Hola a todos!
Not to much to report this week, but we did have to say goodbye to our good friend Elder Robinson since he got transferred to Madrid! He's an incredible elder and he will be missed, but Elder Stafford and I are ready to get to work down here just us two. We're going to try and bring a different energy and excitement to this area, because we genuinely love it so much here.
We've been trying to focus more on the members and getting them more spiritually self-reliant in their homes and such. We've been challenging them to read the Book of Mormon together as a family, and people have told us that they've already seen benefits, so that's great! It's almost like when we promise them blessings for doing something and they do it, they get the blessings... weird how that works. But hopefully we can get each of the members way more into the gospel and more excited to participate.
We also got to go to Ceuta and do some member work there. The people there have such big hearts and we love spending time with them. We definitely got onto some interesting conversation topics, but overall the love was felt. Gemmary, one of the recent converts, is incredible at drawing and so she's drawing pictures of all of us. She started when Robinson was here so she's including him in on it too. We also went for a run around the point of the peninsula with Darring, a really awesome member that we just call Compa. It was a beautiful run and it was a great opportunity to get some exercise while seeing more of Ceuta. Sooner or later, we're hoping they get their own set of missionaries, because they have so much love for the elders. Can't wait until that happens.
Unfortunately, it seems that the work is slowing a little bit here. A lot of our most potential people are either not progressing very much, or not answering our messages. We really want to see the work explode in this area, but it's a little difficult when there's so much in our way. But we're going to press forward with faith and work harder than we probably have before. We could really use your prayers! Pray for our chapel and our leadership! They work so hard. We love them very much! Keep us in your prayers!
I also had some fun insights with a cool scripture that I've heard about a million times. When I used to wrestle my dad and beat up on him, he used to always quote Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Basically calling me out for being totally not gentle or meek...but that scripture has always stuck with me! (Definitely not because of the sheer amount of times my dad would quote it at me...)
But I was thinking this week about all those fruits of the Spirit, and how sometimes so easily they can be swapped for a counterfeit of Satan's. Sometimes it's a little scary how easily they can be mixed up, like joy vs. pleasure, meekness (humility) vs. self-deprecation, temperance (self-control) vs. self-abuse. All of Satan's fruits have one thing in common: self-centeredness. Every single one of them involves us turning inward and focusing on ourselves, such as where WE lack, how WE can make ourselves feel good in the shortest amount of time, what's in it for US, etc.
But every one of the gifts of the Spirit involves turning outward to others or to God. Rather than putting ourselves down because of our flaws, we can turn to God and ask Him to strengthen our weaknesses. Instead of being kind to someone and expecting something in return, we should be kind and serve expecting nothing. Instead of punishing ourselves excessively for making a mistake, we turn to Christ and allow the Atonement to help us overcome our bad habits. With God, we can turn outward from ourselves and reorient our focus on what really matters: loving Him and loving others.
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
¡Cristo vive! ¡El Libro de Mormón es verdadero!
Snoozing on the boat
Dinner in Ceuta with watermelon Fanta
Stuffed snake and Túabuelo (That's the little gnome)
Elder Stafford with a whole frozen rabbit
View from the point in Ceuta. You can see the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance
Beautiful morning in Ceuta
Elder Robinson with our friend Alex
Puerto de Ceuta