, it's me again. The problem with the computer this time? slightly malfunctioning p and s keys. It's a retty good one though! ANyways, I'm here in Mongolian and it's been a beautiful rainy day so far. Man, i love the rain. It usually makes everyone else grumpy and not in a good mood but I love it. That story you shared with me in the e-mail is one I actually read either thi week or last week. It's a good one isn't it! It's just so wonderful to think how blessed all the missionaries are that humbly seek the Lord's help. He readily gives it! So you went snorkeling and all that jazz huh? That's pretty sweet! It must be getting pretty empty at home with only cali and joseph there! You're not too far off from being an empty nester! haha, just kidding you've got a good six years or so right? :) So yea, lets recap this week real quick, it's been an exciting one:
So, after the interview with President, I thought things were going to get a lot better. I was insired and motivated and my companion looked excited and motivated. That all but died out in me by the end of Tuesday. It was like we just went back to the same frustrating situation. We didn't do any of the stuff we planned on doing and I just tried my best to support his decisions and follow along. Somehow we still managed to get messed up. So, without going through everything that I did, Thursday and Friday saw me with our District Leader, Elder Hardman, on a split. His companion, Elder Morrison, stayed with my companion and we went to work. The first day working with Elder Hardman was Amazing! I can honestly say it was one of the best days I've ever had out in Mongolia. The Spirit was there in every lesson, I had language comprehension like I'd never experienced before and things just went so well! Elder Hardman even remarked at how well the day had gone for his work. We actually went to an in-active members house trying to reactivate him and walked out with basically a reactivated member and a baptismal date. We went in and it was late so we had to be quick but all of a sudden, the man says, my wife needs to become a member. And she's like, yea, I need to be baptized. I didn't completely understand the import of what they said, I was just happy that we were going to get another investigator to teach and bring into the Gospel. Then after the lesson Elder Hardman told me the background and I was like...WHOA. haha anyways, so it was way sweet.
On Friday we had our baptismal service. There were 4 baptisms that day, one was our investigator, Otgone, and another was Elder Hardman's investigator, Daska. Otgone is this shy guy. He's pretty quiet, but when he gets excited, he just talks! After the baptism, all the new converts are invited to bear their testimony. He went up and he was so nervous, he sputtered out an 'I know God lives' and an 'Amen' and quickly fled the pulpit. As he walked down the ramp, he slapped his hand to his head in a display of embarrassment and I just had to laugh because it was so great. He sat down in his chair and just kinda slumped there, wishing he had said more. I am honestly so excited to see him gain more confidence in this Gospel. I've sensed a lot of desire in him and he's got a good heart, if he can jut grow stronger, he'll be such a great member, I just know it!
So on Saturday, we didn't really do much. I rejoined my companion and we were supposed to do a companionship inventory but he just kept doing other stuff and we had to get to a baptismal interview so it didn't really happen. Anyway, baptismal interview. That was great! We've got another baptism scheduled for this Friday, making 4. The best thing about this one is that she's the wife of a member. Now they'll have a united family in the Gospel and that is what it's all about! Around 6 that day ourBranch President took our district out to dinner in the city. The city has some pretty good places to eat and so it was sweet. It was a decently expensive place for Mongolia (my food cot about $11). I'm still trying to figure out what my branch president does. He's well off by their standards but he works out in the countryide...maybe he's a slave trader, I don't know. haha anyways, he's a great man and really helps the branch here.
Sunday. Sunday was a crazy day. Otgone almot didn't make it to church! That really scared me. I thought he was going to ditch us and never come back because he's so shy. Luckily, only his Meeker had broken down and he was just as eager to get to church as we were for him. I was blesed again to confer upon him the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was so neat to see how him receiving that changed him! When he first got to church, he said he had to leave after sacrament because he had stuff to do. After receiving the Holy Ghost, I asked him if he had to go and he's like, 'No I want to stay, where's the next class?" I was shocked! I really couldn't believe it. But I happily pointed him the right direction and he headed to class.
