SEPTEMBER 15, 2014
Ciudadela Ward, El Carmen Stake
Ciudadela Ward, El Carmen Stake
I'm just doing great here. The baptism of Luis Fernando went great! His whole family came and I hoped they really felt the spirit like the rest of us did. I'm not sure if I explained this already but he is the cousin of Emmanuel, who is on his mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and the nephew of Mabel and Alberto who are also our investigators that are going to get baptized soon too. The whole family is so great! This area here in Ciudadela is so great! I really love the people here so very much and I wouldn't mind if my mission was Barranquilla, Colombia, ward Ciudadela! It really is that good! I'll include some pics of the baptism and of some of the youth here and a family that are all way awesome!
Another great thing happened this week! So we went to the church to clean the baptismal font and everything but when we got there there was a big dance for the single adults. So we didn't have a chance to get it all ready BUT it just so happened that Pedro and Yorman were at the church with their families about to receive the melchizedek priesthood and so we got the opportunity to be a part of that. How great of a gift! And then Pedro had the opportunity to confirm Sheridlyn a member and also was sustained as the Elders Quorum president. How cool! It really makes me so happy to see these people change their lives and come unto Christ.
Oh and yesterday! So we have this "eternal invesitigator" named Andres that has come to church for about a year now but has never been baptized or anything because he has always been afraid to make the compromise. Then yesterday he came up to us and told us that he wants to be baptized this week. How cool! Especially since it will be Elder Baquerizo's last week here (that part is sad though)! I think his girldfriend had a lot to do to help convince him to be baptized, but either way I'm excited!
I know I really enjoy comfort and I attribute much of my happiness before my mission to my comfort levels. But here I've learned a whole new kind of happiness that comes from growing and progressing. I was thinking earlier this week that it makes me sad to see others throw in the towel before the blessings have come. God gives us tests and then blessings, it's not reverse. You have to make the cake before you can eat it. I like to use the analogy while I'm teaching when I compare life to a mountain. God is at the top and we want to get to the top. Every step we take is another step closer to Him. Yes there are many obstacles on the road and yes it is hard to climb. Occasionally we will feel as though we want to give up, but if we take a chance to look back at how far we have come and see the blessings that have come, we can't really help but want to continue. We need that perspective that climbing makes us stronger and it is possible for everyone to get to the top of the mountain. I know that if I didn't come out on my mission or that if I came back when things were really hard earlier on, then I would have stopped my own growth, really it's like we are rejecting the blessings of the Lord and telling him that we chose the lower road instead of the higher one.
Sometimes it seems so much easier to just not show up to something than to walk a mile sweating like crazy just to be with the people. But the thought I had this week was that really it's just between me and the Lord. It doesn't matter what others do. It really only matters what I do. I know I can't account my success that I'm having to my person, not even the littlest bit, but I think if I could, I would say it's because we are really investing in this. We are trying to do everything we can to be involved. I really feel like a foot soldier in God's army. Not because we as missionaries are the lowest in this work, but that, at least here, do much of the work that needs to be done. I have found that a lot of the time some people just need a visit, a scripture, or someone to help them feel like they matter. I'm not sure if my future in God's church is that of a leader, or that of a foot soldier, but either way, I know I want to serve.
Well, as I said, this is Elder Baquerizo's last week here in the mission. Too sad! But I know he will do great after the mission too. So we had a zone conference with all the missionaries here in Barranquilla with President Searle and there they presented Elder Baquerizo with his English test certificate. He scored Intermediate medium, so cool! He has improved a lot and will continue improving. His dream is to go to BYU and study and he has already started his application and everything! With this test score he won't have to take another English test to be admitted to BYU so he was really happy about that.
It's so great to be here seeing so much change in people, as well as myself! How grateful I am for this gospel and I do know that it is true! I'm so very blessed to be here in the service of God! So so so great.
Well I love and miss you all! Have a great week! Keep me updated!
Elder Kurt Crandall