Not sure if I should describe this week as rough or wonderful, or if they are even mutually exclusive. I am definitely getting hit by some Honduran love health-wise, delicately meaning that I have been pretty sick the past few days. Not sure if it's Montezuma or just the plantains, but someone is getting their revenge.
On a more serious note, I got a call from my Mission President this morning that my Grandpa Jerry had passed away. Not the best news to hear in the morning, or ever really, but it got me thinking about the plan of salvation on a much more personal level. Every day we are teaching people that death is not the end, that through Christ´s atonement we will all overcome physical death. These words really take on a new significance when someone close to us passes away. I am so grateful for the comfort that I have at this rough time with this knowledge. But along with physical death, Jesus Christ is our savior because in the Garden of Gethsemane, he suffered for us so that we have the ability to overcome SPIRITUAL death. This is equally, if not more, incredible to me. Spiritual death is the result of our separation from God and from his Spirit, which we bring upon ourselves when we sin. It brings shame, guilt, and misery; for we turn ourselves away from the light of spiritual life and walk into the darkness. Christ endured this separation from God in his last moments on the cross, causing a pain far greater than the beatings and mockings he had received that whole day, which caused him to cry out in ultimate agony "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?"
Brothers and Sisters, through repentance, we can overcome spiritual death. We can become clean once again, and have the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the love and guidance of our God and our Savior always, not only in this life, but in the life to come. I love my Grandpa Jerry and will miss him (and our chess games). My Grandfather wasn't perfect, but he had taken those steps necessary in his life to return to live with God again. He had followed the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his life--with faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end--which are the steps Christ established when he was on the earth for us to conquer spiritual death and return to live with him in eternal happiness and glory. This is what I teach all day long, and look forward to teaching for the next two years, because following the steps of the Gospel of Christ brings us incredible and indescribable blessings and happiness in this life and the life to come. I know with all my heart that this is true. I know that my Grandpa was a worthy priesthood holder, raised a righteous family, and, although not perfect, tried to do his best. And thanks to the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and continuing revelations from modern-day prophets, I know exactly where he is and where he and all of us will go. I know he is in that "state of rest and peace" we learn about in Alma 40:11-12. And I am ever so grateful for that sweet knowledge. I also know that through the blessings of Temple ordinances, I am sealed to my Grandpa and the rest of my family, and we will live together for eternity. I really truly know this to be true.
My Grandpa Jerry at my Mission Farewell
This week was also wonderful for many other reasons. Yaneli, an investigator who had vehemently told her sister that she was going to go to Hell for being baptized in June, is going to be baptized this Saturday. When she stopped to actually search what we were saying, and pray about it, she received an answer. It is really that simple. We don't ask anyone to believe our words as missionaries, we ask them to find out for themselves. God will answer our prayers. I promise and He promises. She wants me to baptize her and I think we can do it in the ocean. Gonna be the coolest thing ever.
Also, we had Elder Ochoa of the Quorum of the Seventy come to a musical program that we did for new investigators and the next day we had a meeting with him. It was awesome.
One of our investigators had a baby this week. Got to hold him!
The Stake President came to our ward and totally machete´d our ward leaders and got everyone mobilized and motivated to help in missionary work. Miracles be a'coming when missionaries and members work together!
Oh yeah, haha, also taught Yaneli calculus on Tuesday--one thing I was never expecting to do here in Honduras! But we are here to serve and she had a big test the next day so I mustered all of my mathematical skills to help. There are 3 things in this world that I am super terrible at: Calculus, Spanish, and Basketball. If only I was dribbling a basketball while helping her, I would have been a triple threat. But the next day she said that the exact part of calculus that I had taught her was what most of the test was on. God=1 Test=0.
Other than that, I fill my days eating pig skin soup, dodging gunfights in the streets at night (not even joking hahaha), and living the gringo missionary life.
Thanks for all of your prayers! I know that if we live righteously, we will indeed die easy. Live righteously everyone!!!!