First and foremost, congratulations to Jessica for graduation! I am super happy for you! Now it's on to bigger and better things. You are going to LOVE college. BYU singles wards, activities, new friends, minimal homework because summer term, outdoor activities, intermurals, you name it, it's there. Man that makes me trunky. Anything makes me trunky these days haha :D. Well, I say trunky... it's not that I lose focus or stop working--it's that I want to be home just as much as I want to be here.
Emma, sounds like you have an exciting summer coming up. TREK. IS. THE. BOMB. Enjoy it, because it is literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Also, I am CERTAIN you can make the trek clothes fashionable one way or another. You are cool like that.
Elijah, I can't wait to talk to you either. I hear you guys got my flight plan--where do I pass through? I was the one who put in the date, the destination, and the email, but I don't know the route. I am super pumped to hear you bust out some sick drum solos Elijah! I'm sure you have made yourself a boss at that by now.
I would love to send you guys some pictures of my area--beautiful jungle hills, countryside, cows and horses, rocky "roads"--but I left my memory converter at home :(.
Today we had a super powerful zone activity. We had a mini zone conference about miracles in the mission field and some special musical numbers, then ate baleadas (more or less Honduranian tacos) and played domino and told jokes. The activity really made me remember how much the mission has changed since I've been here. It's something that would take too long to explain now, but there have been some revolutionary changes in this mission in my time here, and it has led to great success. When I showed up in the field, the mission baptized an average of 50-70 people monthly, with retention under 50%. Now the mission baptizes an average of 200 people monthly with around 60% retention, and both of those are constantly climbing. It has not been us as missionaries--it is wholly the Lord blessing us for applying His principles.
One I can explain now is Exceptional (or in english, "Exceedingly Great") Faith in Jesus Christ. This is faith as described in the Book of Mormon, but it begins in Revelation 12:7-11. We read that there was a great war in heaven, and that those who fought there overcame Satan and his followers through 1)the blood of the Lamb, 2)the word of their testimonies, and 3)having no fear of death. We know by modern revelation that Michael, the leader of the good side, is Adam. We read that Satan was cast down to Earth, but we know that Adam was not there yet. Thus, this battle was in the PREMORTAL life, and those who fought were EACH ONE OF US. We have all ALREADY OVERCOME SATAN! How? Points 1), 2), and 3). 2 and 3 have to do with bearing testimony and trusting in God enough to experience physical and spiritual death and risk losing a place at His side in order to grow, and President Corbitt has talked about missionary applications thereof. But it is point 1) that we will end considering. The Book of Mormon teaches us how it is possible that we overecame "by the blood of the Lamb" even though we probably didn't even know what blood was and even though Christ had not even been born, much less brought to pass His Atonement. Jaromtells us that the prophets and priests taught the people to believe in Christ as though his coming HAD ALREADY OCURRED. Mosiah and 16:6 teach us this same principle. So "Exceedingly Great Faith" (Alma 13:3, 19:9-10, 34:15-17, among others) is trusting in the Lord's promises and covenants with us as though they ahd already been fulfilled. We then go to Alma 5 to understand how, step-by-step. : 1) Look forward to the fulfillment of the promise and 2) see it fulfilled, : 3)imagine HOW the promise will be fulfilled (waht we need to do) 4) not imagine lies (you can't do it, it's too hard, you've already failed, you're unworthy, etc). If we follow these steps regarding ANY promise or commandment that the Lord has given and that we wish to see fulfilled, even requiring miraculous intervention, WE WILL SEE IT AND REJOICE (Ether ).
There is some food for thought. I love you guys!