Monday, December 12, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover and Change

I don't think Josh lives here, but it's a picture of a house nearby, so it'll do.

Joshua's motivational study area.
Hola amigos! Ojala que todos de ustedes esten bien!

Just going to apologize upfront for my English; every week when I reread my emails home to see what my family's responding to, I realize how bad it really is. :P Por fin estoy mas o menos comodo con mi espanol. Practicarlo es divertido de verdad ahora, pero es muy chistoso cuando digo frases de ingles en espanol o viceversa, porque me parecen correcto y no puedo darme cuenta cuando un frase es del otro idioma.

A mission inspector came by a few weeks ago and said our pension was the nastiest in the mission (it's seen around forty years of missionaries), so now we have "Extreme Homemakover: Missionary Edition" going on while we're trying to study. I hate the hammering haha. :) But the pension was pretty bad before, so seeing the new floor and working water taps (not to mention toilet flusher) has been pretty sweet. What with all that and having gas for hot showers again, it's been an exciting week. :)

We had a lot of success this week. We found a ton of super interesting Haitians that are excited to hear the Gospel. It's also one of the coolest things that I've ever experienced because being from Haiti, Spanish is not their first language either. So while we teach in Spanish, they alternate asking questions and helping each other understand what's going on in Creole and French...while Elder Barrett and I plan our next steps in English! Is that crazy or what? XD I love it; they're very cool, humble people. It's also interesting being able to recognize Haitian accents in Spanish. It's funny seeing how similar it is to their English accents. :) Anyways, they're learning a lot from their Book of Mormons and Bibles in French AND Spanish. ;)

Our Mission President taught a lesson this week and talked about a meeting he attended with some other Mission Presidents.  Elder Holland spoke and asked them why missionary work was so hard. Hahaha President said nobody wanted to answer THAT question! :D  Elder  Holland ended up answering his own question, though, and said that he believes that the reason it's so hard is that the Gospel "is a message of CHANGE."  And people don't want to change. Most of us don't like it. 

I really liked that; it makes a lot of sense. What we do as missionaries is invite others to come unto Christ by putting their lives in harmony with His teachings, so that in the end they can be happier. We invite them to "put off the natural man," or the natural state we're comfortable with, and CHANGE, be baptized, be born again.  Only by doing these things, by following Jesus Christ, can we start on the path to enduring happiness and eternal life.  But like Elder Holland said, people don't like change, and really every time my companion and I have been rejected, it has been because the person is comfortable or familiar with their habits, traditions, and day-to-day life.

I loved what our President said at the end. "Hay una vida mejor que tienen ahora." "There is a better life than they have right now." And that's why we keep trying.

I also love this scripture from the Book of Mormon. It really sums up all of our struggles as we try to help people make and keep commitments to pray, to read, and to come to short, to CHANGE. In Alma 42:27 it says, "Por tanto, oh hijo mio, el que quiera venir, puede venir a beber libremente de las aguas de la vida; y quien no quiera venir, no esta obligado a venir." Or in English: "Therefore, oh my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come."

We all have our agency. God's never going to force us to do or have something, even if that something is happiness. So many good scriptures in the Book of Mormon and Bible about that.

Thanks Morgan, Sarah, and Neal family for your letters (the pictures were amazing haha(! In all they were very inspiring, even if some of them took a while to get here! :)

Miss you all! :) Hope you're all ready for Christmas! Remember what it's really about! :)
Elder Jones

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