This is the last of 18 weeks spent with Elder Gil. That's something that I totally see as an accomplishment: I mean, 4 1/2 months with one other person 24 hours a day 7 days a week? That's like 127 days! 3048 hours! That's a really long time!
That's when something tells me: "now imagine how long it's gonna be when you're sealed to your wife for time and all eternity..."
I guess I'd better get used to it.
This week got off on the wrong foot on Saturday when the 2nd councilor of the Bishopric called us at 10 o'clock at night: "Can I speak with Elder Monson please?" he said. Elder Gil passed me the phone:
"Elder Monson, this is Brother Escobar....I just have a question for you: you haven't given a talk in sacrament meeting yet, have you?"
Oh no. Up until that point I had successfully avoided giving any talks since my time in San Juan Sacetepequez...like, the week before Christmas, "Well...no..." I answered.
"Great, Can you give a talk tomorrow?"
"Oh, whatever you think the ward needs to think Elder." He responded.
Lucky, I was able to scramble together a few quotes and scriptures in time for the next morning when I went up to give my talk. I was the first (and only) speaker for the whole meeting, and just ended up reading (and expounding upon) a story in the Book of Mormon, trying to fill as much time as humanly possible.
I told the story of Alma the younger and his ministry in the city of Ammonihah (Alma 8). I find this story particularly interesting because when he first goes to preach in this area, everyone rejects and denies him, the city had turned wicked and bitter and drive the Prophet out of the city, threatening to put him to death.
So he leaves, disappointed, headed for the land of Aaron, where he feels like he will have more success...when an Angel appears to him saying:
“Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice…And behold I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.”
So he goes back…and this time he’s not alone. The Lord prepares the way so that the people of Ammonihah can hear and accept this message, through Amulek, a man who was already familiar with the teachings of Alma but had been less active in his faith for the majority of his life.
It turns out that when Alma and Amulek both go out to preach, the people are more receptive to this 2nd witness, a second testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and many people were converted.
So I asked the question over the pulpit: how can we, as members be this second witness, be Amuleks, and preach the gospel in our everyday lives?
All in all the talk went pretty well.
And the whole week followed suit.
This Thursday, we held a Wedding and a Baptismal Service for Manuela and her fiancé Jorge Sis. A bishop/Lawyer from a different area offered to perform the wedding for free and everything…so it turned out awesome-ly.
It was a very great day and a fantastic opportunity to be able to see Manuela finally make this covenant with the Lord, the road to that day was definitely a long, but incredibly satisfying one!
And before I knew it, the week was ending, and President Caffaro had started organizing the Transfers for this next week. And though nothing is certain…it’s pretty much common knowledge that Elder Gil is going to be leaving Montufar II.
It’s a shame really. Our time together has been great, I’ve been able to learn a lot from his example, he is truly a humble, kind and valiant servant of the Lord…and also a very good friend, the Alma to my Amulek.
A loyal companion, right until the very end.