Monday, October 17, 2011

The fruits of the Spirit are clear: Joy, peace, and happiness

My new bag from the mission (my blue one is ripping from the weight)... 102_0460

Dear Family,
This week went by way fast. Well, it went really fast until Saturday and then the weekend had a lot more to it. Two baptisms :) Two young brothers, they're really nice. Their mom had been inactive forever but she gave a nice testimony at the baptism and will be returning to church. The grandma is the only faithful one of the family, but now she has her two grandsons. The service was really special, I shared my testimony and the story of how we found them and then sang "I need Thee every hour" in Spanish and in acapella. The piano cord broke so Elder Ludlam hasn't been able to share his talents yet. We use a keyboard here.

The weather has been especially pleasant, nice breezes throughout the day and not too much sun. I could live in this weather for the rest of my life. Guayaquil is perfect for me. I really don't have any time to write everything down before hand and then just come here and type it all out. We usually get home at 9:30pm and plan until 10pm. Then I write in my journal and brush my teeth and with all that it's 10:20pm and time to pray and get in bed. All the roosters in Guayaquil decide to converse at around 4am and don't stop their important discussion until after 6am. You learn to love it.

I love the families of this ward. They see our work and are beginning to help us more. One of my mamitas had stayed for the third hour the last two Sundays. That was a great success for me. She had stopped going to Relief Society for a long time, but now she goes with her daughter who just moved up from Young Womens. Elder AlveƱo and I had tried persuading her to stay all three hours without success, but this first Sunday of change we gave that class the second hour to all members. That was the first Sunday she stayed and this Sunday proved it wasn't a one time thing. We aren't just trying to bring new members to the ward, but to improve the quality of the ward as a whole. Person by person and family by family is how this works.

I learned something important this week. A lack of happiness, of excitement to work, or even depression, is something we can take as a blessing. It is a sign to us that we don't have the company of the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are clear: Joy, peace, and happiness. Galations 5:22 If we don't have these things we don't have the Spirit and we need to do something to get the Spirit. Most of the time that means we have to repent. Reconcile with God. Get your life in order with Him and then continue on in happiness. I know that the times when I haven't been as happy it is because of this. But I am happy to say that I am happy. I know Christ knows me and I am trying to work His will here. It's hard, but really I am a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ and I can be better every day. This is my time to grow the most and I will not be coming home the same person. I want the change we see in Nefi before and after he gets the plates. How he considers himself. Alma 53 teaches us what it really means to be a man. I want to be a man of God and am so happy to say that my father is a man of God as well as my two older brothers. And my uncles. And mis abuelos. We are so blessed. I pray for your success while I'm gone, please be careful. Pray for the ward Amazonas 2. We can work miracles here with some more faith.

Elder Johnson

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