This week has been so awesome here in Jordan, La Esperanza. Elder Angulo D'Leon and I have been working really hard to try and work more with our local congregation/ward here as well as the community. Our theme for the week is Optimism. This week has been so much fun and we have seen a few miracles as well. Along with the great there were a few hardships including being a bit sick to start the week, and going the past couple days very blistered hands from some of the service we did this week involving lowering buckets of rocks three stories using just a bucket and some rubber cord. That said we have been so optimistic this week. My dad sent me a Lesson by a former president of the church that has been my backbone all week. I am going to attach a part of it here.
"President Gordon B. Hinckley’s mother, Ada Bitner Hinckley, often said that “a happy attitude and smiling countenance could boost one over almost any misfortune and that every individual was responsible for his own happiness.”1 His father, Bryant S. Hinckley, also had an “inherently positive outlook.”2 President Hinckley recalled, “When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: ‘Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.’”3 Influenced by his parents’ counsel and example, young Gordon Hinckley learned to approach life with optimism and faith.
As a missionary in England, Elder Hinckley worked hard to follow his parents’ counsel. He and his companions shook hands each morning and told each other, “Life is good.”4 Almost 70 years later, he suggested that a group of missionaries in the Philippines follow the same practice. “Yesterday was a great day in my life,” he told them. “Every day is a great day in my life. I hope every day is a great day in your lives—every one of you. I hope you can get ready to go in the morning and shake the hand of your companion and say, ‘Brother (Sister), life is good. Let’s go out and have a good day.’ And when you come in at night, I hope you can say to one another, ‘It’s been a good day. We’ve had a good time. We’ve helped somebody along the way. …"
I just loved reading this lesson all week. In reality this message is so true. No matter the situation we are in charge of our own happiness. When we are cynical and get down on ourselves nothing is achieved. Just start everyday with the attitude that today is going to be a great day and finish everyday with the same attitude and the rest will work itself out.
This week Elder Angulo D’Leon and I have two baptisms. One of them is named Jerardo. He is 11 years old and is just about the most spiritual 11 year old I have ever met. Honestly it is kind of inspirational to see the things he does. Over the past 5 months since he has begun to investigate a little into the church he has not missed a single Sunday. This week I have been teaching him to direct music and he already has the goal to serve a mission (Specifically to serve a mission in Seattle Washington, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). He has been waiting nearly 4 months to receive permission from his mom to be baptized and so finally we set the date of the 25 and when he asked his mom, she said Ok. She has really seen a change in this young man’s life and he has so much potential it is crazy. Best wishes to my main man Jerardito.
This week my dear friend Zoila Vergara began attending church again and has committed to be baptized this week. She had a baptismal date last month but it fell through. This same theme of optimism that applies to Jerardo and my life applies to her as well. She has always known that this is the path our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want for her, she is just so afraid of what her family will say when she is baptized. The rest of her family attends a different church in the area and for whatever reason they do not really like Mormons (seriously I do not understand how you could hate a group of people like that). We talked to her a bit about optimism and how she is not going against her family but rather is following the things Christ wants for her. I know and pray that her family will not be a problem and they will allow her to be happy.
Being happy in this life is all about our perspective and attitude. If we start each day with optimism and with the perspective that God loves each and every one of his children and has a plan for all of us, our days will appear that much brighter. That is all for this week. Lots of Love for Valentine’s Day here in Peru.
One last comment – A Huge Congratulations to Tucker and Caitlin who are now officially engaged. Although he did not fulfill his promise to wait until after my mission to get married, I knew this day would come. Best wishes to the both of them and I am excited to hear more about the engagement.
1. ELDER ADL and I at our morning soccer match
2. Playing with monkey friend Sila at the zoo
4. Valentine’s day birds
5. Talking with monkey friend Sila about how he can escape
6. Creepy hairless dogs of Peru (People say they aren’t diseased but I am not sure if I believe them, they are everywhere)
7/8. More monkey business at the zoo