Due to time this letter might be a little short but...I think I will manage to get mostly everything in. Update on the companionship: Elder Ford is doing really well and his knee seems to be doing a lot better as well. He is progressing and I am so proud of all that he has done to get to the point where he is at right now. He still struggles a lot with the language and with the gospel knowledge, but we are working on it and I feel like he is putting in his part. We had a really good week of work and for the 1st time in a long time I feel like we met our potential. We had a few investigators in church and we actually have 3 that are progressing towards baptism. We also had a ton of members attend church this week, we normally have an average of 130 people a week and this week 166 people showed up. Elder Ford and I and the other companionship in our sector came up with a good idea to find new investigators. We took the ward list and basically have been passing by every inactive member to see if they have any kids or spouses who aren't baptized and we are also getting a lot of references from them. We found 12 new investigators this week! It was a really good week.
Big story of the week...On Thursday afternoon we set up a visit to go see the family that we are working with and we invited President to come meet them and help us get things moving. It was incredible how well the lesson went. President basically went in there and just took over. In 20 minutes he got to know them, gained their confidence and then we started teaching basic doctrinal principle of the gospel. We talked about many things but the main focus was on the eternal family. The father really liked the idea and he is really putting in his part so that he can receive the blessings that come through obeying the commandments and making covenants with God. Anyway, the lesson went great and on Saturday morning I went over, invited them to be baptized on the 26th of this month and we shared our testimonies with them. They accepted the goal that we put with them and we are really hoping that they can get there. Well...the climax of the story, Sunday afternoon rolled around (they all went to church in the morning) and I get a call that something had happened and the father was leaving the house (packing his bags and moving out)! I met up with Elder Weston and ran over there. We walked into a really difficult situation. He was getting his stuff ready to go and there had been some kind of argument that led him to want to take off. We sat them down and began to talk to them and the flood gates opened. The husband, who I am very close to really opened up to us. I testified pretty boldly that Gods plan is that the family can live together forever, in no part of Gods plan does it say that we can just quit. Nowhere in his plan does it say that we can just leave the family or that we can find happiness doing something else. We testified that God loved them and that his plan was that they could work through this problem, enter into the waters of baptism and step out of the water as pure as when they were born. We testified of many things and for the first time in my mission I cried in a lesson, 1 year and 7 months without a single tear, but I just couldn't hold it in...lol I told them I loved them and it came from my heart. I felt the love of God, I felt what I have been trying to feel my entire mission in the moment that I told a struggling father that I loved him, and that I loved his family and that I wanted to see them happy, and I wanted to see them in white. (Baptism, temple, celestial kingdom) I was very in tune with the spirit at that moment and I invited the family to get on their knees with us, grab one anothers hands and asked the father to give a prayer to bless his family through this tough time. He gave an amazing prayer and with a ton of conviction he promised God that as the head of the house he would do better in leading his family to salvation. After the prayer we gave the wife and him blessings of strength and help for their trials.
I have a testimony of what I am doing out here. God is real, he lives and loves each and every one of us. I know all of this not because I have seen him or had a dream, not because he has talked to me or sent an angel to visit me and convince me of his existences, but I know that God exists because I have felt ht power of his son Jesus Christs atonement in my life. I know that he exists because I have seen how the gospel of Jesus Christ has changed the lives of so many people that I have contact with the last year and a half. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he saw God the father and his son Jesus Christ. God lives and loves you and me and each and every one of us. Thanks for all of the support that I have from all of you who are reading this. I love each and every one of you and would do anything to be with you, except leave Chile. This is the Lords work, and I will work until the very last day.
Elder Cody Dastrup