Friends and Family,
I realized this week that I now have too many fingers to count the number of emails I`ll send to all of you before my mission comes to a close. If you think that I`m winding down, and settling in for college life and dating after my mission, you`re wrong. I`m planning on grinding to the last minute. I didn`t come here to fight for two years, and then take it easy for the last few weeks before it`s time to return. I came to serve the Lord, and that reason alone. Sure, I`m exited to come home and see you all, go to college, and date, but those things are in the back corners of my thought process right now. I have work yet to do.
So we were on a companionship exchange, and we went to visit a member that was recently baptized, but has had some health problems and struggles with the Word of Wisdom that have kept him from coming to church recently. Every time we go over to his house he talks about how hard it is to go to the hospital all the time to get a problem with his leg figured out. He complains how much his leg bothers him and how difficult it is to walk to the church. When we went over to his house, his mood was worse than usual. He showed us all the medication that he had to take for the pain in his leg and just seemed flat frustrated with what was going on. On hearing what this man was saying, I remembered suddenly that the companion I was with at the time knew a lot about the human body and how massaging and physical therapy work to make us better. I looked over at my companion, and signaled that he should try and give him a massage. At first, he was skeptical, and so was I, but we asked the member if he would like to see if my companion could help his sore leg. It took some convincing, but the member agreed to let my companion see if he could help his leg. It was painful, and the member complained quite a bit, but when my companion was finished, all he could say was "本当に有難うございます” and "とても楽" which basically translates to, "thank you so much" and "it feels so good!" He sat there for a moment and my companion told him to try and stand. When the member stood up, he stood straight up faster than either of us had ever seen! We looked at each other in complete surprise and the member was full of joy and gratitude. That`s where the Spirit came in. My companion noticed a pack of cigarettes and a lighter on the table and asked the member if he`d been smoking recently. He said that he had, but he only smoked every three days or so, and he really was trying to quit. My companion told him how tobacco can be very harmful for our bodies, and might be a cause for the pain he was experiencing in his leg. The member agreed and said that he thought he could quit. I took the pack of cigarettes and opened it to see how many he had. There were 8 cigarettes in the pack and I proceded to take 2 of them out. I told the member that it would be difficult to just flat stop, but he could have these last 2, and after that, he was done. The member readily agreed. I asked him if I could take the cigarettes and he said yes. Because we followed the Spirit, and because my companion used the special gits and talents that he has been blessed with, the man was not only healed, but was able to experience a softened heart that lead him to commit to quit tobacco once and for all. Well, going to church yesterday we learned that the member actually continued to have a hard time, and actually got a little mad at us for taking his cigarettes. The member said not to worry and that he just needed to understand the doctrine of our church a little better. I thought of the scripture in 1 Nephi 16 when it says, "guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center". I know he`ll be back. He just needs some time for the Spirit to work on him, and for his body to heal.
I won`t lie, this last transfer has been the hardest one of my mission. I`ve had to deal with some pretty difficult circumstances and situations, but through all of this I`ve learned that God must have a lot more trust in me than I give myself credit for. It`s been a challenge, but nothing has helped me to grow like the last three weeks or so. I know my Father lives. I know Jesus Christ is His Son. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. These things I`ve come to know because of the trials I`ve had to overcome. I`ve had to earn a testimony, it hasn`t come easy, but I wouldn`t have wanted it any other way.
I love you all and I hope you all have a great week! We have a Baptism Sunday of a15 year old girl and her Mom. They will be getting baptized by their recently returned to activity Father and husband so we`re excited for that! It`s going to be a great Sunday for sure. I`ll see you all soon. I love you!