Time has been flying, as I just hit my 8 month mark on my mission. I hope you are all enjoying the cold; it gets chilly here too, especially next to the beach as the humidity mixes with the cold. It goes right through my bones sometimes, but I still love it. I am missing snow a little bit, but you all can make some snowmen and go sledding for me!
This past week we went to the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum with the elders and it was so fun! It was really neat to go out and see some great, famous, interesting and very different artwork!
This week our ward missionary leader, Cristian, came back from being out of town. He was working at the MTC for a few weeks, and he came back with endless stories about me that the other teachers had told him; like the one on my 3rd day in the MTC, when I almost set the whole cafeteria on fire single-handedly. That´s what happens when you just want to warm up your bread roll for 20 seconds in the microwave, but you don’t realize one of the teachers was using it before you and set it to "oven-mode". I turned my back for a few seconds and saw black smoke everywhere! Everyone freaked out and was wondering who did it. At first, I thought the same thing … "yeah, who would do that? Who just left something in there?" Then I realized, whoops, that was me. The shameful, slow hand raise. Such funny and great memories! I miss and love that place!
Jhon was baptized this last weekend!!! It was so incredible. The service went beautifully, and there were so many people, including many of his friends and family! What a remarkable experience to witness. He was so happy, and after the service, his mother bore a powerful, emotional testimony about all she had gone through to get her son here, and that ever since she was baptized, all she wanted was this for her children. As I was sitting beside Jhon at this time, I looked over to see tears rolling down his cheeks. You could feel the Spirit so strong, and you could feel the love within that family, after all they had gone through together and the love that Heavenly Father has for this family and all of the blessings and miracles they are going to see in their lives. Jhon has often talked to me about how badly he wants to serve a mission someday. He said "Hmm … Elder Escobar, I like the sound of that!" He is just precious! I am excited to continue to help him along this great journey. I know none of this would have happened without the help of the Lord. It was through our faith and trust in Him that all of this was possible.
This past week I was re-reading some notes I had from the conference we had with President and Hermana Pace and the Kearons. I really loved these verses, when the young man is talking to the Savior in Matthew 19:16-20:
"And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
He saith unto him, which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."
After all we have accomplished and after all the good we do, we are still able to humble ourselves and ask, "What lack I yet?" What things are still holding me back? What can I still be doing better? I will be honest and say sometimes the answers we receive sting a little bit. We can only progress as we humble ourselves and have the desire to change and ACT.
Sister Kearon told us, "When we want to change, yes, on occasion, it does involve a little pain. You have to try and practice with it. Every time you do, you will move a little more upward on your eternal progression. The more spiritually refined you become, the more weaknesses you overcome, the more you will realize you have to improve and change. That is okay! Sometimes it takes us a month to work on something, such as a bad habit or weakness, and sometimes it can take us 10 years. Whatever it may be, DO NOT GIVE UP. EVER. The Lord is very, very patient."
Hermana Pace shared, "I have come to the acknowledgment of my weaknesses, but I have never let them immobilize me."
As we notice these things, I can promise you that through the Lord, weak things can become strong. He is molding and shaping us into our divine identity. Every time we chip off a rough edge, we become more refined, but then we find another edge to work on. It is an ongoing process to our eternal perfection, only made possible through our perfect example, which is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love Him. I love His gospel, and I know He is at the head of this church and the forefront of this grand work of salvation … especially here in Spain.
Let him refine you, day by day, and I promise, you will never regret it.