Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Year to Look Forward To

HELLO! Before I say anything...


Thank you all so much for emailing me. This week was awesome for many reasons. Let me describe our week as briefly as possible. So let's start with December 31 and January 1. Let me tell you, the members of the Church here are so nice. And I mean SO nice. On each of those days, we had four different families that offered to feed us and, of course, how can missionaries, such as us, reject such kindness? So off we went. We thought we could handle it. We were mistaken. So these eating appointments came one after the next without any time to rest or... for lack of a better term...unload. So by the third appointment, we weren't even enjoying ourselves anymore. It hurt. Like it literally hurt to move any appendage of my body. But despite that... It was fun. 

But the highlight of my week was my first baptism. I had the opportunity to baptize a 12 year old kid named Raffael. Let me explain why I cherish that experience. So a lot of people have this conception of missionaries of our Church as deceptive, persuasive, and snide 20 year-olds looking to baptize anyone they see in sight for the sake of... well who knows what? Whatever the case may be, a lot of people have this weird misconception of us. Our responsibility, as missionaries, is to serve anyone we meet and share with them the message that we have. That's it. We invite people to make certain commitments and they, by their own free will and choice, choose to keep those commitments or not. But let's get back to the question I mentioned: Why was being able to baptize Raffael such a momentous experience? well firstly, it wasn't even for me. It was for him. I saw at first hand the progression of a young kid who truly believed what we taught. And I was able to participate in a life-changing experience that surely changed the trajectory of his entire life. I know that through continued diligence and support from members of the Church here in San Jose, Raffael will do incredible things. I am SO thankful that I can say that I was part of this kid's life. 

But yeah. That was my week in a nutshell. My stomach still hurts a little bit from being literally stretched to its limits, but I can still say that at this point on my mission, I'm still as happy as ever. It's hard. But it's a happy sort of hard, if that makes sense? I hope this 2016 brings us all of us joy, success and maybe a little bit of growth. (And I literally mean that because I don't think I've grown half a centimeter since I've left.) Thank you all for all the emails and I'll talk to you all again next week!

-Elder Bondoc

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