Happy almost día de acción de gracias! (Personally I think taking words to name a holiday is overdoing it a little bit). We had a ward thanksgiving party on Friday and we were so excited for it...we got there right on time but there was absolutely no one there yet. If you think Mormons are really bad about being on time to things, try serving in a ward of a bunch of Hispanic Mormons. It's like 10 times worse. The party was so fun though! They had soo much turkey. And to be honest, Hispanics don't really like turkey. They said it over and over again at the party haha I think they just had it just because it's our tradition. But because no one really liked it they were just like oh left over food...let's see who likes food...oh the missionaries!! So we got an entire cooked and stuffed turkey delivered to us the next day bc no one ate it. I'm already so sick of turkey and it's not even thanksgiving yet! Also Hispanics really know how to dance. We also had a lot of investigators come too and it was a really great way for them to meet more members of the ward. We were actually out inviting people to the party the day before and we met this guy from El Salvador ( first person I've met from there) named Roberto (English translation: Robert. You're welcome everyone, yes I know I've learned a lot of spanish on my mission). He got super excited to see us and said that he had talked to some boy missionaries on bikes like us before when he lived in New Jersey and he really wanted to learn more. We taught him about the restoration and he was like you know this whole apostasy restoration thing really makes sense - yeah man that's exactly what I've been saying!!! We also taught him about prayer and testified that if he would pray and ask God if Joseph Smith really was a prophet, He would answer him. And when he prayed to close the lesson, Roberto actually asked in his prayer to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet....that was a big deal since it's only happened a few times so far on my mission where the person will actually ask that in their first prayer with us. We came back the next day and taught Roberto about the Book of Mormon and when he read Moroni's promise he got super excited and was like " I love that! That God will reveal to me the answer!" Hes since read like 10 chapters in the Book of Mormon so he's doing really well! And he came to the thanksgiving party too and was able to meet a lot of the members. Robertos really prepared and I'm so excited to teach him more! Haha he's kind of a spaz though and never stops talking and has so many questions. Sometimes I just want to be like woah man calm down haha but questions are what lead to answers and revelation so I guess keep em coming!
- other items of business this week...oh yeah so last week I told you about Marta and Luis and how Hna Gibson invited them to be baptized in like the first 2 minutes. Well I was super excited about them and we went over to teach them last night and knocked on the door and Luis opened it like a crack and peeked out at us and was like " no! No! The Mormons aren't for us I'm not interested!" Then slammed the door in our face. It hurt. Haha not my face luckily but my heart. I'm not quite sure what happened in the span of a week to harden his heart so fast but it's just makes me so sad to think he just slammed the door on something that could bless his and his family's life so much. He probably heard something from one of his friends or read something on the Internet though.
So we live right by this vet clinic and we always finish up our exercise in the parking lot of it and this morning we actually talked to one of the lady's that works there that always gets to work when we are there. She started talking to us and was like oh you're missionaries right! That's so cool I admire you guys for that. She then went on to ask what church we were a part of and we told her and she was like "oh.....you're Mormons" and then gave us that "what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-you-why- are-you-part-of-that-religion" look that I've come to grow so fond of. She was like " how do you deal with them...the men" and then gave us this really disgusted look " they just beat you all the time and they won't let you show your faces". Uhmm hi mam, pretty sure you're looking at my face right now. I think you might have us confused with maybe some far middle eastern country? I don't know it just amazes me sometimes the things that people believe. I don't understand why people believe everything they read on the Internet...why don't they just come to us and ask us themselves? I was reading something the other day and it said that you couldn't ever expect to know who Jesus really was by interviewing Judas. It's the same with the church. People will never know who we really are and what we represent if they only look at us from the perspective of its accusers. Hopefully we were able to help clarify at least one persons misconceptions about the church today. - well nothing much else really happened this week. It was "cold" for like two days - meaning I had to wear a jacket as we rode our bikes around- and I almost died. I realized that there was definitely a reason I got sent here to Florida because I'm pretty sure I would literally have no desire to do anything if it were cold outside. Come check back with me about how I feel when the summertime rolls around though haha hopefully I'll still have this mindset.
Well to close I thought I'd just write about this lil metaphor I thought of a few weeks ago about the gospel of Jesus Christ. So the gospel of Jesus Christ has five components - faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I like to think of it like running a race. Faith and repentance are like your training. It's the things you do to prepare to start the race, and what you're going to have to rely on during the race to finish it. Baptism is like the start of the race- it's when you show that you really are committed to Jesus Christ and following his commandments, it's how you witness your faith in Him. The Holy Ghost is kind of like your coach and teammates on the side lines cheering you on. When you are staying on course they're right there, telling you where to go, where you need to improve, and to just keep pushing on. But if you get lost, make a wrong turn, and find yourself off the course- there's not going to be anyone there. The Holy Ghost, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ never leave us- we leave them. But with faith and repentance (out training) we can ALWAYS make it back on the course. And enduring to the end. That's the most important part. It doesn't matter where you start it only matters where you finish. You could run the fastest 26.1 miles but if you don't finish that last .1 of the marathon, it's kind of like you didn't even start. And also, just because someone trains really super hard, it doesn't mean that the race gets easier. You are just more capable to run it and you are able to finish further and faster than you would have if you hadn't trained. That's kind of how it is when you are keeping the commandments and reading your scriptures, praying and going to church. Life doesn't get easier because you are doing these things, you are just more equipped to handle the challenges that life brings and are able to finish betterthan you would have if you didn't do those things. Me entienden? I could probably go on forever about the metaphors between running. And life but I've got to go so I'll stop there. But I know and can testify that living the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way we can have
true and everlasting happiness, and it's how we can be able to not only endure our challenges, but to live joyfully always. Hope everyone has a great thanksgiving and remembers the things that we should truly be grateful for! WHAT THERES NOT A TURKEY EMOJI?? Oh well guess this chick and rooster will have to do, you can pretend����. Love you all!!