This past week I had many testimony strengthening experiences that I am very grateful for! One came from a sad experience, but one that I was grateful to be a part of! Last week, a member in our ward died of heart failure, something that he had been struggling with for a long time, but the death was sudden and unexpected. Just the Sunday before, he was at church. I was a little taken back by the news nevertheless, being someone in my ward. He was someone that many did not get along with because of his strong doctrinal opinions and his character, leaving people rolling their eyes sometimes..and one of those members that was super harsh on the elders! But it doesn't matter. He and I got along pretty well!
The thing that most caught my attention of him was that whenever we asked him for a reference or if he knew anyone we could teach, he would always talk about all of his inactive members of his family, and how he just wanted them to come to church! Everything he did he always just wanted the best for his family, but the only active members were him, his wife, and one of his grandsons.
A few days later, I was asked to give his wife a blessing of comfort, so we went over to their house to find a lot of the family gathered around the table. We sat down and we talked for a little bit! She bore her testimony of the plan of salvation, and how she knows that it is real and that her family is sealed for eternity! We ended up giving blessings to the whole family. It was a very spiritual experience. Afterwards, I felt prompted to bear my testimony of Christ and the plan of salvation, and share with the family some feelings I had on the death of Hermano Belos, and how he only wanted the best for his family in the gospel! I then told them that the Lord works in marvelous ways to bring families together and help them progress. I knew without a doubt that this is exactly what the Lord wanted to happen, and exactly what Hermano Belos wanted for his family! The youngest son got up and bore his testimony. He served a mission and has been inactive for many years. He told us that the death of his father caused him to have a "spiritual restart" is how he described it, and is what he needed to realize that he needed to come back to church and bring his whole family back. They all planned a temple trip as a family, and all came to church Sunday. I know that the plans of the Lord are perfect, and though we don't always realize it, everything is for our good.
The youngest son began to tell me some mission experiences and told me that the thing that he has learned in all his years of inactivity in the church is that time is the most valuable gift! Time is something that the Lord gives us that we must learn wisely! Before he knew it, 7 years had passed and he has missed out on so many blessings without even realizing it!! He said that as a missionary he always taught how time was the most important thing, a lesson that he had to learn the hard way!
I hope that we all can use the time that the Lord gives us wisely, so that we don't have any regrets! When I started the mission I thought all I had was time, but as I am coming to the end, I realize that it really does come to an end, and the most valuable thing that the Lord has given me has been the time that I have been able to represent Him!
This past week, I had knocked about a million doors and talked to another million in the street with little luck, and I just felt bad...and I said a super heartfelt prayer just to talk to someone that needed us. The very next door that I knocked on, out came Florencia, who told us that she did not even want to live anymore, and that more than ever she needs to come closer to Christ to truly find peace!
The Lord knows us, knows our needs, and always has His arms extended to help us! I know that He lives and loves all of us! I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, that the true church of Christ has been restored and that Jesus Christ is the Savior and redeemer of the world, and a source of eternal peace for all that strive to come unto HIm by faith and obedience!
"Just live the Gospel"
I love you all!!
|Elder Ortiz and Facuando Arias|