Sorry I'm a day late again; we had consejo yesterday and didn't get home until about 10pm. But it was a great consejo as always. Weird fact: it was the last consejo I and President Martinez will ever have in this mission... :/
I always try to make our lessons and contacts entertaining to keep people's attention, which means I often revert to jokes. What cracks me up the most is that people so rarely understand my jokes haha. For example, this week we met a woman named Mercedes, and as I shook her hand I told her, ''What a pleasure! We just finished talking with your neighbor Cadillac a few minutes ago!'' I mean I know it's lame pun humor, but she gave me a pretty weird look and I knew she had no idea what I was talking about haha. Oh well.
Well so I mentioned in my last letter that Sister Voyles is in my zone. Turns out we're actually serving in the same little branch too! I thought we had never met before, but she tells me that she practically grew up with Corey Tyndall and that we went to the mormon prom in the same group together..hahaha. I didn't know anyone in the group except Cameron and Corey, so I hold myself blameless... Anywho, it gave us a good laugh. I'll send the pics.
We're teaching a young couple to reactivate Marcos and baptize his girlfriend Alejandra. They have a cute little 2 yr old daughter, and our hopes are to help them get married. They weren't very interested in anything a few weeks ago until Marcos' brother was killed. The missionaries left a blessing of peace for them in their home, and they told us they've felt waaayyyy better. We taught them about the Holy Ghost and how they can have that feeling of peace all the time, and Alejandra accepted a baptismal date for June 21. I'm pretty bummed I won't be here for it, but I'm excited for them.
As we traveled to Los Angeles Sunday afternoon to be ready for the consejo Monday morning, we arrived about an hour earlier than expected. Luckily, we were to stay the night in my beloved old sector Villa Obispo!!! So we head out to work to take advantage of the hour we had, and we visited some old investigators to see if they were progressing. A while back I mentioned Javiera, a young 15 yr old diagnosed with Leukemia that we began to teach right before I was transfered out of that sector. I felt like Elder Trudeau and I should visit her, and it was certainly inspired. I LOVED getting to see her and her family again; she has such a special spirit. Some great news is that her cancer treatment is going better, and she only has to travel to Concepción once a month instead of everyday now. She was reading in the Book of Mormon and still wants to keep learning more. We had a great lesson about prayer and I immediately told the missionaries to start visiting her again. They had stopped passing by because she was never home (due to her treatment in a different city). But now she'll be home and they'll be able to keep teaching her! Ah, Heavenly Father is so wonderful in His wisdom and how He so mercifully guides us to see miracles.
Speaking of God's manner, yesterday I read in Alma 41:11 in the Book of Mormon. It reads:
And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
It describes that those that sin without repenting are living contrary to the nature of God or contrary to the nature of happiness. That in itself is a large discussion we could have, but I want to point out that, according to this verse, the nature of God is happiness. Simple. For my dear family who should have listened to Brad Wilcox's talk ''God's grace is sufficient,'' you will remember when he said that ''we are learning heaven.'' If we really believe and hope to become like God someday, it starts now. His nature is happiness. We don't endure to the end and then suddenly become happy once we get to live with him again; rather, we are meant to learn to be happy now. ''Men are that they might have joy'' (2 Nephi 2:27). In short, if someone isn't happy, they're doing it wrong. I know God will help us be happy--obedience to His commandments is what will bring us true and lasting happiness. I know it to be true because I've experienced the difference in my life. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. They live and love us. Let us do their will and always be obedient. Therein lays the joy and happiness that I desire.
Elder Long :)