Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 22, 2011 (1st Transfer)


August 22, 2011

Dear Family,

I love you all so very much and I'm so happy every single week that I get to read your e-mails.  It sounds like you had quite the adventure in Utah, unless you're still there.  It sounds like a lot of fun!  I'm always trying to have a good attitude, but this week was just a little bit hard.  I feel kind of neglected all of a sudden and like they don't really want anything else done to test for my disease, but all i was told by the doctor was that I definitely had Inflammatory Bowel Disease and that the test I took was just to figure out if I have Chron's or Ulcerative Colitis.  So I got kind of mad at the doctor for leaving me in the dark like that and not telling me anything, but didn't tell him I was mad obviously.  So I'm staying in Florida.  There's no hope for me going to Mexico, so that's that.  I know that I'm going to do just as great here and that this challenge is only to help me grow.  That's the thing about the Plan of Salvation is that it's not easy and I really just want to sit around and complain all day, but where does that get you?  Nowhere.  So I guess I'm just gonna move on and try to not let it bother me too much that I don't know what's wrong with me.  They told me in 6 months they can give me another Colonoscopy and it will be more conclusive or something and Sister Barry agreed and just told me that we are just going to wait until then.  I'm just on the Asacol still and I'll be taking it for who knows how long.  I just will press forward and as long as I'm feeling fine, there's nothing to be worried about.  I just really hope that in six months the results actually ARE more conclusive.

So other than all of that, the mission is going great.  I got transferred this week to Orange Park, just right across the bridge from San Jose, and I'm now companions with a native speaker, Elder Garnica.  He's from Mesa, Arizona, but his parents are Mexican so he's fluent in both and doesn't have an accent in either really...  Lucky!  But anyway, we've been out for the same amount of time on our missions.  That's what was so crazy to me.  When I first arrived here, I was a little bit nervous because we're both so fresh, but I know that there's nothing to worry about because God provides for his noobies.  We had some incredible miracles this week!

So a member of the church and her non-member husband moved from New Jersey this week into the ward and we went to go and visit them and the husband said he had been seeing the missionaries for about a month and going to church and studying the Book of Mormon and got out all of these notes and everything and it was amazing!  So we taught him a little bit about the Restoration and then committed him to be baptized and he committed to set a goal to be baptized this weekend.  There are a lot of families here in similar situations, the only problem is that everybody either doesn't have a car or works on Sundays.  We try to teach them the commandment to keep the sabbath day holy, but a lot of people just don't understand it!  So we set 4 baptismal dates in the past 3 or 4 days though and they were all pretty solid.  I can't believe the success that we're already seeing.

But anyway, back to this part member family from New Jersey...  He told us he would come to church this week, but didn't come yesterday because he was in the hospital with his pregnant wife.  I was a little bit worried about them and asked if there was anything we could do to help and he told us he was gonna come to sacrament meeting anyway, but then he didn't.  We figured he had a legitimate excuse, so we just called him around 6:30 last night and he told us that his wife miscarried.  How do you even respond to news like that?  It was so shocking and we just asked if there was anything we could do and they invited us over to teach a quick lesson.  I was so nervous, but Elder Garnica and I prayed to be led to know what to say.  So we went up and read a little bit of Moroni 8 with them and assured them that families can be together forever and a few other things and then we sang a Hymn and it was powerful. I really admire the faith of her husband and his knowledge that their baby is in a better place.  I just felt so warm inside afterwards, and I hope that we helped them out a lot.  They are an amazing family. 

This week we got a media referral from a finding faith in Christ pass-along card and went to go visit her.  We taught the first lesson and before we could invite her she told us she wanted to be baptized and that she knew the Book of Mormon was true somehow.  Haha it was just so wonderful.  We are basically just being given golden investigators straight from heaven.  This should be an awesome transfer!  We've just got to learn to do everything on our own.

I read those verses.  Those are some of the best chapters in the Book of Mormon in my opinion.  (The ones where Alma teaches his sons...)  It's really true and because it's true this is the only way!  There's only one name given under heaven by which man can be saved and we follow him under the instruction of a man in authority to receive revelation for the whole world.  I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and that there is a living prophet today.  I know that God has a plan and everything that happens to us, only happens for our benefit and chance to grow and become better people.  I don't know why I'm just now discovering a lot of the things I am, but I'm glad that I am now and not never.  I'm reading this book called the Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball, and if you all haven't read it, just do it.  It's amazing and it is opening my eyes to how God really looks upon sin and sinners and the whole purpose of life.  I really love it so much.

There's not a whole lot that I can ask for from you guys.  I don't know!  You can send me a care package any day of the week and I'll be happy...  Pictures are always awesome or if you can somehow send videos of Sophie, Sadie, Maggie and Ellie walking and talking or whatever else.  I just don't really know what to ask for because I'm pretty content with what I have and don't really need much more than that.  Cookies, candy, pictures, whatever you think would help me out to be a happier and better missionary!  

I love you all so much and I am so grateful to have you in my life.  I hope you keep on being so amazing and happy and don't ever let the tests and weights of the world hold you down.  Always see the end from the beginning!

Love,

Eric

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