Well this week was a little sad in terms of the number of emails I received... Normally I get more or less 13 from friends, family, other missionaries, etc. This week, I got 5: 2 from President Egbert, 1 from the church headquarters about my mission account, and 2 from Dad. Love ya, pops!
Depressing social life aside, this week was pretty good. We had a baptism, taught a lot of people, and had a ton of people commit to come to church. As is the story of my mission, about a third of the people who said they would come to church actually came. On the bright side, all 6 of the people that came to church aquired a new baptismal date, and 5 of those 6 will probably be sticking to their dates and be baptized in the next few weeks. One of those is Juan Jesus, a niño mágico (yes, magic child). They are called such because they're children who's parents are members being reactivated, so really all we have to do is teach them the 5 lessons, and they'll be baptized. His date is for September 26th.
The best part, however, is that the other 4 are a family of super receptive investigators. Another family in the ward has been working with them for quite some time, but they didn't want to accept the missionaries or come to church until they went to the temple. Two weeks ago they went to the temple open house, so last week they accepted us into their home. Every single one of them accepted a baptismal date for the 10th of October, and when Sunday came, they were all there in sacrament meeting!
The craziest part of this week was or baptism. We weren't sure for a little while if we were going to have one. Damiana's daughter-in-law called us thursday afternoon and said that Damiana was feeling sick and wasn't sure if she would be able to make it to her invetview/baptism. That, of course, was the LAST thing I wanted. I had also received some other bad news at about the same time about another missionary, so I had a huge wave of negativity hit me all at the same time. With lots on my mind and no time to act, I said one of the most fervent prayers of my life, asking for comfort and to know what to do so that everything would come out right. I don't even remember what I said in that prayer or when exactly it came, but I felt a wave of comfort overcome my body as though Heavenly Father were telling me that everything would be okay. I didn't know how or when, but I knew it would all be okay. So, with that small testimony-builder on the power of prayer, we left for the day.
Later on that afternoon, Elder Gallegos and I met a man who began to tell us that he had read parts of the Book of Mormon, but that we couldn't know it was true because God doesn't answer our prayers. Elder Gallegos was absolutely speechless. He had no idea what to say to this man. In a moment of clarity, I simply said, "I know it's true."
"No, you believe it's true."
"No. I know it's true."
"And how is that?"
"Because God told me."
"He's never answered my prayers."
"Just because he hasn't answered yours yet doesn't mean he doesn't answer mine."
The conversation ended with me inviting him to continue reading the Book of Mormon and to continue praying with real intent to know that it's true. If he really wants his answer and is willing to act accordingly, God will give it to him. I left that contact felling empowered. Elder Gallegos looked at me awestruck and asked, "How did you do that?"
In another moment of clarity, I said, "Simple. I told him what I knew."
The thing that's really special about the mission is that there are so many small and simple moments that help us to recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives, especially when He fills our mouths with the words He would have us say. The thing that saddens me is that I didn't learn to fully recognize it before my mission. I imagine that His hand was absolutely abundant in my life before my mission, but I was too blinded by all of the things I needed to do and how "busy" I was to be able to fully recognize it. At this point, I've grown very humble and repentant for not having acquired a full appreciation for the Lord before, but I want to ensure that it doesn't happen after my mission for anything. For those of you preparing for your missions, look for His hand, and you will find it. Then you can ask for His hand, and you will receive it. For those of you who have already returned from your missions, remember what you learned in your mission. I make the same promise: look for His hand, and you will find it. Ask for His hand, and you will receive it.
I have been truly blessed in these past 8 months with all of the ways I've grown and the plethora of things I've learned. I only hope to learn even more as I keep going, and we'll see what happens at the end of these 2 short years. In the meantime and between-time, iré y haré.
Elder Mitchell Mark Groesbeck
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This blog is edited by Elder Groesbeck's amazing, beautiful, younger sister Aubrie. I will post any update I get. Enjoy :)