Monday, March 31, 2014

One Year Ago! And a Kiss on the Cheek?

A year has past. I couldn't begin to explain how different things are now. In Spanish, there are two words people use to descibe change, There is "cambiando" and "mejorando". I wouldn't say I have changed as a person in general. But I would say I am "mejorando" or becoming better. In the past year, I have grown up.  I have gone from that kid who can't stop thinking about skateboarding, music, and girls, to someone who can never sleep Saturday nights, just praying investigators will come to church on Sunday. My priorities have gone from work, school, and food to companions, investigators, and baptisms. My brain has changed.  The main opportunities I have to speak english are writing you all, and tuesdays during meetings with other americans.  (so sorry for grammar if it's bad :D ) Other than that, I dream, think, and speak Spanish. My brain speaks spanish now, not english. I guess overall, these are good changes for me.  And this is only the halfway point!
Now, back to this week and all that has happened.
My companion and I decided that the best way for people to enter the water is for them to know from the beginning what our purpose is. This has helped us a ton, and now we usually place a baptismal date with them on the first lesson we teach to them.  Last week, we were teaching an older lady, named Julia. On our first visit, we invited her to baptism but explained she had to read the Book of Mormon, and then after pray about it. We promised her is she asked sincerely, she would receive an answer, and she did.  Now, I can't remember which apostle said this, but he explained that not everyone feels the spirit in the same way. Some people are cryers. Some people (like me) feel it as a burning within their chest.  Her answer was received in a much different way... We asked her to explain how she knew the book of mormon was true, and this is what she told us:  "I read one chapter out of the book of mormon, and after immidiately began to pray and ask if it were true.  I received my answer by a kiss on my cheek from the spirit! I felt it, and that was my answer!"  And while I doubt I'll ever receive an answer to my prayers through a kiss on the cheek, that was how she got hers. And now she has her answer.

While overall, I have loved my mission, everyone I have met, the things I have learned, etc., I can't say there haven't been very, very hard times here.  Thursday, I woke up. March 27, my year mark.  My first thought was "wow, one whole year!" Then after I realized it was only the halfway point. There's a whole other year left to go. Then came a whole string of negative thoughts into my head. Satan has a way of turning a good thing into a negative one, and I got brought down.  Thinking about home. Thinking about the family, my buddies. Worrying about bank charges. And, finding out a week ago my ex girlfriend Taylor was engaged wasn't comforting news either. This may have been my toughest time I've had so far in my mission, and I needed help.  Our first reachout as missionaries is the Lord, then our companion, then DL, LZ, etc.  With my situation, I consulted the Lord.  I asked to help clear my head. I asked to be able to focus on the work and stop getting caught up in back home. I wouldn't be there for another year anyways. I asked for blessings. That was Saturday night. Sunday, the blessings came flying in for us! We were able to bring 8 people to church with us! That was more than I had ever done before.  We also received 7 references from members. In my last area, we never received references from members. After church, we were able to find EVEN MORE new people.  My prayers were answered. We had success. I completely forgot about all other distractions and just focused all my energies on the people here. There is no other explanation to that other than answers to prayers. 

Elder Potts III
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

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