My heart is pounding pretty hard right now, these have been the best 25 months of my life!
So many amazing things happened this week! So many weekly goals were accomplished:)
My companion baptized for the first time! Celestino, a man who'd been investigating for over a year, finally, through our humble words choose to follow Christ and make the baptismal covenant. He's the best! I'll show the pictures on Friday. On Sunday, I confirmed him.
What a delight to hear that so many of my favorite people bore their testimonies this week! In my 7:30am Sacrament meeting in Bolivar, following which I taught the Gospel Principles class about eternal marriage (how ironic?!) then I got special permission to go to the Miraflores branch from the APs to give my testimony there (their meeting starts at 9:30am). It was extra special bearing my testimony in Miraflores, because after the closing hymn was said, President Flores stood up before anyone left the sacrament meeting and said, "This isn't protocol, however... Elder Bender, can you come on up here?" I walked up to his side and he said, "On behalf of the Miraflores family, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the work you have done here. We all love you." He went on to explain that I got to the branch just in time to save many people there, including the branch president who was more depressed at that point in his life than ever before. I think more than one pair of eyes were watery.
I can't express enough my love for them all! I want to be a member here! The Church is so true! Love is the lubricant and the life of His Labor.
Can I please be Bermejeño?
I have pondered a little bit about how I'd finish what I write today, and I guess I'll just mention a few of the changes - visual and non-visual - that He has made on the canvas of my soul.
Visual and obvious changes:
-Well, um, I speak Spanish!
-I have a new hairstyle - very missionaryish
-I am about 15 pounds heavier
-I am more doctrinally confident
-I am more reverent about heavenly things
-I have cultivated a vivid and vibrant testimony of the divinity of Christ's mission, and the healing and comforting power of His Atonement.
-A strong and friendly relationship with the Holy Ghost.
-A childlike innocence and lack of desire to see, hear, or speak things that would offend the Spirit.
-I have learned to devour and love the holy scriptures.
-I have a better appreciation of the importance of, and basic need for an eternal family - and a deep gratitude for my parents, siblings, and relatives.
-I've better learned how to lead as Christ led, and follow as He followed His Father.
-I`ve learned the laws of justice, mercy, and grace. Also the role of obedience in the eternal plan of happiness.
-A deeper understanding of covenants and a reverent desire to keep them, and make more.
I love you all!
I Love Jesus Christ! He is Lord.