My dear sweet family,
I'm going to write this letter first because we got here late and only have an hour to email! I know it sounds like a good amount of time }, but it's not, so if I don't get to email you all individually, I AM SORRY! I will do better next week! Also, letters in the mail--they're coming for you!
Today we had our reunion with Elder Nelson and what can I say? IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Before we started he took the time to shake each one of the like 480 missionary's hands and pretty much looked into my soul in the process. I loved so much of what he and his wife shared that I don't even know what to pick out!
His wife talked a lot about who we are. I don't think we will ever fully comrehend that. She said that if we could look back and see our premortal life (think about that--a LIFE. not a few seconds, but a lifetime), it would change everything. If we could see the choices we made, Who we stood by, and the promises/covenants we made with our Father in Heaven it would change EVERYTHING. We would know that we stood by Jesus Christ and decided to follow Him then. We would know that we made covenants with God to follow His Son again in this life. We would know that we can do literally anything. Every obstacle, every doubt, every fear, every challenge; they would all melt away. If we cuold "gaze into heaven" for but 5 min, we would learn more about ourselves, our purpose, our potential, than we will learn in this entire life. This was her promise: As we study the scriptures and are worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we WILL gaze into heaven. We WILL come to know those things and they WILL change every aspect of our lives. Needless to say, it was a beautiful message.
Elder Nelson said so much, but his whole thing was that we were going to study pure doctrine in this meeting. So, obviously we opened up the scriptures and read from them. He told us to study them. I love that. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple and PURE that when one of His apostles is teaching, he's telling us to study the scriptures. That's where the gospel of Jesus Christ is found! It's painfully obvious and painfully taken for granted. STUDY THE SCRIPTURES! Elder Nelson called President Wright and his wife to the stand and told them they had this moment to teach these 480 missionaries ANYTHING they wanted. My sweet President and his wife got up there and bore their simple testimonies. They know that Christ lives and that this is His true church and that they are blessed to serve with us. Elder Nelson said that when we stand before the Savior, He will probably ask us what the most important thing is for us. Just as President and Hermana Wright, our answers should be our testimonies. We NEED to continue developing our testimonies of this gospel and of our Savior. That is the most important thing.
He also talked about how we need to forget about everything else that is not this work and the people we're serving. He was like "Stop worrying about your families because they are being well taken care of!" The Spirit bore testimony to me that his words were true. Being a missionary, it's amazingly easy to me worried about your family because you're not there to help them out. But Elder Nelson's promise to us was that our families would be blessed for our dedicated service. The best thing we can do for our families is to lose ourselves in this work.
He also ended on a beautiful not, leaving his apostolic blessing upon us. He blessed us with health and that we could return home safely and contiue preaching the gospel there. He blessed us that we would find joy in our service. The most touching part for me was when he blessed our families. He blessed that our families would be fortified and strengthened and develop and thrive in this gospel as we served whole-heartedly and worthily. You guys have the blessing of an apostle of our Savior, Jesus Christ. That's a comfort haha
It was a great meeting and an amazing opportunity to here the testimony of an apostle of the Lord. These men really are called by the living God. They truly are prophets and apostles of the living Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that is true.
In other news...there's not much other news! I may be writing you with a new compnaion next week. We'll see! That stresses me out a bit. I'm so bad at change, but transfers and called "cambios" in spanish, which literally means "changes." SO MUCH FUN :) It's ok!
Catharine and Lucas have baptismal dates (along with 5 other investigators), so I'll keep you updated on their progress! These two jsut have such sincere desires to know the truth and do what the Lord wants. One Sunday they came to church when a woman and her son were being confirmed and Catharine leaned over to Lucas and was like "I want that to be us!" They are precious and are progressings wonderfully!
Other than that, not too much going on! I'm now going to try and write a couple of you! This has nothing to do with favorites, OK! I just pick a couple of lucky random siblings :) I LOVE YOU ALL! Please don't worry about me! I am SO HAPPY to be serving here. Sister Nelson said we told Heavenly Father we were going to do a list of things on this earth. We have forgotten about a lot of those things and that's heart-breaking. She said we all promised Him that we would serve these missions in Santiago at this time. I know that is true. I am supposed to be here and that is why I find so much joy here. If we want to be happy--if you want to find the pure JOY that Heavenly Father has planned for you--figure out what you promised to do before you came to this earth. Keep those covenants and you will be happy! I know this Church is true! I know that it is the only church on the earth that contains the full gospel of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I know that by living it, we will be happy and find joy in this life and the life to come. We should not settle for being "good people." So many people here say that. "I'm a good person, so it doesn't matter." It does matter. You are a child of the living God! Live up to that in EVERYTHING you do.
I LOVE YOU!!!
Con amor y muchos besos,
Hermana Nahiomi Aponte