Monday, June 2, 2014

I Love the Mission

The District
Buenos Dias!!!
It's been a while! I apologize for not writing last week. We've had a lot going on. There's a lot to say, we'll see if I remember everything!
The last two weeks have been full of spiritual experiences and miracles. I am amazed every week by how much the Lord blesses our lives when we are faithful and obedient. If you were my mission companion you would here this a lot, "Ahhh, I love the mission!!" It's true. I love my mission so much.
This week we contacted a kid in the street. He happened to speak English and he told us that he is from the Philippines. We had a great lesson with him but unfortunately we lost contact with him because of complications in his life. I know that he felt the Spirit and in that moment that was all we could give him. I've learned that not only are we harvesting the prepared souls in this life but also we play part in the planting of seeds. You cannot expect to harvest something that has not first been planted. Every good example, shared testimony, act of love will one day become what was the basis of someone's spiritual growth. We do more than we realize and we bless lives more than we may think. I testify that when we move on to the next life we will see all the unrecognized and recognized good we did. We will meet and cry tears of joy with the people who were blessed by our efforts. I can't think of a greater feeling of happiness.
When we left from talking with that kid on the street he said, "You´re like living angels to me."
Elder S and I have had it handed to us while playing soccer with little 8 year olds. Sometimes 6 years old!  It's an amazing humbling experience to play soccer with the children of Spain.
In preparing for the trip to Tenerife on Sunday night, not only did our first counselor shine our shoes, but our water turned off... We made a plan to shower with bottled water and cups. Luckily, in answer to many prayers, my comp let out a victory scream when he tried the water in the morning and it worked. We headed to the airport, hopped on the plane and took off for Tenerife.
It was so good to see everybody, I saw a few people from my old area and from the MTC. A lot of great friends I have made on the mission were there. We played soccer and basketball for a few hours then headed to the... Hotel. President treats us so well! It was like a 5 star hotel! We got ready and then we hit the streets. In just 3 hours we taught some really good lessons and found 3 golden new investigators. Passed those references to the Sisters, one of whom is from my last area and is finishing her mission this transfer! 2 of those I wouldn't be surprised if they were baptized soon. The Lord guided us to them that night.
In the morning we had breakfast all together in the Hotel. Best breakfast I've had on my mission, the food was wow. I just kept thinking, "This is Europe."
We had the Zone Conference right after. I learned a lot from the different speakers.
1. Sister Jackson taught us that the key to teaching is Love. To never be afraid of silence because that is when the Spirit is teaching.
2. The assistants to the President taught us a lot about our Savior and obedience. Are we obedient because other people are watching? Or are we obedient because we love the Lord. Our attitudes and view on things will change depending on WHY we keep the commandments. We should do things because we Love the Savior and understand His Infinite Atonement for us.
3. President Jackson taught us so much but mainly what I got from it was this, "A setback is a setup for a comeback." Never give up. What kind of disciples of Christ are we? Are we scared or embarrassed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ or do we stand firmly and defend our Faith? Like Elder Holland said once, I believe as well that when we stand before our Savior one day He will ask us the question he asked his Apostle Peter but with one word changed. He will ask us, "Did you love me?"
I left Tenerife feeling great and ready to preach.
We were teaching a less active women from the doorway one day. My companion was in a chair and I was sitting on the stairwell when I heard a huge smashing noise and something like a Grizzly Bear jumping down the stairs. You know in the cartoons when someone gets scared so bad that they jump in the air and someone catches them in their arms? That didn't happened but I got out of there so fast. Turns out it was a 100 kilo Pitbull running down the stairs, he was huge!! Luckily he was nice.
Something funny that my comp and I always do is we yell, "CANONBALL" with the voice of Ham from the Sandlot. That gets me laughing pretty hard. Great great great last two weeks. Investigators are progressing and life is good.
To close off my letter I wanted to talk about Pride. President Uchtdorf gave an amazing talk on this topic. It was called "Pride and the Priesthood." He based it off a talk written by Ezra Taft Benson titled, "Beware of Pride." I loved this talk so much, we all have a lot to learn on this subject. Here's what I learned:
Pride is the universal sin. It is sinful. No one has avoided it and few overcome it. President Uchtdorf talks about how there is a difference in being proud and prideful. Being prideful is the sin of comparison. Saying, "Look at how wonderful I am and how much better I am than you." It is self-glorification. We look for others faults and secretly rejoice when others fall. "Instead of worshiping God and loving our neighbor we reveal the real object of our worship: The image we see in the mirror."
Pride is the original sin: It destroyed a capable and promising son of God named Lucifer in the life before this and today could very well be his greatest tool to destroy us. It can be called the "Gateway Sin." He tells us that, "Every sin is a form of Pride." He addresses and relates Pride specifically to Sports. How people will look for any flaw and magnify it. "Pride is a switch that turns off priesthood power. Humility turns it on."
We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard and beware of Pride. Rather than destroying and diminishing, let's build and lift others. Instead of causing misery, let's just Love everybody!
James E. Faust said something along the lines of, "When we are treated kindly or receive compliments, let us be grateful for it, but don't ever inhale it." We can feel good when others compliment us but the moment we start to inhale it and become self-centered is when Pride kicks in.
1 Peter 5:5
"...Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
"We are called to prepare the world. Our contribution may seem small but God will magnify our acts."
If we can follow the example of our Savior when he said, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever," we will avoid the temptation of Pride.
I bear my testimony to all of you that if we can see the world around us with the lens of the pure love of Christ we will start to understand humility. We need to learn how to Love each other like Jesus Christ loves each and every one of us. All of us can improve daily and this is coming from someone who needs to as well. Let's lose ourselves in service and kill our Pride. There are so many people who need us. We do not need to think less of ourselves rather less about ourselves.

I love all of you,

Elder Giforos
Zone Conference

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