Hello my Dearest Family,
Firstly let me thank each and every one of you that has sent me an email for Christmas. I wish I could respond but the hour and 15 minutes we get weekly at the computer just doens't give me the time. Know that I love you equally and receive so much strength from your words. I love you my dear friends and family!
Secondly, WHAT A JOY IT WAS TO SEE YOUR FACES ON CHRISTMAS!!! By golly, I don't know why it's taken me this long to realize how inspired and wonderful SKype is! Yes, Kylie Mae, I know you're laughing right now. But It was a beautiful thing to see your faces, hear your voices, and imagine a group hug. Knowing how the time flies for me know, I'll be there before you know it to hug you in person. I don't expect to ever stop wanting to listen to your voices and hear your stories. Yes, Mom, be rest assured that I will be wanting to live home in the fall. I can't imagine being away from you, my family, any longer! I love you very much! It was the sweetest Christmas. i could not fall asleep at night until 1 in the morning, i kept replaying every word each of you said. How blessed I am to have a family of Christlike people who love one another.
To explain the title. Hermana Rane and I have decided that the Gospel and our life on earth is exactly like Plato's allegory of the cave. The people inside the cave watching the shadows are the people in this world who don't know about the gospel. And the person that goes outside and sees the world, that's the person that finds the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and benefits from the blessings of the covenant of baptism and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We have a responsibility as people who have been oust side the cave and seen the beautiful world to share it with those of our brothers and sisters who are still inside the cave, inside the world. Hermana Rane and I, We have many philosophical and psychological discussions together, and I love it. She is a scholar and one of my dearest friends from the mission field. She is not my companion, but we live in the same apartment and work in the same branch, so it affords us many opportunities to talk and laugh.
Second Breakfasts. The other day I found my inner hobbit. I had my morning peach and yogurt while my comp was in the shower, and when she came out she prepared her signature oatmeal. I couldn't bring myself so say no when she came in to our room holding a steaming bowl of her delicious recipe. Companions are the best.
The third item of business. The other day Hermana Martinez and I had to look for one more piece of furniture, a fan to help us combat the incessant heat. So we went around town again, 3 months after our original adventure, and found an appropriate model. When the store manager asked if I wanted the display fan or the fan in a box, I misunderstood, and just pointed to the display fan like "This is the one I bought, right?" And as a result ended up walking through all of downtown Cañada carrying an upright fan til we got to our apartment. Hermana Martinez about died of laughter and embarassment while many people commented jokingly, "Tienen Calor?" "Are you hot?" Oh, the adventures.
But for spiritual matters--Yesterday we encountered a man sitting outside on his porch, as many of the viejitos do to pass the time. He had a rather large bandage on his fore head and over his right ear. As we began talking and testifying of Christ, we invited him (Julio is his name) to join with us in a prayer. I asked if there was anything he would like to thank God for in his life. He began to weep and told us, "I am grateful that I have facial cancer instead of body cancer. If I had had cancer of the body, I'd probably be dead. They had to amputate my right ear, but that's alright. I'm an old man. I feel bad for the young ones that suffer like I do. Thank him that I have cancer of the face, not cancer of the Body." I began to weep with him. What gratitude. I prayed, amazed, filled with love for this man and his optimism and his Faith in God. We testified of the resurrection.
Another few days back--we met a woman named Aidé, sitting outside in her wheelchair. She`s in her early 80s and in the past three years has had both of her legs amputated. She told us, "Aren't I so lucky that destiny touched me to lose my legs in the last part of my life, not at the first? I lost my husband when my children were small, and I couldn't have raised them if I had lost my legs then." Gratitude. I have so much to learn about gratitude. I feel so very often that Cañada de Gomez is like the waters of Bethseda, in the times of Christ's mortal life. So many people here, with hope to be healed, and faith in Christ, and enduring to the end. I am filled with light that through the atonement and the Resurrection, every unfair misfortune, every pain, every disability, every sorrow that we face, will be made up wholly and perfectly. Of This I testify.
Finally, I want to say that the Book of Mormon teaches us how to do missionary work. King Lamoni, after his conversion, takes Ammon to meet his father and the have a lesson. Right there is a member with lesosn and a member referral as well! How amazing! Not to mention where it talks about Abish running house to house, door to door to explain the good tidings of the gospel and invite the lamanites to come listen to Ammon and see the wonder of what happened to the King and Queen. There's a sister missionary going tracting!
I know that this is the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth. No other church upon the earth is so organized, so focused on serving the one, centered in the Savior of the world. No other gospel preaches to the ends of the earth, changing lives that were hopeless and frustrated, to filling them with redeaming and liberating light and redeeming love as does the Restored Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I don't just believe it, I know it, and to deny it would be a blaspheme before my God. I see his hand each and Every Day. I delight in plainness, I delight in truth, I delight in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from Hell. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.