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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Patience, Endurance, Faith

Week 35-- 1/13/2013

“…All days aren't difficult like that, but I know that we have to work just as hard every day and do everything we possibly can to help our investigators and find new people to share our message with. If we do that, the Lord will always bless us for our efforts, but it will always be on His time, not ours”

Dear family! 

I enjoyed your letter this week. I'm glad all you guys are doing well getting back to the normal routine of life after the holidays. I'm glad I'm able to email you today. We went to our normal internet place this morning but the internet wasn't working. In fact, it was down in all the internet cafes in the area. so we decided to go do our shopping and go home and relax a bit. Then we went out to a tiny little internet place close to our house (when I say tiny, I mean it's pretty much like a little shack, and has 3 computers), hoping they would have internet, and they did. But the internet here is not very good, so I will probably not be able to sent pictures this week, although I do have a few I would like to send. I'm sorry :( It seems like we have bad luck with slow internet almost every week. But I'm sure next week we won't run into as many problems.

I liked your story of how you found that one golden family on your mission. Whenever I read or hear stories about missionaries finding people prepared for the gospel, it always seems to happen when the missionaries are out working in the hottest heat or in the pouring rain, late at night, and it always seems to be the last door they knock on. I know it doesn't always happen like that, but I think many times the Lord tests our patience in this work. I know, I've learned a lot of patience so far on the mission.

I'll give an example from this past week. On Wednesday, I was doing a division with another elder in my district (Elder Herd, from Wyoming). Since we were walking in my area for the day, and not his area, I was responsible for marking all the lessons and deciding where we should do our proselyting for the day. I tried marking lessons for that day, but most of our investigators and new contacts were too busy to sit with us. After calling literally everyone I could, I was able to mark a few lessons for that afternoon and evening. I was hoping and praying that we would be able to at least teach two lessons that day. It had rained really heavily in the morning and early afternoon, but had stopped by the time we left the house. But the roads here get full of water when it rains. So that made it impossible to make it to our first lesson for the day. We continued on to the next lesson. Each time we would go down a road, we would run into water that made the road impassable, so we would make a detour down another road, until the same thing happened. Eventually, I got a little lost. We continued walking around until finally we made it to a main road that I was familiar with. We started making our way down the right road, until we were almost at the lesson. I called to confirm that the person was at home, and found that he wasn't. That lesson had fallen through. By that time we had to go to the church to attend a meeting with the branch president, so we turned around and made our way to the church. When we got there we found that the meeting had been cancelled. So we continued again to walk, with no other lessons scheduled for the rest of that day. As we were walking, we ran into on of our investigators. He was on his way home. I asked him if he had a few minutes to sit down right then. We walked with him the rest of the way to his house and sat and had a good lesson on the Book of Mormon. After that lesson and continued walking, it was soon getting late. We as missionaries have to be home by 9pm, or 9:30pm, if we're in a lesson. It was 8:30pm. I decided to start making our way back home, a little disappointed that we hadn't gotten the two lessons I wanted. Then I got a phone call from Dercio, a young man who was baptized last month (I sent you guys pics of it). He is usually busy working and taking care of his younger brothers, so he doesn't have much time for us to visit him. In fact, we hadn't gotten the chance to visit him since his baptism. But he called saying that he had time and that he was on his way home. So we went to his house and sat down outside, waiting for him to arrive. But it soon became 9pm, and we had to leave to go home. Right as we were getting up to leave, he got home. So we had a short lesson with him. He brought a non-member friend with him, so we taught a short lesson on the Restoration, it went really well. We ended up getting home on time right at 9:30pm. So we ended the day with a good number of new contacts, and those two lessons that I was hoping for. But I know the Lord was testing my patience and my diligence by having us get lost and having lessons fall through. But because we continued on working and doing everything we could, we were blessed to reach the goal we wanted. All days aren't difficult like that, but I know that we have to work just as hard every day and do everything we possibly can to help our investigators and find new people to share our message with. If we do that, the Lord will always bless us for our efforts, but it will always be on His time, not ours. 

