Oh my goodness I've had such beautiful and spiritually uplifting experiences this week. As a missionary, you're always on the front lines of the work of salvation and you are privileged to see it progress every day all day of your mission. It's amazing, really. You live on this whole another plane of life--people around you go about their daily activities, going to work, school, sports, the grocery store...and yet we live among them but are constantly visiting the struggling, the forgotten, and the lost ones. It's so exciting to be a part of! I often feel like I'm living in a whole different world.
I had the most wonderful experienceevening, Sister Juarez had permission to come from Tooele and we met Carmen at the Bountiful temple and we were able to be with her as she was baptized for her own mother, and a family from her ward helped in baptizing her father. We sat on either side of her as she watched her father who she never knew have his work done for him, and she reached out and held my hand and I held it in both of mine. It was such a special, tender moment I'll never forget. As we walked out of the confirmation room, I put my arm around her and she told me that she felt the Spirit so strong when I touched her, as if the Spirit was coming from me! What an incredible evening it was for all of us. I reminded her that she can come do baptisms for the deceased any time she wants, and she said, "Can I come every day??" I have such a strong testimony of the temple, and the peace and comfort it brings in the midst of turmoil and stress of our everyday lives. Carmen looked up at the Bountiful temple for 23 years, and I think she appreciates it more than most members who have access to it.
I have such a strong conviction and knowledge that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live--they are real beings who have a real and perfect love for each one of us. I have felt their love in my own life, but feeling His deep love for those who have strayed off the path or are searching for it, and those who completely don't want a thing to do with Him, has truly changed me and my understanding of that love. Those of us who have the knowledge and understanding of the blessings of the gospel--the peace of mind and conscience it brings, the temple and all it offers us, that families can be together forever, that little children don't go to hell if they aren't baptized, that there is a purpose to life on earth, and that there is a glorious future for all of us--how can we keep this glorious news to ourselves? If it truly is in our hearts, it should be natural to want to share it. If we love God, and we love our fellow brothers and sisters, they will feel our love and trust what we say when we share the great news we have been given.
I know--because I have exercised faith--that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the work, I love God, and I love my Savior. I have loved the first 9 months of my mission, and I know I'll have even more wonderful exciting and faith-building experiences for the next 9 months.