Come Together

Hola, familia, amigos, y todos…

So I´m going to try something a little different with this email. Well, maybe not that different. Last week, I ran out of time to share a few more spiritual things I wanted to share. And so this week I think I´ll start off in that vein. Never you mind if the dog next door bit my leg off (it didn´t…it´s actually been a tiny bit more calm the last two times we´ve passed by and they let it out…by the way, I don´t know how I missed the opportunity to call my email last week “Who Let The Dogs Out?”), or if I ate guinea pig (still haven´t…I did see a hilarious video last week of an American elder, who sadly just got transferred, but happily to Tacna in my old zone, trying to kill one…I know that sounds like it would be a horriblvideo, but he had absolutely no idea how to do it, and thus the results are golden), or if I was transferred to France (Voulez-vous eglise avec-moi?*). And yeah, my not-starting-with-random-details plan isn´t quite working out so far. Let´s go right to the bullets, as always, then.
  • So last week when I wrote you all…I wasn´t doing well. My companion and I´s relationship had deteriorated once again, and this time it wasn´t good. We weren´t talking much. We weren´t working well together. I won´t bore you all with the details as to why that happened…it´s a long story that´s behind us all now, but basically, we weren´t communicating well, my companion didn´t trust me, I felt like I wasn´t being a good trainer…all these things. Tuesday, the zone leaders noticed, and decided to have emergency exchanges with us. I went off to the zone leaders´ area (it´s quite cool), and my companion stayed in ours. We had a really cool lesson with a sister that was baptized years ago, but never confirmed, and thus needs to be baptized again. It was a really great lesson, and we really felt the Spirit. Really all that day…I had a very good experience. I had a lot of time to think…to recover…and when I got back with Elder Montenegro, I felt better. But it was still a bit awkward. Neither of us really knew what to say. And after that…I´m not exactly sure how it happened, but I know it happened for a good reason…it all came together. The next day, we had an inventory, and straightened out the differences we had had. We talked about what we could both do to change and get better. And since then…wow. I feel happy. Incredibly happy. I feel like…we´ve got it. My companion is doing quite well…I remember just a little bit after we had had exchanges, we were teaching a lady we had contacted a bit earlier, and I wasn´t quite sure where to start. My companion started teaching…and it helped her. A lot. She was talking a bit to us about how she´s Catholic (oh, you don´t know how many people tell us that here…), and it´s a strong tradition in her family, and she doesn´t usually learn about different religions…but she opened her heart a bit, we were able to challenge her to be baptized, and she said she´d pray about it. He was listening to the Spirit right there. And I´ve seen many more instances of that this past week. I already knew my companion was a good missionary…but now that we´re doing so much better (and this time, I think it´s for real…before we were doing better, I think, because we were sweeping a lot of the problems under the rug), I can see so much more how he´s improving and growing. And not only in our teaching…in our relationship as companions, we´re doing great. We´re laughing, we´re joking, we´re talking openly, we´re not arguing…we´re happy. We really are. And it´s helped us out so much. Thank you all for all the counsel you´ve given me. It´s helped me out in so many ways. And more than anything, what has helped me out…trusting in God. Trusting that He´ll help me. And He has. He´s helped me more than I can say.
  • We had a baptism yesterday…so long story short, for various reasons, we had his baptism yesterday, and he will be confirmed next Sunday. Which is a bit of a long wait, but our branch president had a talk with him and us about how important it is that he comes to Church next week, and that he stays clean and prepared to receive the Holy Ghost. His name is Rafael, he´s 18, and he´s really great. We found him about 2 weeks ago, when I was on exchanges in our area with the temporary companion of another elder, that I told you about. Usually when we find people on exchanges, they don´t work out too great. I´m grateful to see that this time, it was different. Once again, I wish I had pictures, but I´ll have to send them later on. Elder Montenegro baptized, for the first time in the field. In cold water (our baptismal font is the only one in the stake that isn´t heated, and is also the only one in the stake that is outdoors…). Fun times. 🙂
  • So, that scriptural insight I was going to tell you all last week. For the sake of time, Mom, I hope you´ll forgive me, but I´m going to copy and paste a bit of how I wrote it to you in your email. I hope you don´t mind, but I wanted to share it with everyone, and I like how I shared it with you.  “I was studying the Book of Mormon this week, in Alma 39, and a verse there reminded me of a quote from Sheri L. Dew from when she came and gave a fireside in the MTC when we were there. She said, ´The greatest evil that Satan was ever, ever able to commit, was to get you to be able to forget.´ It´s so true. When we remember who we are…remember how important our journey is…remember the horrible consequences of doing wrong…we don´t sin. We don´t have the desire…we just don´t do it. But when Satan gets us to be able to forget these things that we know, even for a moment, he´s got us. That´s when we fall to temptation. So what do we need to do? Remember. Remember as much, as hard as we can, that our goal is to live with Heavenly Father again, to have eternal life, to be with our families, to be more like Christ. I´m definitely trying to remember those things much more in my life right now.”
  • Another scripture-related insight…sort of. So I got a bunch of cool old Liahonas/Ensigns in English from the zone leaders (12…remember how I used to check out a bunch of books from the library and then not read them, because there were so many books I wanted to read? It´s like that, except this time, I´m powering through these puppies like they´re candy…I really can´t get enough of the Liahona/Ensign lately), and this morning I was reading the Nov. 2005 Ensign. This was the time when Pres. Hinckley had challenged members to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. Right now, I´m reading through the Book of Mormon in English, because I wanted to really study through it at least once for now before I started to tackle it in Spanish…and I´ve been getting so much from my reading. Every time. I can really see the blessings that Pres. Hinckley promised us all back in 2005…even though it´s now 2013, and it´s been a while since the challenge. You really do learn something new…really, many more new things…every time you read. We have different times in our lives that affect our understanding differently. We listen to the Spirit differently. And thus, the Book of Mormon is truly a special book…we can keep growing and learning by reading it. Every single time we do. I´m grateful for the opportunity I have to read and study it right now (my study journals are a party…I´ve been gaining and recording so many great insights by using one again), and I know without a doubt it´s true. I may not be President Hinckley, but I challenge you all to start reading it, or continue reading it if you´re already doing so. I promise you that it will be worth it.

Yeah, I´m already a bit over time. I didn´t have a list of things to write you all this week to help me organize my thoughts, but I´m happy with what I was able to share. If I forgot any random, funny details…I´m sure I did…as usual, I´ll have to play catch-up later on. For now, know that I´m incredibly feliz, that I´m doing better than ever with Elder Montenegro, and that things are most certainly looking up. I love you all so much, and as always, I love hearing from every single one of you. Don´t be afraid to send me a quick note if you can. (Remember DearElder is still your friend. :)) Sorry for those of you I haven´t gotten to writing yet…know that I´m thinking of you, whoever you are. 🙂 You´ll always be in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope your week is swell…

Con muchísimo amor,
Elder Randall
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