My heart is with the family! I was thinking about McKay all day! I kept looking at the watch, telling Elder Dunford, "he's probably leaving the house now...." "They're probably eating lunch now!" "Oh my heck, he's at the MTC now!" haha. Elder Dunford now knows perfectly well that McKay has entered the MTC. But I hope everything is okay for you guys. I got an email from him and I was super stoked to see that he was able to write when he first got there. Because I didn't want to wait another week! Sounds like he is loving his comp! It's a bummer that he will only be with him for 2 weeks. Maybe he'll serve with him again in the field.
Well this week has been crazy. Me and Elder Dunford have experienced the miracle of a lifetime! You know when you hear about those stories of people who are totally ready for the gospel AND baptism (a huge difference in just being ready for the gospel) comes up to the missionaries and wants to be baptized? Yeah...well me and Elder Dunford had one of those experiences! Oh my heck. I never thought I would have one of these experiences. But it happened. So 2 weeks ago, me and Elder Dunford were contacted some dude in the town square...I saw out of the corner of my eyes that there was this guy on his bike just staring at us. I made eye contact with him during the conversation with this other guy and he made a motion that he wanted to talk to us after we were done with him. So after talking to the guy (sadly he didn't want anything to do with us) but we talked to this man and we were a bit hesistant at first because usually when this happens it is just people that want to bible bash with us. He made it short...he said "My name is Luis, here is my information (hands us half of an envelope with his personal information written on it) and I have been looking for you guys for a very long time. I would love it if you guys could make a visit to my house and we can talk!" The dude lives about 30 minutes away by car from the main city in which we work. So we arranged to go over there with a member. We were still kinda expecting him to bash with us. But when we went over there this last week, he was super attentive and the spirit was incredibly strong. This man lives in the poorest conditions I have ever seen. I am not even kidding. I wanted to take a picture of it it was so bad...but I didn't want to seem offensive. He lives in basically a rock with a tin roof over it. As far as space is concerned, he has sufficient living space...but you go inside and it seriously looks like a giant cave. We went with Miguel Silva (the member I always talk about...who took us on that awesome hiking adventure) and Miguel said, "I don't care what religion he belongs to. He cannot keep living in these conditions. We have got to do something about this." Miguel is such a freakin boss. He took down the phone number of Luis's social worker person, and was going to call him to work out something. He told us on the way back that "If we preach the gospel and then let him continue to live in those circumstances, we clearly do not believe in what we are preaching." The lesson went really well, and Luis prayed about the Book of Mormon while we were there and he said he found a profound inner peace. We made another visit and he accepted a baptismal date for the 24th of this month! And here is the biggest thing....mother, he rode his bike to church. 2 and a half hours in the blazing sun he rode his bike to church...and 2 and a half hours back! You know a man is dedicated and seriously has interest when he is willing to do that! Never have a found a man in Portugal that has had that same dedication! It is truly a miracle. after church Miguel invited him to go eat lunch at his house. And he had a really good time. We then met with him after to teach him more...and at the end of the lesson he said..."So...24th of August. What do I need to bring?" Mother....YOU DO NOT FIND PEOPLE LIKE THAT HERE! It was such a miracle! And well needed as well...we have been struggling finding people that we can teach. So this has been just the coolest miracle ever! If everything continues as it is (and we hope so very much that it does) then there is no doubt that he will be baptized on the ! Also...this'll make you have even more respect for him...He needs to have surgery on his spine and on his knee. (he showed us this huge lump on his knee that needs to be taken out) And he STILL rode his freakin bike to church. This guy is incredible...he's in his late 50's too. This is a very big example for ALL of us. Would we be willing to do the same thing as him to be able to go to church to renew our covenants? If not, let us work towards this goal. To be able to have that big of desire to go to church that we would be willing to ride 2 and a half hours in the blistering heat (in a freakin suit at that) to be able to worship the Lord! He is an inspiration to all of us. This week let's all ponder how we can be more willing!
Other news...well with the changes in our zone it has been pretty difficult. We have received some missionaries that are causing a bit of trouble in the zone. Our last zone was so perfect and so it has been such a bummer to have to deal with so much crap. Elder Eddington's new comp (the greenie that I have told stories about...who lives with us) he is from Cape Verde (you know how great of experiences I have had with them... :) ) and he has been causing a bit of trouble since getting here. I don't see the point in writing about the stuff that we have had to deal with since he has gotten here...that wouldn't benefit anybody...but needless to say me and Elder Dunford will probably be talking to President this week about the situations. Wouldn't be completely surprised if there was an emergency transfer this week. Sigh. I hate that. But it ticks me off to see missionaries come out here who cause trouble to the mission. We come to the mission to be blessings...not burdens. And poor Elder Eddington is just trying to make the right choices...but he can't really do anything about it. He has vented to us a lot...and has been in tears a few times this last week. I feel a lot for him...and it kinda breaks my heart to see him like that. I'll let you know what happens with the situation.
Lastly...me and Elder Dunford went over to Miguel's earlier this week after having a lesson with Luis...and Miguel taught us soooooo much. I would like to talk about one thing that I never thought about. He talked to us a little bit about the Atonement (as he was talking to us I was just writing down a bunch of notes...it was quite funny) He asked us a question. What happened after the Lord said "Father if it be possible, take this cup from me!" And I said...well he said "Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done." And Miguel said....before that...I had no idea. He showed me in the scriptures something very interesting. After he asked the Father to take this burden from them...there is a semi colon. Miguel reminded us that a semi colon implies a pause. He then went on explaining that we the Lord said that...we have no idea how long we waited before He submitted to the father's will. I even remember reading a talk that said that when the Lord said that there was silence in the heavens. We had no idea what would become of the human race. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine all of us up in heaven thinking of the horror of being completely lost. The scriptures are very clear in saying that if the Atonement was not made...we would be LOST. And we would be delievered to the devil in endless torment. We would NOT have the chance to progress spiritually and become like God. I'm sure this pause seemed a lot longer than it actually was. 30 minutes may have seemed like 5 hours, as we hoped with all of our might that the Lord would go through with the Atonement. And when He uttered the words "nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done." Can you imagine the relief that we felt. I can imagine such relief, but such horror to watch the Savior of the world pass through more pain than any human soul could EVER endure. Bear in mind that Jesus Christ did not have to do what he did. He was already perfect. He could have already been saved with God the Father. We would have been lost. Oh my heck. After pondering about this, I felt the love of my Savior increase drastically. I bear testimony that He lives. And that He loves us. No one would EVER go through what He went through unless that love was perfect and infinite.
There was much more that he talked about...that I have safely in my new study journal (unfortunately my bag was never returned...)
I am happy to hear that everything is going well at home! Things here are good...in answer to your question...yes being district and zone leader has been very busy. Lots of stuff to do. But we still manage to get work done and the Lord is blessing us. I'm not perfect...but I can honestly say that when we strive to be the best we can be, striving to be obedient at all times...everything just works out. And we feel a lot better about who we are, and what we do!
I love you so much! Hope everything is going well and that you have a great week! Your in my thoughts and prayers!