MEXICO VILLAHERMOSA MISSION -- JULY 2012 - 2014
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, December 31, 2012

Persuasion

Dear Friends and Family,

I don't know if you were there, saw, or took notice of what my mother said this week when I talked to her. And keep in mind she said it in a nicer way than this, but she said basically, "Caleb, you're forgetting the people at home here in your big emails. They are getting shorter. Get your act together." Long story short here is to start with this: quite honestly, you can do whatever you want in the mission. Someone will always say something about what you do, good or bad. But your progression is really up to no one else but you. Sadly there isn't a lot of guidance and President has even related that we, as missionaries are lost. (More in the sense that people who are ready to hear the message are all around us, but still). And so yeah, maybe I did lose a bit of my focus on you guys and I'll try not to neglect you and report back to make sure I'm focused and progressing. It's hard to really say you've progressed when you are still in the picture yourself. So, I'll try to do better mom.

The topic this week then is persuasion. Read D&C 121 if you need, but it fits me well to just say that persuasion is a virtue of the priesthood. Now that may sound odd, and maybe even a little sacreligious. But if you can take it with the right heart, then you can understand that with the priesthood, you can be the instrument that guides the Spirit to persuade others (or vice versa depending on how you look at it). Long story short that takes us to our first miracles of the week:

"Ésta semana tuvimos un bautismo de una niña inscrita--asignado a nosotros por el obispo. Tal vez pareció como una pérdida de tiempo en el principio para nosotros como misioneros, pero lo hicimos por nuestro obispo. El bautism salió muy bonito yy fue el medio para algunos milagros esta semana. Dos personas que asistieron al bautismo nos aprocharon y ellos dijeron que quieren bautizarse. Una de esas personas fue Karen, una niña que cayó porque no tenía el permiso de su mamá. Este bautismo tocó el corazón de la mamá de Karen que también asistió y ahora tenemos planeado a bautizar a Karen este fin de semana."

["This week we had a baptism for a child of record--assigned to us by the bishop. It may have seemed like a waste of time at first, for us as missionaries, but we did it for our bishop. The baptism went very beautifully and it was the cause of some miracles this week. Two people who attended the baptism approached us and told us they wanted to be baptized. One of the people was Karen, a girl that fell because she didn't have her mother's permission. This baptism touched Karen's mother's heart, who had also attended, and now we have planned Karen's baptism for this weekend."]

Y despues [and later], I'll share an example of something that hit me hard with the persuasion of the Spirit in my life. I didn't plan on ever sharing this, but someone needs to hear it. To start out I took my lacrosse stick to the MTC because I was a college athlete, I needed it and I would have time to practice each morning as we worked out. Was this such a bad thing? Of course not. But, I took it out one night to share it with a friend I had made in the MTC. We had a good time and everything was appropriate and everything went well. I returned to my room to brush my teeth and get ready for bed only to find a member of another Branch Presidency in the MTC in my room talking to a few of the Elders from my district. But how did I return to my room? Well of course I was cradling my lacrose stick reminiscing in the old days of when I was loving life as a lacrosse player. I entered my room, the Branch President's back was turned and all the other Elders saw me but he did not. I quickly threw the stick in the closet of another Elder and hid the stick. Of course he would have said something if he had seen the stick and even though he did not, and neither did anyone in my district, I still heard the message loud and clear of what I needed to do. I at that moment felt I needed to focus my two years more on what I was to be doing now and not what I had already done. So, I sent my lacrosse stick home. I have no doubt I was prompted by the Spirit to do that. I can also tell you that to be 100% honest I have no idea why I needed to do it. I was persuaded by the Spirit. This is how we need to learn things for ourselves and I'm forever thankful that my parents helped me to let the Spirit always persuade my choices and not force me one way or another. Forcing choices impedes growth. Agency is the only way to grow. Also, I got to pay for a package with stamps. That was cool.

"Did you not tell them they were the Lord's chips?"

Love you all,
Caleb

P.S. Sorry Mom.

Notes:

"President" refers to Caleb's mission president, President Castañeda.
"Child of record" refers to a child that was raised in the Church and chooses to be baptized at age 8.
"Aprocharse" is a false cognate. Instead, Spanish speakers say "se nos acercaron" for "the approached us."
"Branch Presidency" is the leadership of a small congregation.
The quote at the end is from Nacho Libre.

Sending the lacrosse stick home.

Using tons of stamps to send the lacrosse stick home.

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