I hope all is as well in the 781 and other parts of the world as it is here in the DR. I would be surprised if there are many other places in the world where it is sooo dang hot and humid...this summer is gonna be killer (mom don't worry I use sunscreen religiously)! As I have said in previous emails I really am sweating ALL the time. Most days, quite disgustingly, I wake up in a puddle of sweat.
However this week has been amazing, and filled with little miracles. My highlight of the week was Melvin's baptism. Wow, he was sooo prepared to receive the gospel in his life, and teaching all the lessons was a pure joy. On Friday after his interview he told me that the spirit told him very strongly that Elder Rodriguez, my district leader, would baptize him...even though he had only met him for the interview. I, my companion and Elder Rodriguez were all surprised at his decision but very pleased. All in all the baptism was a huge success. A lot of people attended and the spirit was very strong. After the baptism, Melvin bore his testimony of the power of the atonement and how he could feel the burden of his sins being lifted as he was baptized. It was an awesome testimony and really funny too because he finished by saying...in the name of the Holy Ghost Amen! On Sunday I had the chance to confirm him a member and it was a very spiritual experience as well.
This morning I took a little trip down memory lane and thought about how badly I miss playing football. I thought about captains practices, film sessions, the locker room, linebackers practice, getting ready before a game, singing the national anthem etc...I am sure Isaac can relate and help me out with the symbolic relationship that missionary work has with football. It is truly outstanding, the importance of integrity, diligence, brotherly love and so forth. This morning, however, I was thinking, most specifically about the job of a linebacker and the utmost importance to reading your guard. As a linebacker your main objective is to tackle the person with the ball, quien sea, quarterback, running back wide receiver, slot etc. The game is played so fast and there is so much confusion at the line of scrimmage that the linebacker is told to read the guards, because the guards will ALWAYs take you to the play. You have to practice and learn the steps and techniques of the guards in able to understand where the offense is going to play the ball, and so that you can mimic the guard, to the point where it is muscle memory. As a linebacker, even though there are distractions in all directions, it is vital to keep your eyes on the guards and GET DOWN HILL (coach Griff voice) which will lead you to the ball carrier. In many ways we all have to act as spiritual linebackers. In the game of life there is soo much confusion and distraction that lead us away, and hinders us from from achieving our goals and purposes. Like a linebacker we need to read our spiritual guards, or keys so that we can get down hill and complete our duties to God. If we read our keys...service, scripture study, daily prayers and church attendance, we will develop muscle memory like habits to keep us away from harm and danger...but more importantly help us build our personal testimonies.
As nefi we need to go unto our brethren in the spirit or, to continue doing our spiritual building habits. It is soo vital, as a linebacker and missionary, to prepare prepare and prepare so that when the situation comes the spirit can take over and guide us. I love this work and can't believe that I almost have ten months in this amazing country. I know that God loves and cares about each one of us. He loves us sooo much that he gave us our own agency, to choose right from wrong. I am grateful for the atonement of Christ and the plan of salvation.
Love you all!
Until next week,
Elder Blake 52