The same feeling came to me as I woke up this morning and looked at my agenda and saw that it is the 1st of August. I will, in 17 days, have been a missionary for a year and the thought boggles my mind. I look back sometimes and think about things that I was doing and people that I was with and that was almost a year ago. I think as a missionary the Lord makes time go a little fast because it seems as though some days there is no such thing as time. It's not necessarily the fact that I don't want to think about it, in fact I can't help but think about it, because it's the truth of things that I'm almost to the half way point but the best part about it is that I'm never going to be going "down hill" because I'm on a journey to the top. It's uphill until I'm done. Something that Elder Hatch, my first companion, told me was I came in running and I'm going out running. I will never stop running in this race to eternal life, I will get there no matter what I have to do.
As you have seen from the other emails the work is progressing in my area, Ciudad Vieja, and as a result of that, yesterday we had 3 baptisms. They were all children, but they come from a family that has been inactive for over 15 years and we reactivated their mother. The step father is not a member but we will continue to work with him (he has to get divorced before he can get baptized). We are also planning baptisms for the next 2 weekends. Both are parents who are widows but they are willing and ready to accept the gospel. The Lord has prepared them through their trials and the best part about it is that they will have the opportunity to be sealed to their spouses who have passed away. What a great blessing it is to have temples and to be able to do temple work for those who have passed this life without the gospel. It is amazing to me, like you mentioned mother, the power of the Atonement. I know that without the Atonement no one would be able to do saving ordinances because they wouldn't matter. But because the Savior suffered for all of us, the Atonement takes effect in our lives when we repent. I came on the mission because of the Atonement. I know that it is real and I feel like the sons of Mosiah when they expressed that they couldn't stand the thought of anyone not receiving the gospel and so that is why I decided to serve the Lord. I have grown in my testimony of the Savior and His sacrifice as I see people repent and change. I grow in my testimony each Sunday as I partake of the Sacrament. I Love the Savior and I know He loves me. He died for each and everyone of us so that we could repent and he retook His life that we all might raise again and live with Him forever in our families 2 Nephi 25:26.
I got the pictures that dad sent me :) Thank you very much. I can't believe how grown up everyone is but it's inevitable. I have also grown, just not so much upward as I have outward :) I can't believe that the kids are starting school again. I thought they just got out? It amazing being on the mission and not having to worry about that. I feel so blessed that I am serving because it is not so stressful as school. My biggest worry is if the mission secretary is on top of things so that I'll have my money for the month. I know that if I am doing all I can to be obedient the Lord will take care of the rest. The mission life is the best thing ever. I know that I have it good :)
Thank you for all of your support and for all of your love. I feel your prayers. I pray for you all too and I hope that the Lord answers your prayers as He does mine.
Soul Heart and Hand to God's Command.