Monday, May 16, 2016

LAST EMAIL FROM ELDER STANDRIDGE

Mom in all honesty I was just thinking about how my mission was going, and in my last week, I wanted to talk a little bit about how I feel. I am really happy with how the mission went. In Nueva era, I don't know if you remember mom, but I was so very close to going home. I cannot believe how stressed I was, I thought that there was no way that I could do it. I remember my trainer putting his hands on my head and telling me that I had a lot of good to do here in the mission. I didn't want to admit it at the time, but that blessing gave me the strength I needed to keep going, it wasn't what he said, but it was what I felt as he gave me the blessing. I know that the priesthood is real, and that it has the power to save us when we need it. I feel mixed about my time in Santiago, I spent the first 6 weeks doing basically nothing, we literally brought no one to church for 6 weeks. Then Elder Espinoza got there. It was like a light in the darkness. I really cannot believe the way that he affected me and changed me in ways that I cannot describe. He encouraged me, treated me like an equal, and made me feel like I could be brave here in the mission. 

After that little spark I got sent to Progreso, and my next companion was very harsh, and nearly crushed it, it was so close to destroying the light that had been formed. There in progreso I grew up from someone robotic to someone that learned to be brave and do what he needed to do. That being said I was influenced a lot by my companions, they brought me into mild laziness, mild disobedience, and I finish my time in progreso and I feel really guilty. The biggest and most important thing that happened in my mission was when I repented, I sat in a house at 930 at night extremely guilty and decided, I am going to repent. I went through a very difficult guilt and decided that I would repent with everything that I had. They sent me with a mildly lazy companion, and we started working, and working like crazy. I put myself super obedient, and little by little we started seeing miracles. The assistance of the ward skyrocketed, we had 8 people in church, and were baptizing constantly. It was great. Then, they sent me to tierra blanca, a place known for being hell at least in temperature(I discovered it was not). While I saw some good success in Cosamaloapan, I saw even more in tierra blanca. We had 12+ baptisms of adults, and the best part is that every single one of them is super active. When they sent me from there to here in Reserva I was not happy at all.

I dunno, the area was super super dead, but I would have liked to see more. Its very interesting I worked hard here, and I dont know how I am doing down here. I didnt hardly reactivate, I felt like a tried, but it was not my priority at all. I focused more on the baptisms. I left a pretty decent tank (13 investigators with a baptismal date at one point), but I am not super happy with the converts, I dont know if they will stay firm, and are really converted, its so hard when I feel like they arent converted but I am not sure, I dunno mom, I feel mixed about reserva, but I feel like I honestly tried my best, and I suppose that is all I can ask. In total I feel like my mission was a story of repentance, I had a really rocky start, but I thoroughly repented and am happy to say that I really saw miracles, even more importantly, I can honestly say that I changed a lot. I mentioned that about loving people in the call. Its really weird because while I dont find everyone enjoyable (if I have someone else say to me that they are busy while laying in a hammock I might explode), I have learned that everyone has an infinite potential. No one we know is a normal person, everyone around us are potential Gods, they are the Children of our Father in Heaven with the capacity to become like him. Nothing they have ever done can destroy that. This week a gay man I taught for 3 months is going to get baptized. Its incredible, you never know what someone can achieve, even the most unlikely. I love the plan of salvation. I love God, and yes I love my brothers and sisters because I know how our Father in Heaven sees them, especially little children whose progress still hasnt been impeded by sin and error. 

I want to note some things Elder Falabella told us this week.
1. We need to commit to do what we are going to do and then follow through, we can make personal covenants with God.
2. The 2 biggest attacks in this age are from Pornography (yes 50 shades of grey counts as porn, I had to take that away from a convert this week because it was destroying her faith) . And on Joseph Smith, while we dont know everything we have to stay firm. 
I told him I was going home, and he gave me a lot of advice of what to do when I got there, so I am pumped, and ready to go. I love you a lot mom, I am so grateful for all you and Dad have done for me these 2 years, and I will give you a big hug Wednesday. 
I love you!
Elder Standridge

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