitudes. Many doors were shut in our face and many people were more interested in tearing down our message rather than trying to understand it. At the end of the day though, I think this week was something I needed to be able to realize a few things for myself. Even in spite of the troubles, the blessings always seem to come through and now as I write this letter, I kind of feel a lot more at peace. Lets hope this week can be a little brighter.

 Elder Cruz

Mom’s mail

Hey Mom,

 

Writing you this letter in sort of a stressed-out and tired kind of state. I remember back when I was in Washington with you guys, you would come home almost dead tired from work and we, as the kids, most of the times didn’t do our chores and as tired as you were, you still did them just so the house would stay clean. And then at the end of the day you would be exhausted but nonetheless you kept working. Now here I am as a missionary many years later, and I think I finally get the whole concept of love-driven hard work. Sorry for all the times we stressed you out, because now I got my own people to worry about and the work I do for them creates a lot of stress for me. So thanks for being my Mom, really I appreciate it, your example helps me get through these difficult times.

 

This last week wasn’t all terrible, its just a few things here and there that didn’t go so well. We had to leave a handful of investigators behind simply because they would not progress or keep the commitments. Once again another Sunday has rolled around yet none of our investigators came to church. Overall it was a pretty dead week, the work was slow and not very fruitful. Still life goes on, and I can see that back home you guys still don’t take many breaks haha. Dad always tells me about the trips and upcoming vacations and the visitors that always come over. Sounds like he is getting pretty worn out haha. Anyway, always appreciate the pictures, its fun to see how everyone is changing. The kids look so old right now I don’t even know who they are anymore.

 

In terms of packages, uhhh I really dont know if I need anything urgent from the states. Just some candy, the usual stuff. Have Joy Joy pick out the candy for me, she knows what I like. Maybe a necktie would be nice, I have given away several of the ones I took with me to investigators and members haha. Other than that….cant think of anything else really but I will let you know.

 

Thank you mom for all that you do. love you lots.

 

Elder Cruz

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