Monday, November 5, 2012

Dear family and friends,

I have been somewhat neglegant these last few weeks in regards to the blog. I hope I have not lost too many people. I do have quite a bit of news to share this week.

As I have explained briefly before, every 6 weeks there is the possibility for transfers, or cambios, as we call them here. Having officially completed my ¨training¨ phase of 12 weeks, we knew that it was very likely my companion would be leaving for another area. Last night we received the phone call, and it brought quite a bit of suprise to all of us that have been working together the last three months. There have been six of us working more or less together in this area. We see each other twice a week. The phone call brought news that one companionship would be leaving. So the geographical area I cover has grown considerably. Additionally, I was informed that I will be training! That means that a brand-new missionary will be coming as my companion. It is certainly going to be a time of much learning and growth as I take the role of a trainer, having just yesterday finished my role as trainee. I will be going this evening down into the city to stay the night so as to be there tomorrow to receive the new Elder. It is very likely he will be a native speaker from here in Mexico, but I will not know until tomorrow. 

That news would have been plenty to keep me pondering, but it was not all. I have also been called to serve as the district leader. The district leader is the first point of contact for a missionary in the field. It is somewhat similar to the assignment I fulfilled for a time in the MTC, except that now we are in the field and the concerns and problems are very much more real. A district consists of anywhere between 2 and 4 or 5 companionships. Because of all of the changes here in this area, I do not know for sure who will be in my district here. Needless to say, that came as quite a surprise, especially since there are so many more Elders with much more time and experience in the field here. But I know I will be supported in this assignment. And all of your prayers on my behalf will be greatly appreciated. 

So that is more or less the extent of the big ¨news¨. Lots of changes. For a time my companion and I will live alone, I will have a new missionary to teach and train, I will be serving as a district leader, and our area is considerably larger. But this whale will be conquered and eaten one bite at a time. Beginning today, and tomorrow and the next. Such is the manner of doing hard, or perhaps even impossible things.Break it down into bite sized, possible portions.

I have heard a little bit of news about the hurricane. I hope that all is well and that the people that have lost their homes can find the means to provide for their families in this difficult time.

Since I have a few more minutes today, I want to share a few experiences.

What is it really that we are out here trying to do? We, as missionaries, are called to go out and bring a message of happiness and joy to people. Help them to change their lives by learning the restored gospel that Jesus Christ taught when he was on the earth. Understand how it is that in the same manner that God has called prophets in days past (Moses, Noah, Abraham) to lead the people- to help them understand the purpose of life and what they should do- God has once more called a prophet on the earth again. Our purpose is not to convince anyone of this, but rather to invite them to do what we have done, that is, ask God in prayer the truth. We can trust that the Creator of our bodies and soul can answer a simple question and help us know the truth, whatever it may be.
With that being said, we as missionaries invite all people to simply ask God the truth. We search for those humble enough to have the faith to ask, and to have the conviction and courage to act on the answer they receive.
In this past week I have been able to watch as a life begins to change. I will take the time to give a few details of this extended experience.

One day while waiting for a bus, we noticed a younger man also waiting. When he looked up and saw us, he came up and asked what time it was. We began talking to him and found out that he had lived for a time in the United States. Because time was short, we took down his address and said we would stop by another day. When we went to look for him several days later, I misread the direction and we went looking for #77 instead of 11. Because of this we ended up way down a street we would otherwise never have entered. It was there that we found a young man, clearly heavily affected by a life of drug use. He began talking with us, and we expressed that he could change. In the conversation that followed, in which we testified of the lives that have been changed through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, he expressed his doubt. We invited him to just give it a try and see if it were not true. After another minute or two he wandered off, under the influence of some drug or another. But his friend who had been nearby approached us. We began talking and took down his address to stop by later. We did not think too much of it, although he did appear interested.

When we went by to visit him a few days later we found a man ready to change his life. To be brief in this part, because of some situations that had passed in his life, he was looking for a way to find peace, a way to give up his current lifestyle. Within one week we have already began to see as he has committed to give up drinking, smoking, and any other drug. He came to church on Sunday. He is quite and humble, someone who recognizes that man without God is truly nothing.

I testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. It allows men the opportunity to repent, that is to have a change of heart. More than just stop doing bad things, but have the true desires to do good things.

Please continue praying for me, I will be needing all the blessings and help I can get, especially these next couple weeks as there are so many new things.

Your faithful friend,
Elder Brighton

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