This past week was nuts! The time has gone by so fast. But it was a great week and i am happy with the blessings that we saw. We did an exchange in the beginning of the week with some missionaries from Antofagasta, and then we spent the rest of the time working in our own area and preparing for the zone conference.
Thursday morning we got up really early and then we left to head to the south of the mission. We did 3 different conferences in the south. There were in Chañaral, Copiapó and Vallenar. President asked Elder Pinto and I to share something similar to what we shared in the leadership council. My companion talked some more about the doctrine of Christ and I talked about the importance of goals and planning to help us have success and baptize. My favorite conference that we had was in copiapó. While we were in each of the zones we worked with the zone leaders that night and then left the next morning to get to the next city for the zone conference. We left on Saturday night from Vallenar in a bus so that we could get to church here in Antofagasta.
We have a family that we are teaching from Columbia, it was a referral that we received from a member. They are so great, we taught the daughter last week with a couple of members and then today the entire family went to church. The parents and then the two children, the little girl is 16 and the other boy is 8. We knew that the whole family was going to go to church and so that is why we took a bus all night long to get here. We arrived here around 8:00 this morning. We were super excited to see this family at church, they loved it and had a bunch of questions. We have an appointment with them tonight. We are stoked! We want to set some baptismal dates for the future.
Anyways great things are happening down here in MCA. When the prophet gave the announcement about the hastening the work of salvation, most of the missionaries had to change the form of the way they are working. Many were not working with members and we saw a decrease in numbers for a little bit, however now things are rising again and great things are happening. Sacrament meeting attendance has increased immensely. Baptisms are rising and the church is growing here. The unity between the wards and the missionaries is great and together the work is hastening.
This last week while studying in the scriptures i found something interesting. Ammon in Alma 26 asks his brothers a question after having completed their missions.
1 And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
3 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
He asks his brothers if they have observed the greatest blessing that they themselves have received while serving among the lamanites. There are a few things i learned from this scripture.
1. One of the greatest blessing that we receive while serving the Lord is the change that is wrought within us. As we serve with all of our heart, our nature is changed, and we are changed to become more like the Savior. And having this change brings great joy. Many times we think of the blessings that we receive from service in the kingdom as temporal blessings, or blessings in the family, yet we do not frequently notice the change that is wrought within us.
2. The change that happens over time as we serve in the kingdom of God is subtle. It is like trying to watch a plant grow. It is not something that we notice day by day but yet over a process of time. It is something that we have to carefully observe and notice. That is why ammon had said to his brethren; Can ye tell?
Anyways i love you all and pray for you. I am so grateful for your great examples to me of dedicated service in the Kingdom of God. I know that our Savior lives. He is mindful of us, he is pulling with us. He went about inviting everyone to "Be of Good Cheer", for he has overcome the world. Have a great week.