It's weird how holidays like the 4th of July kind of comes out of nowhere, or at least it seems like it to me. I know it's because it's not important at all to the Peruvians, but I guess just because it's always been a big deal my whole life I feel a little weird, haha. Today I'm doing a work visit with another American elder, so I think we're going to celebrate with hamburgers tonight.
This week has been really good. On Wednesday we had a district meeting. I don't know if I told you I'm the district leader, but the last couple of weeks the district meetings have come out a lot better than before. I've been focusing a lot more on our lesson practices. Our practices are just between us missionaries trading off and improving certain principles at a time. Now it's set up so that we have at least 45 minutes of straight practices. At the end of it all, the missionaries are coming out of the district meetings more excited to work in their areas, so I think it's working. I feel really good having done something unique that was able to bless the lives of others, making them happier and able to go out and bless even more people. I don't feel pride, but just a lot of joy.
Last Thursday we had an interesting experience. We had an appointment with a active-member family. The family is a single woman living with her youth-aged nephews, and they don't have leadership callings in the ward, so they have gone a little under the radar for me in my 5 months in the ward. There are a couple less actives in their family, so that's how we got to know their house and set the appointment. It was interesting that when we taught them they said that we were the first missionaries to visit them in over 5 years! I couldn't believe it! Our area isn't THAT big, and they live in about the middle, but they'd gone by a long time without many visits. They were so happy to have us there with them. We got to know them better and shared a message from the Book of Mormon. We're going to have a stake activity this week, so we invited them to invite their friends and family to go and they were really willing.
This isn't the first time this has happened on my mission, and not in this area either. Something I've learned from these experiences is that there really are people out there that need and want help and will accept us but sometimes they can't make the initiative themselves. For whatever reason, I know that if we are doing everything we can to magnify our callings and reach out to others, members, friends, and strangers alike, we'll find that these people need what we have, and the Lord will bless us to be instruments in His hands.
On Friday we had interviews with President. It was special because before the interviews he did a training meeting with the whole zone which helped me see how I can be more aligned with the revelation in the mission in my area and also help the other missionaries do the same. In my interview I was able to resolve a couple of questions I had and I left feeling really positive and uplifted. Honestly I love my mission president. He helps me out a lot and I really feel his love for us. President and Sister Stauffer remind me a lot of Mom and Dad in that way.
I know that the Gospel is true. I know that life keeps on going and sometimes our trials and difficulties seem like they're not going anywhere, but as I've focused less on myself and more on serving others, and more on how to live the first principles of the gospel, I've felt a lot of relief and hope. I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and guides us in all we do. I'm so grateful for the things (Mom & Dad) taught me my whole life to be able to be worthy and follow the Lord.
Elder Evan Smith