The rest of the week was slow and we didn't get much work done. On Thursday, my companion, Elder Bender got sick, so we stayed at home. The next day, he was still sick, had a fever, and was feeling weak. The mission health advisor told him to go the hospital to get tested for Malaria. So we made our way to the city, waited to see a doctor, they gave him the test, and we waited there for the results. It took up our morning and most of the afternoon. After we got home, he still wasn't well, so we stayed at home the rest of the day. We stayed at home most of Saturday too, but we were able to get out and work for a few hours in the evening. During that time, we taught a good first lesson to a new family. I felt the Spirit very strongly during that lesson. Right after we left that house, Elder Bender started feeling pretty bad again. He had a bad headache and body aches. We got home and he found that he had a high fever. We have medicine here at the house, so he took some medicine and went to bed but before that, me and another elder gave Elder Bender a blessing. Right afterwards, he said he was already feeling a little better. --I'm grateful for the priesthood and the ordinances and blessings it enables us to do. It really is God's authority that has been entrusted to us to bless the lives of others. I'm grateful that Dad is a worthy priesthood holder, I know it blesses our family a lot. Remember to take advantage of it. I'm talking to you, Mom and Jacob, If you're feeling sick and would like a blessing. Or if you are feeling worried about things or overwhelmed, and would like a blessing of comfort, ask for it. The priesthood is here to bless our family.--  Any way, the next day. the medical advisor told us it would be better to stay home, which meant we missed church.
When the other elders got home, they administered the sacrament to us, so I was glad I didn't miss that. But basically from Thursday through Sunday we didn't do any work. So that was kind of difficult. But thankfully today he is feeling better, so we will be going back to work as normal tomorrow. I guess he had the flu these past few days. But anyway, I'm hoping we are able to sit with all our investigators this week, and make up for the lost time we had last week. I know the Lord understands all our situations, and many of them we can't control. I know the Lord will make up the difference and we can have a successful week.

It's already the middle of January! It's going by pretty fast, isn’t' it? I will hit 8 months on the mission on Wednesday! All my friends are already at, or past, their year-marks. It will be weird when they start coming home. I went to all of their farewells, and none of them were there for mine. I won't be able to be at any of their homecomings, but they'll all be there for mine haha. Anyway, I felt like it was just a few days ago I was talking to you guys for Christmas. And we'll be talking again in just about 4 months! I am sorry to say that I still have not gotten that package. I wonder what could be talking it so long! Oh well, it'll probably be here in time for my birthday in just a little over a month from now.

As far as my journal writing goes, I've been doing it. Sometimes I will let a few days pass without doing an entry, but I try to write in it every day. I'm on a streak right now, I've written every day since Jan.3rd. I'll try to keep it up!
We will be having another zone conference at the end of the month and a member of the Seventy, of the Africa Area presidency is coming to speak to us at that zone conference, so I will try to get a picture with him and president to send to you. It should be a good conference, I'm excited for it.

No mom, I haven't eaten any crab or seafood since I've gotten in this area. But I've still eaten some good food here. I have been cooking a lot of chicken lately, usually with rice and beans or pasta. A lot of times we make tortillas and have burritos, they are pretty good. This week we bought some peri-peri and chopped it up and put it in the beans for our burritos. It was good, but pretty spicy! I definitely think I've gotten better at cooking. I don't think I'll have any problem cooking for myself when I get home. As far as fruits, I usually eat apples and bananas, and also lychee, If you've never heard of it, look it up. It's a really delicious fruit! It's small, and kind of looks like a kiwi on the outside, but you bit off the peel and eat the fruit inside, and spit out the big seed in the middle; It kind of tastes like grapes, but better. There are lots of mangos here too. I like them too.

Everyone in the house is getting along fine. It's true, the mission gets you used to many different types of personalities. But it's good, I've learned a lot from it. Me and my comp continue to get along well too.  As I just mentioned he was very sick, I thank the Lord every day that I've continued to stay healthy. You might think that maybe I've already gotten sick and just not mentioned it so I didn't worry you.  But, honestly, I've had some digestion problems a few times for food I ate and a headache every once in a while, but other than that I haven't gotten sick so far on my mission. I've been healthy enough to go out and work every day so far. Even back home going 8 months without getting sick is pretty good. I know that as I continue to do all I can to keep myself healthy, the Lord will help me.

Thank you Mom and dad for your testimony, I know too that the gospel is keeping our family united, even with me far away. What's amazing is that whether you're a convert or a life-time member of the church, we all have to do the same things to keep our testimonies strong: pray, read the scriptures, attend church, go to the temple, etc.  I've seen my testimony grow so much here on the mission. I'm so grateful that you guys are strong in your faith, and that has strengthened me.

I hope and pray that you will be able to reach your goals. I hope all of you have a good week. Dad and mom, I hope you have a good week at work. Thank you for working hard every week. I know it's not easy some times. But I really appreciate your sacrifice for Jacob and me. I pray that the Lord will bless you in all things, at work, at home, and at church and school
Anyway, I'm excited for a new week of work out here and am excited to tell you all about it next week!

I love you!!

Elder Rebollo

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