Other than the lack of sleep, this past week has been very good. On Monday (preparation day), I had to get up at 5 am to go practice for one of the musical numbers that we performed on Wednesday for the conference we had with Elder Alonso, a Seventy and member of the Area Presidency (one of the general church leaders, or rather, one of the leaders who has authority for a large portion of the world. "Seventy" is an office of the priesthood, one which has always been a part of the true church of Jesus Christ, during the time of Moses, the time of Christ, and today as well). Tuesday, I also woke up at 5, as a result of waking up at 5 the previous two days, and my body having accustomed itself to doing so. Thanks, body.
Wednesday we had our conference with Elder Alonso. As the "official" mission pianist, I had to show up at 6:30 to practice with the various groups that would be performing. Again, I got up at 5. It was a wonderful conference, though. It reaffirmed my testimony that this church is directed by men called of God, having authority. He taught us some wonderful things about boldly offering the blessings that one can only find in the true church of Jesus Christ, such as modern revelation, prophets, the priesthood authority to baptize, and to seal families for eternity. And the coolest part of all was when he pronounced a promise on us at the end, after talking about the difference that came to Peter before and after the atonement and ressurection of Christ, using the example of healing the lame man in the temple entrance, that if we were obedient, we too could "arise and walk," and do amazing things in our missions that we'd never imagined before. And so what did I do? I went out of the church building to take a city bus to go home, and decided to stand up in front and preach to the bus. That was a great way to face my fears, was definitely a first, and we got some good contacts out of it. Now I'm not afraid to talk to anyone.
We've seen a few miracles this week. William continues to be a miracle. He's a man who saw a Mormon.org ad online, decided he liked what he saw, contacted a member and told him he wanted to go to his church. He's been showing up to church on his own, and reading the Book of Mormon with a hunger, and has all the right questions.
One of the best moments of this week was when we went to eat lunch with a less-active member we met the week before, Carlos Oscar, who invited us to eat "indio viejo" with him and his family. A member told us to look him up, when we met him the first time, and he and his wife told us they'd been baptized 12 years ago, but stopped attending because it was very, very far from their house. And he didn't think that the true church exists on this earth, but loved the Book of Mormon and knew it was true. The problem was that he had loaned someone his Book of Mormon 10 years ago, and they never returned it, and then moved away. He was trying so hard for that whole time to get his hands on another copy. I tried to explain to him how the fact that the Book of Mormon is true means that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is also true, but he didn't quite understand. So, I gifted him a Book of Mormon, and he was overcome with gratitude. I was touched, because I realized that at times I don't treat that book with such reverence. He then invited us to his house to eat with them the next week.
When we returned, he was recounting us all the wonderful things he'd found in the Book of Mormon. "Que cosas mas bellas, hermana!" He absolutely loves the fact that there are more prophets than the ones that appear in the Bible. We then invited him to General Conference, the Biannual conference where the modern-day prophets and apostles direct themselves to the whole church and world, and again, he was overcome. Absolutely speechless. He, so excited, said to his wife "why...let's go! Let's go! Did you hear that? It's not ever day that someone invites you to hear a prophet speak!" She's evangelical these days, but even she was excited about it. Not even my Uncle Loren, the person who loves conference the most on this world, I thought, can match Carlos in his excitement. He's inviting all his friends. I am so excited for him.
Yesterday we were a little disappointed when one of our families didn't come to church with us. After church I was walking around so discouraged and disappointed that I didn't want to talk to anyone, because I didn't feel happy enough to convey the joy of my message with them, when we saw a beautiful young family coming our way. I had an inner battle, asking if I should talk to them or no, not wanting to, but feeling that I should. We did introduce ourselves to them, explained a little of our message, they mentioned that they'd talked with Elders once before, but never had time to visit with them. As we explained about eternal families, they asked us when we could come visit with them. We set an appointment, and then invited them to accompany us to church on Sunday. The wife said "you know what? We will. Because of what happened this morning." Her husband had gotten into a terrible accident at almost 100 km per hour, totaled his car, ruined the other vehicles as well, but he escaped without a scratch. They knew it was a miracle, and were ready to show gratitude to God in the ways he asked. As they left, they told us "we visit a lot of churches, but the one we like best is the one you have, because those young men explained us such simple, basic truths in such a simple way. We're busy, but if we make an appointment and say we'll be there, we'll be there. We'll be expecting you!"
This time, I was the overcome, speechless one. The Lord blesses us when we least expect it, and I am so excited to see blessings come to that adorable little family.
I love my Savior, I love his gospel, and I love you! Have a wonderful week!