ALOHA MY OHANA!!!!
WOW! This week was just FANTASTIC!! It's funny because it started out super rough but then ended with probably some of the highest and strongest spiritual experiences I have ever had in my life! In fact it was so great that I see absolutely no point for any extra aimless rhetoric, I figure I'm gonna just jump right into this week’s report!!
So, like I mentioned above, the week started out pretty rough…Unfortunately I did not get 100% better overnight like I was hoping to from the stomach flu thingy I had. The major symptoms of not being able to hold anything down passed pretty quickly, but the lingering effects of just nausea and heartburn and lack of energy and all that other fun stuff dragged on for quite a few days and pretty majorly affected our ability to really get out and proselyte. We did our best however and got a few lessons in but the REALLY awesome stuff didn't happen until Friday!
So Friday was our zone conference (this huge meeting with trainings from the Mission President, his wife, the assistants to the President, and the zone leaders for two zones worth of missionaries) and what makes it even crazier is that THIS WAS MY LAST ONE!!!!! We have them about every three months and I've only ever missed one (because my companion was sick and we were therefore quarantined to our house for a week) and this one was finally the LAST ONE OF MY MISSION! Which means a few things.
First it means that you are frantically scribbling down any and all last words of wisdom and council and just pure-awesomeness that you can from your mission president and his wife!! Over the course of these two years I have come to truly love and cherish any opportunity I have to learn from and receive council from President and Sister Warner! They are both FANTASTIC and truly have given their lives to this work and this mission and most of all to loving and supporting all of us!
Second, being my last zone conference that means that I, along with all the other finishing missionaries, got to give my "dying testimony". Basically just my last few words of wisdom and experience to all of my fellow missionaries before leaving the mission. It was super weird! haha! As you might imagine my few "words of wisdom" were exactly that... few! I probably have less wisdom in me than the average African wildebeest (all though if I'm being completely fair, there are some very intelligent African wildebeests out there!) But still I did the best I could to convey to everyone else there my love and appreciation for them and reminded them over and over that when they stand for what's right they are never truly standing alone, because there are legions before and there will be legions after who would stand up with them and whether they are seen or unseen, they are there standing up with you and willing to fight the fight as well, not the least of which of course, is the Savior himself!
Anyway, it was also kind of odd because I gave this sort of autobiographical eulogy of my mission and it all seems to wrap up nicely at the end of the day.... but then I still have like five weeks left!! I mean June just barely started! We're not even close to July yet and I don't finish until the end of July anyway! So I don't know what everyone else is talking about but I still have forever and a day out here!! haha! Finally to finish off the meetings all of the "dying missionaries" came up to the front and they sang Aloha 'Oe to us all and it was extra touching because I got to stand shoulder to shoulder with President and Sister Warner who will also be concluding their mission after three years of service out here in Hawaii at the end of this month.
So anyway, that was Friday, but then SATURDAY was even MORE SPIRITUALLY AWESOME because we got to go and receive a personal training for all of the full-time missionaries from Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! And WOW!!! It was SO powerful!! He truly is called of God and the spirit and power of testimony that he brought with him was just astounding! I won't bore you with all of the dozens and dozens of spiritual promptings I received during his trainings about how I personally can improve and change and be a better missionary and a better person all around, but I will just say that by the end of the meeting, as he started to wrap up his personally testimony I cannot imagine that there was a dry eye in the entire room, at least I know I speak for myself when I say that his sincerity and the spirit he carried with him and the power of his apostolic keys to bear witness to the whole world of the reality of the Savior were made manifest in that small room that day and I will NEVER forget it!!
I know I will not be perfect, but I sure am determined to keep trying! As I was writing in my journal last night and sort of reflecting on the spiritual experiences of the previous days I remember the spirit putting words in my mind that simply enough said "an optimist is someone who dreams of the impossible and then works until he reaches it!" And that is exactly what we are doing down here in this life. Truly perfection is IMPOSSIBLE!! We could NEVER reach it, it simply cannot be done! However, we keep on working at it and working at it until eventually, someday in the next life, we are finally perfected through the Savior and his atoning sacrifice for all of us!
Anyway, so needless to say, Saturday was fantastic! Likewise Sunday was an awesome day full of incredible opportunities to pretty much put into action all of the new found wisdom and insights gained over the previous two days and MAN it works!!! How often do we go to meetings or watch general conference or something of the sort and go "man... that is SO true and so awesome! I sure am glad I heard all of that stuff!" and then we leave and go back to doing exactly the same thing we were doing before! The day after may be scary because you may feel like you don't want to have to face all of your daily challenges again and you want to remain in this state of sort of spiritual bliss, but it shouldn't be like that! Instead look at tomorrow as the PERFECT opportunity to take everything you learned today and put it to the test! And that's exactly what we did with some new things learned on Friday and Saturday. We simply put it to the test, just in small and simple ways first, and sure enough, Sunday just about QUADRUPLED the productivity of the entire rest of our week!!!! (Although to be completely fair the rest of the week was hard to be productive because of the whole sickness thing :P haha!) So yeah, definitely, if your priesthood leaders or an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, tells you to do something and that it will help you... DO IT! haha! You can trust them! :P
Anyway, so one of the super productive and cool things that happened on Sunday was we finally met these two different less-active families we've been trying to contact forever to no avail! So we hadn't actually planned for either of them, but right when we got to the fork in the road where we had planned to turn right, I got the feeling we should see this other fellow and following the prompting we turned left instead and guess what? HE WAS HOME!!! Turns out his work schedule is crazy (surprise surprise) and so he's not normally home and he wasn't really that interested in talking to us anyway, but he was still very nice and it was VERY nice to be able to finally meet him and find out his story from his own mouth.
So then we started walking back towards the originally planned houses, and again the feeling comes like "hey since you're already heading this direction why don't you take this slight detour and try that other less active member you always try to go see.... so we do! and... you guessed it... he was home!! He actually had moved out and was living with his friend for a couple of weeks which is why we never caught him home before, but he just moved back home and after an actually pretty short conversation about life and how he had gotten invited to go with a lot of his different friends to their churches my companion basically said something along the lines of "well hey are you ready for another invite back to your own church?" and while my companion was being slightly facetious, he looked at us totally seriously for a second with a sort of smile on his face and said, "yeah, I don't see why not!" And after a tiny bit more conversation we arranged for a member to pick him up Sunday morning to come to church! :) So yeah! Miracles galore!!! And that's not even all of them from the day!! But that is about all the time I have to share with you guys... sorry.
This is probably going to end pretty abruptly, but I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO much and will be praying for you as always! I cannot begin to express the excitement I feel when I think about being able to talk with you all again face to face soon enough, but that day will come in its own due time and for now I still have a TON of work to do out here in Kane'ohe and so I must press on!! Mahalo nui loa for your love, your prayers, your faith, and your faithful examples of Christ like love towards me and so many others around you! Aloha au ia oe!!