Of all of the overwhelming feelings that I felt during this week, the most impactful was that of hope. And for me, that was something that was the most surprising...the comforting sense of a future achievement was one of the last things I expected to experience.
The week as a whole had it's fair share of triumphs and failures...it was uneven and yet it was perfect, like a really good episode of Psych...and that was all I needed to lift my spirits even higher.
Things got kicked off a week ago, as we were playing soccer with our zone and I received a call from the Assistants informing me about my exit interview....
The next day.
So...on that note, I started off my week...just a little bit nervous for what was going to happen on the morning of my birthday.
I soon found out, at 9 a.m. in the mission offices (a place I know all-too well). It was a lively conversation with President Caffaro, talking a lot about the future....about everything that was to come...from that point and onward. He said that the 5 basic principles and actions in the mission follow in full-force even afterwards:
Utilizing those things will get you far...I'll just let you think about it and I'll explain it to you later.
The whole rest of the day I was stuck thinking about everything that was going to happen after Wednesday the 8th....it's a lot to think about for a kid who just turned 20...Marriage, Family, Studies, Work....
We'll see how I fare.
I'm Sure I'll be fine.
That night a member family invited us over to eat dinner....and, a White-Chocolate Cheesecake with 20 candles all lit up like the 4th of July (somebody tipped them off). I was so happy. It feels good to know that people are aware of you...and that they care for you as well.
I am really going to miss people like that here in Guatemala because they are more than a few.
The rest of the week flew by, Divisions with Elder Barker, Divisions with Elder Villanueva, Lessons, Contacts, Questions and Answers.....
Until Sunday rolled around and I wasn't sure what hit me.
The best experience of the week was during Gospel Principles class....Marlon, Andrea and Evelyn all came to church and participated actively during the lesson on Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Teacher, Hermana Chavac, had everyone there write on a piece of paper the answer to the question "Why would I be baptized?" for all of the investigators....and then share their answers.
It was so emotional...Marlon, who had been hard of heart began to weep, saying that he would like to be baptized because he wants to show a good example for his young family...that he wants to change and be a better Father....
I was truly touched by this man's sincerity....ant the spirit of the Lord had touched his heart in a way we hadn't anticipated before....
It was a promise: hope from God that Castilo Lara was going to see miracles in the future:
"When we have hope, we trust God's promises. We have a quiet assurance that if we do “the works of righteousness,” we “shall receive [our] reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23). Mormon taught that such hope comes only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ: “What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise” (Moroni 7:41)." -LDS.org
The rest of the day was filled with similar experiences with different families....
There's just so much good on the horizon....
Even though for me, it ends in a week, it'll keep on going,
"Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.” -Elder Jeffrery R. Holland
Please take a minute and watch one of my favorite videos: