Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A very gross... "blessing in disguise."

Dear family:
 Last week on Saturday night, my companion and I didn't receive a call from the assistants, meaning that I've officially made it to my last transfer in the Bénin, Cotonou Mission, that I'll be dying in the Calavi University (I) secteur, and that my faithful friend and companion Elder Kabuya will be killing me in six weeks' time!!

 The main events that had taken place throughout the week consist of the following: (1) I had a massive and terribly infected ingrown hair on the top my left foot which had started developing early on in the week. (2) I stayed in the apartment on Saturday and Sunday because I could no longer walk or wear shoes due to the ingrown hair. (3) While in the apartment, I had given myself up to much scripture reading, pondering, guitar playing and napping. (4) I suppose that my ingrown hair had been a blessing in disguise for everything that I had read had answered a lot of prayers that I had offered up to the Lord in order to know how I could become more humble and charitable and have more joy in my missionary service (Hebrews 13 -- 2 Peter 3). (4) This morning at four o'clock a.m., I got out of bed to go to the bathroom, during which time I had extracted the ingrown hair. It was extremely painful, but I managed to get out the hair along with a huge, snot-like chunk of puss which shot out unexpectedly against the bathroom wall. (5) On Sunday, I managed to get to Church (I didn't want to miss out) where I would participate in the preparing and blessing of the Sacrament (which felt great since it's been a while) and would give a lesson in our investigator class about the way that Christ had organized his Church. (6) Many of our investigators came to Church on Sunday which was great. One of which named Fr. Ezekial will be baptized by the end of this week. He has progressed super well and has already acquired a power testimony of the Church and has already become converted all on his own. We pray that everything will go according to plan and that we'll be able to help him prepare himself for his baptism. (7) We've continued to visit our recent converts (who've been making great spiritual progress) every day throughout the week and we've had many opportunities to make new friends or find new investigators. (8) A few of the new investigators that we had found with whom we had an appointment during the week didn't really want to hear our message or seek out truth but insisted in debating with us concerning certain doctrine while others sought to challenge our scriptural knowledge. Apostasy is real, family, and still exists today in the hearts of many; however, I'd just like to testify to you that this is the one true Church, that the Priesthood keys and fullness of the Gospel have been restored therein, and that so long as we remained humble (which was very hard for me this week), no one could confound us as the Lord had promised (D&C 133:57-59).

 Family, if only you could see what I've seen for the past two years. All the trials, sufferings, pains and difficulties that I've gone through along with all the happy, spiritual, and joyous memories and experiences that I've acquired have helped me to see and know with a certainty that the Church along with everything within it are true. This has been the hardest spiritual challenge that I've ever faced yet, but it has shown and revealed to me that this is the truth and the fullness thereof is only found in this Church. This experience has also taught me many other things, that it's all thanks to the grace of the Lord made possible by the Atonement that I've been able to make it this far, that fasting and prayers of faith produce miracles, that the Priesthood is real and has been a means by which the Lord has produced miracles through me and others, that daily scripture study and prayer are very powerful, direct and clear sources of guidance, instruction, inspiration, revelation, support and consolation and that obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel along with the commandments is what brings long-lasting happiness, joy and blessings.

 Well, family, I just want you to know that I love you all so much and that I appreciate all that you've done and continue to do for me through your prayers of faith, your support and your expressions of love. I'm super excited to be reunited with you again soon at the end of the following month. I hope that all goes well for each and every one of you in every aspect of your lives. I pray for you specifically, by name and by inspiration of the Spirit according to your overall and specific needs. I hope that you all have a wonderful upcoming week and that kids have a great first week of school!

Love, your brother and son,
Elder Gonzales

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