Hola mi familia y mis amigos,
This past Sunday, Elder Endicott and I sat in on a youth class for teenager guys between 16 and 18 years old. One of the two teachers was David, the fiancee of the 18 year old women who passed away in the car crash a few weeks ago. He and the other teacher talked with a group of 6 teenagers what "grace" is and how it comes from Christ. The first teacher, Nico, explained that "grace" is a divine source of help or strength. The guys talked amoungst themselves about how only through the grace of Christ can any of us be saved in the last day.
Then David started explaining how much grace affects each of us on a day to day basis. He shared the miracles that he had seen since his fiancee's death that come because of the grace of Christ. That first night, he explained, he sat in her room at her house crying and praying that somehow she would just walk right in. He prayed for days that she would just come back and everything would be alright again. But then he shared that as the days past, he realized in his heart that he knows he'll see her again. He said he began to feel peace once again and that even though he will probably get married and have a family, he knows he'll be able to see her again because of the sacrifice Christ made for us.
After he explained that, I shared with the guys a little about how grace had recently affected me. These last few months have been difficult for me. We haven't seen a lot of visible results from our hardwork and that began to discourage me. I've prayed that God would help me understand his plan for me and help me to have more faith and be more optimistic.
Last Wednesday, I called up a 16 year old named Ismar who we had taught a few months earlier. I can't remember if I mentioned him in any past letters, but basically he wanted to get baptized but his Dad told him he had to wait and go to Catholic Church for two months. Missionaries who lived closer to him began teaching him and I lost contact. But on Wednesday when I called, he explained that he wanted to be baptized on Saturday into our congregation and that his parents had given permission. So on Saturday, Ismar became the first person in his family to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It scared him, but he felt it was right so he did it.
During class on Sunday, he was one of the teenagers in the room. I explained to them that my definition of grace was God helping us out when he sees that we're truly trying. Without grace, we would be simple too inadequate to do anything. Not a single person, whether he be the Prophet of our Church, a drug addict on the street, or anyone in between, could have a hope of accomplishing anything were it not for the grace of Jesus Christ. I felt it a lot in high school. I didn't see it then, but now I realize that a lot of times God simply looked at my pitiful but valient effort to do right and would send inspired help. He does it for me every single day. And for that I am grateful for the grace of my Savior Jesus Christ.
And that brings me to another point that I don't have enough time to write about this week but I will next week: Mormons are hesitant (or to put it more bluntly: scared) to share our beliefs and invite other people to learn more. It's one of our best kept secrets, but most members of our Church get nervous when it comes to talk about our religion unless someone says something to the effect of "I've been praying recently and searching for more of God in my life and had a strong feeling that I should talk with you about your belief in God." When someone says something like that then even the most timid of members find a way to share. Next week I shall talk more about this. But for now, hasta luego.