Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Final week: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord." (Matt 25).

Hello everyone,

This will be the last time that I write home as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In Spanish, in this kind of moment, we say that i have sentimientos encontrados, which basically means I just have a bunch of feelings mixed together that I don't know how to explain, without enough time to even try. I am so excited to see you all again, see your faces, hear your voices, talk to my puppies..... but at the same time, I feel torn apart on the inside to be leaving a place that I have come to love so much. As hard as it is, I have the comforting feeling and assurance that I will come back soon enough, since Sonora has become part of who I am.

I really am grateful for all of you who have written me over these last two years, many of who you put your busy lives on hold to send me letters of encouragement and love, many who have sent me care packages that make other missionaries jealous, and many who have offered prayers for me when I needed it. I have felt heavenly hands carry me along for these last two years and give me strength to do what I did not know I could, and I know that it is because of you all.

Maybe the biggest feeling that I have hard over the course of my time in Mexico has been an overwhelming sensation of love. A kind of love that I don't know how to describe, it is just a kind of love that you feel. I am eternally gratefully to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to be his servant for these two years, and for taking the time to mold me in to what I was capable of becoming. In this process, I have come to know many truths of most importance, but the greatest of all is that I know with all the capacity that my soul possess, that God lives, that his Son is Jesus the Christ, and He is Savior of the world. I know that God has called anew a living Prophet, and that through him, God has given evidence of his love through new scriptures that are at the disposal of every one reading these words. Never before have I been more happy to be called a representative of Jesus Christ, and never before have I felt such a genuine kind of happiness that comes from being drawn closer to God.

I love this work. I love my mission. Though it does hurt inside to leave all this behind, I imagine that when I see my family again, I will have a resonating feeling of gratitude and satisfaction for the work that I have given to the Lord, and in that moment I hope to hear His words whisper to my heart, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord." (Matt 25).

See you all next week!
Elder Bernal

Week 101: "Did we show our faith that day?"

Hello all!

A really fast and super busy week! A quick rundown of all that has happened. My companion Elder Campuzano (I call him Campechano which is a classic seafood dish) is a stud and we have lots of fun together as we work really hard. We have very similar personalities so Its good to have a companion like that. Together we found several cool people this week, including a family of 6.

We had a very cool experience on Faith this week. Our mission president recently gave a copy of the book "Drawing on the powers of heaven" to all the missionaries in the mission, and it was AWESOME. Completely enhanced my perspective on what faith is, and made me realize how much faith I don't have, ironically. However, it did teach me how I can have more faith. Anyway so one day, after a long conference, my companion and I, both of us sick, had from 6 in the evening until 9:30 to work without an appointment. In that moment, we could have gone back to our house, more than justified in doing so because we were pretty sick. Could have just called it a day and been happy with our efforts in the conference and called it quits. But after not having too much time to work in our area, and with several people on our minds, we decided to go to our area anyway.

The work part was great because we got to have an awesome lesson with the family of 6 that I mentioned above, but the greatest part was what happened at the end of the day as we were waiting for the bus. Now we should be in our house at the latest by 9:30, and we have to get on the bus and then walk another 25 minutes or so, so we were sitting there waiting at the bus stop alone, in the cold (yes, even though its Sonora, it was cold. or relatively cold. I was cold. ) anyway, in that moment that we got there, my companion goes, "ahh, and this would be the perfect moment for a member to swing by and give us a ride home." We casually laughed and then kept waiting, since that dream hardly every gets granted. Then, about 3 minutes later, a blue SUV passes us,then comes to a full stop, and reverses all the way to where we are. He lowers the window, and I immediately recognize the face as a member from one of my past areas. "Elders, you want a ride?"

We jumped in the car, and I, completely forgetting about my companions comment, just sit down happy to be on a quicker route home, when Elder Campuzano suddenly says, "Today, I gained a stronger testimony of faith." I immediately remembered what he said and then we all started laughing. I was shocked! God had answered that small little prayer!! We told our story to the member who was with us, and then I asked, "But wait, do you really think it mattered if we had faith or not? I mean, you were already on your way. You would have seen us either way. Is that really an answered prayer or just mere chance?" He responded telling us that it actually wasn't chance. He told us his side saying that he was looking for his keys in his house but couldn't find them. His wife suggested that he take her car, something he never liked to do, but in that moment he just felt like he shouldn't keep looking anymore and just take his wife's car, a simple decision that would have made about a 15 minute difference, enough time for us to have gotten on the bus and had to have walked the rest of the way home.

So, where am I going with this story? Well, This member was looking for his keys before we got to the bus station. So it was a lesson to me that shows that the God can prepare the answer to the prayer of faith even before we say them. Did we show our faith that day? Well yes, we went to work even when we were justified in not doing so. So God, knowing that we were going to ask Him, and acknowledging our faith with actions, started to put together the pieces to answer our prayer even before we said it! Simply because he knew beforehand that we would have the faith for him to intervene. And so He had this member act so that our prayer could be answered in the moment that we said it. It could have seemed like our faith would´t have made a difference, but that is only because we don't have the perspective that He does.

Long story short, It is always better to have faith, whether you think it makes a difference or not. God will answer the prayer of faith, even when it seems like it is too late to ask.

Hope you all have a great week.


Have a great week!
Elder Bernal

Inspirational quote of the week:

"Estas son las mañanitas,
que cantaba el rey David,
Hoy por ser tu cumpleaños,
te las cantamos a ti

Despierta, papito, despierta,
mira que amanecio!
Ya los pajarillos cantan
la luna ya se metio!!!!