Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week 65: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it"

Que hubo!

So let me take you back to Monday of last week. Elder Hernandez and Elder Bernal are cleaning up the house so its fresh and clean and so Rosy wont get mad, heehee. I go to my chair where I sit EVERY MORNING and I move it to the side so I can sweep a little. Then, from out of the bottom of my chair, there suddenly emerges A BLACK WIDOW SPIDER AND BEFORE I COULD DO ANYTHING IT BIT ME IN THE ARM!!! No jk.

Don't worry mom it was a joke, It didn't bite me. But it did come crawling out and I may have let out a 5 year old girl little scream that our neighbors from down the street might have heard. I thought about it for a little second, What are the odds that that spider has been there for a while? What are the odds that out of the many times that I have sat in that chair, and it hasn't crawled on my leg or even given me a nibble? I like to think that God protected me from any harm, but instead of thinking about it any longer, I whipped out the broom and practiced my lumberjack skills and chopped that widow to pieces.

So other than that, the week was great! More news to come in the next week. Stay Safe! Check for spiders!

Elder Bernal

Inspiration for the Week:

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

- Nelson Mandela

Week 64: "Another 6 Weeks of Adventure"

Hello everyone!

So this week was a great one! It went by really fast, and I dont have to much to tell you all about it ... All I have to say this week is that I was great to talk to my family yesterday. Miss you guys and it was great to see all your beautiful faces, yes, even yours Garret..... JUST KIDDING! LOVE YA!!!!

We had transfers this week, but I am staying right where I am with Elder Hernandez. Another 6 weeks of adventures.

Love you all!
Elder Bernal

"The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Week 63: "Go Wherever Your Best Prayers Take You"



So about 2 months ago, I wrote a letter about how we found a family in our area, and today, and I am going to retell it for those who missed.

On one beautiful Thursday, Elder Guerra and I had just finished planning for the week. We were pretty anxious to find a complete family since that had been a common request in many of our prayers. This Thursday, we were tired of not finding one, so we decided to do an experiment to test Gods ability to lead us to a family that was ready to receive the Gospel. We grabbed the map of our area, and we divided it into three groups, and we gave a number to each one. Then, we got on our knees and said a prayer. We asked God to indicate to us which number was the location that we needed to go to, to find the family that He had prepared. When we finished the prayer, we agreed that on the count of three, we would say the number that was most predominant in our mind. 1, 2, 3, boom. We said the same one. OK, it was the first time, there are just three numbers, beginners luck right? So we took that area that we had agreed on, and we divided it into 3 again and did the same thing. Once again, we said the same number. We repeated this process 6 times, and every time that we prayed together, we said the same number (one time we decided to pray individually, and this was the only time that we spoke a different number. We took it as a hint that God wanted us to be united).  We got it down to three streets out of our entire area.This was the last time we would pray, and we could both feel the Spirit very strongly. After repeating the process for the final time, we both spoke the same street name: Calle Serena. This very hour, we left the house and practically sprinted to the street, absolutely sure that it was where God needed us to go, and not just the result of some silly guessing game. In search of a family, we spotted a parked mini van outside a house. We knocked on the door, a grown man opened, and a few moments later, we met the familia Torres Ibarra.  

2 months later on the 2nd of May 2015, that amazing and beautiful family entered the waters of baptism together. It was one of the most amazing days of my entire mission. Seeing their faces as they left the font and as they celebrated together in a group hug, was a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

I am absolutely 100% sure, and do not have a single doubt that Elder Guerra and I were once again led by the Lord to find this family, proof that not only does God exist, but that he answers the prayer said with faith and real intention. I love this work so much, and am so so so grateful to have been the means by which this family could grow one big step closer to God. 

Love you Mommys!!! Talk to you all on Sunday!!!

Elder Bernal

"Go wherever your best prayers take you."
   - Frederick Buechner

Week 62: "I Fear No Man"


It was another great week in Hermosillo, I must say. Due to a few minor changes in the mission, I now have another companion whose name is Elder Pineda! So there are now 3 of us. I thought it would be kind of annoying because one guy would always be like a third wheel, but its actually really fun. We joke around a good amount and Its fun to be with 2 other Latinos. They teach me a lot of Mexican slang so I can fit in a little more.

This week, I finished the Book of Mormon once again. What a blessing it is to be able to read such a book. As always, I put to the test the promise that is made to all in the final chapter, which is to "ask God, The Eternal Father, In the name of Christ, if these things are not true" (Moroni 7:4). I can testify to having received answer, and it wasn't for the first time! I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, and that the work that I am doing, truly is the work of the Lord.

So this week, I read an article that really, really inspired me. Kind of changed my mission/entire life. A theme that I have taken away from this experience is the phrase "I fear no man." Fear has always been a topic that I have enjoyed talking about, because I simply love conquering my fears. Fear is also one of the most powerful weapons of the adversary, and is a tool that he uses to simply prevent us from reaching our potential. This week, after receiving the inspiration that I needed, I wanted to give God the reassurance that my loyalty is to him and I truly "fear no man." In the mornings when we were about to leave, I followed the advice from the article I read, and I would look myself in the mirror and say to myself several times, while pretending to look tough and changing poses, "I Fear No Man!" It would give me a good boost, and of course gave my companions a good laugh,

Now lucky for me, I do feel that in just about all areas of my mission, I show the Lord that I am not afraid. But shouting to a bus full of people a couple times did give me a rush. So this week, I decided to do it on every single bus that I boarded. It didn't matter if there was music playing, or we had just barely caught the bus and were puffing for air or whatever excuse i would normally come up with, I put myself in the middle of every single bus and time after time presented our message of the Restoration of The Gospel (even if some thought it was a little annoying!). There were moments when I felt a little bit of fear, but one time, I had an impactful realization. I was shouting for everyone to hear me, and everyone's eyes were fixed on me and it kinda got me nervous. But then, as I looked into the eyes of the people, I realized something. These are people, each one is a Child of God. As made eye contact with each person that was looking at me, I was no longer talking to a bus full of people; I was talking to each one of them individually. The light in the eyes of each person reach so deep into depths of mine own, and in that moment I understood more the scripture that says, "The light of the body is the eye." The nerves went away, and the words came out. Because we had boarded a ton of buses this week, we had A TON of references from our efforts. And maybe the best part about the whole thing, was that I got my companion to do it too! After a few pushes, Elder Pineda took his turn to "fear no man" and shouted on a bus as well. 

One of my favorite scriptures is found in 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of Fear, but of love, of power, and of a sound mind." Fear is a product of the adversary, it is not sent from God. When we feel fear, regardless of what the situation may be, we need to recognize that it is the Devil playing games with us. The best way to go face to face with Satan and win, is to face our fears. This week, I can say I won, and I will continue to do so, because I Fear No Man.

I love my mission. I love every single minute. I think how I feel about my mission can be described in the words of CS Lewis in an awesome quote that I have heard throughout the years. "I believe in God as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see the sun, but because by it, I can see everything else." I am a witness that God lives, and that He loves each one of us, and all that I have witnessed in my mission is the evidence.

Have a great week!

Elder Bernal

P.S. Please Pray for the Familia Torres Ibarra. If all goes well, this Saturday the whole family will be getting baptized on Saturday!