Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 44

Hanging out with other missionaries after Stake Conference
More missionaries! 
 Trying to stay in shape!  Glad Elder Smith bought some dumbbells!  
Learning all kinds of new things!  Hand washing clothes!  No washing machine.  Jeff says there is always bleach involved!
On the hills of Saltillo.  A Christ statue similar to the one in Rio, but much smaller. 
Hello Saltillo!   
Happy Elder!

Dear Family and Friends, 

This was another calm and normal week here in Saltillo. It was nice to be able to get another week of work in with Elder Smith! I can´t believe that we have been together for 14 weeks! My mission is only 102 total so I am going to spend a long time with him!  I am coming up on the halfway point very quickly! It´s amazing how fast time goes by when you are working all day everyday for the well being of others. 

This week was highlighted by the new shoes that I bought! I hope that my feet don´t hurt or smell as bad this week! After 10 months, walking in the same shoes multiple miles a day, Elder Smith has told me that my feet smell pretty terrible in the evenings. :)

I also had my last interview with my Mission President, President Rodriguez this past Wednesday. I can´t believe that he only has 2 more months here in Saltillo and then President Cahoon is moving down from Utah to lead the mission! I have really come to admire and love my President, he is incredibly wise and has taught me innumerable things about the Gospel and life in general. 

The best moment of the week was Sunday at stake conference! Elder Smith and I achieved a personal record and a record for our area when we saw that 8 of our investigators came to church! 8!!!! It was incredible! Our man, Francisco, who is doing well, came to church, and is excited to get baptized in a few weeks. We also had a family of 7 that came and we are hoping that they get married and continue to come to church. It is always incredibly gratifying to see the fruits of your labor! Of course, even if they hadn´t come, I would be have been happy with my work because I am giving it my all every day but it was super special to see 8 people join us on Sunday! 

My favorite lesson from the Stake Conference was the talk given by my mission President, President Rodriguez. He spoke about the 5 Prophetic Priorities that the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and the members of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles are emphasizing around the world this year. He said that they are stressing that we focus our teaching and personal study in 5 categories, which are:
1. Teaching repentance and baptizing converts. 
2. Temple work and family history work. 
3. Keep the Sabbath Day holy. 
4. Teaching and instructing in the way of the Lord, or by the Spirit. 
5. Having and developing faith in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and His Gospel, and His infinite Atonement. 

He spent the majority of his time focused on how we as members of the church need to develop our faith, and make it a daily habit to develop our faith. In order to truly have faith, he shared three attributes or essential aspects of true faith.  He said first, a person that has true faith, has an understanding and the conviction that God and His Son, Jesus Christ exist. Second, this person needs to develop understanding and a conviction of the attributes of God and His Son and the Holy Ghost. Third, also the most important aspect, was that we need to KNOW that our lives and the decisions that we make everyday are in harmony with the will of God and the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ.

This last aspect really jumped out to me and I would like to stress the importance of it with all of you as well. To have true faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ, our lives need to be in harmony with them. In other words, we have to follow the commandments and try our hardest to be like our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Even though we know that we are going to sin and make mistakes, true faith is developed when we try our hardest to be like Him! I want to encourage all of you to continue praying, reading your scriptures, and attending all of the church activities and services that you can attend with these 3 points in mind. Do I really know that God exists? Can I describe his attributes? This character, attitude, and who he really is for me? And finally, is my life in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his teachings? I am sure that there is something that we can all improve on so we can become more like him. I invite you all to try to improve a little bit this week and become more like him. 

I know that this work is the work of the Lord! I know he lives! I know that the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through modern day prophets and that through them, God reveals his will for all of His Children! I love being a missionary and am really enjoying everyday! 

All the best, 
Elder Shipley 

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