At the same time, my companion had developed some serious chest pain, specifically his heart. When it started to spread to his left side of his body I got really worried and I let our District Leader know. We ket monitoring him and it got better for a bit than just escalated. It wa painful to see him suffer like that. Finally the mision doctor felt we should take him to a hospital to have him checked. We headed out there and they took care of him. In the end, nothing really serious resulted. My companion is alive and well, and I'm very grateful for that. However, during it all, I was honestly scared for his life. I ket thinking back to how during our last companionship prayer I hadn't said 'I love you' like we normally do because I wa upset over some discrepancy. and so I was thinking to myself, if he were to die, he would think I didn't care about him. And the thing that I realized is this; I care about him so much! Even if he does do thinks that irk me or just go against what we both know we're suposed to do, I still love him and care about him as my companion. If the Lord provided that experience for no other reason than that, I would be very grateful. It taught me a great lesson. So as I said before, he's all good now, and I'm glad. He's still not perfect, and it's still hard at times, but I'm trying my best to show that I love him in word and deed.
Other than that, everything's good in Mongolia! A week or so ago, I bought a sweet North Face jacket for the winter. It's huge and it's got like double layer gore-tex. It wa only 35 dollars :) Find out how much that sells for in AMerica, I'm curious. Anyways, I love the work and the language is still coming along fantastic. I love you all!
~Elder James Cappuccio
Mt orevius letter to James:
We had a great time in California, the weather was nice, well under 100 ! I went scuba diving at la Jolla Cove. It was fun but the visibility was not so good. Then later we took the kids snorkeling at the same place and saw lots of cool fish. Anyway, I just read an article in the Ensign that reminded me of your experience with speaking the language with the help of the Holy Ghost. I just copied and pasted the the first story in the article:
Speaking Words I Didn’t Understand
Unmistakable spiritual promptings attended me as a new missionary in Fitiuta, Manua, American Samoa, when I had to conduct a sacrament meeting in a room filled with curious villagers not of our faith.
Aviu, the only Samoan priesthood holder in the village, was bedridden with an illness and couldn’t conduct the meeting. I fasted and prayed fervently, deeply concerned because I could not understand the Samoan language well enough to converse with the people.
When Sunday came, my companion and I blessed the sacrament in English and passed it. I then stood and looked at the congregation. I knew what I wanted to communicate. I tried to open with traditional, polite greetings in Samoan, but the words didn’t come out right. I stopped and closed my eyes, feeling I’d have to speak in English. As I began speaking again, I had a sensation that my mouth was several inches in front of me, speaking in Samoan. The animated expressions on the faces in the congregation showed they understood my words. After the meeting my companion told me that our Church members said they were happy to hear my talk and that I was speaking perfect Samoan. I acknowledged the gift in my prayers that night. As the following Sunday approached, Aviu was still unable to leave his sickbed. I again fasted and prayed and had the same experience as the previous Sunday. I was humbled, recognizing again the feeling of being a tool in the Lord’s hands. The third Sunday approached with Aviu still sick. This time I felt confident the Spirit would prompt me. I wasn’t anxious. I didn’t fast or pray with the same urgency as before. I felt proud to have received the gift of tongues. But this time I failed. The congregation was puzzled when I couldn’t speak Samoan clearly. Pride stopped me from being receptive to the Spirit that time. This experience helped me learn that promptings will come to me only if I pray humbly and rely on the Spirit.
I don't think you need to worry about anyone thinking you are a wimp for being emotional about feeling the spirit, you'll find it happens quite a bit, it's a sign of humility not wimpiness. I think it is very cool about your baptisms and the chance you got to give the Holy Ghost.
Sometimes you have to have hard times to be humble and appreciate the good times better. Life definitely is a roller coaster, ups and downs and unexpected curves that seem to try to throw you off the track.
It would be great to see some pictures. I need to add a slide show to the blog of all your pictures, haven't had much time to do that yet. I'll maybe write you again before Monday. Got to go running....
Keep the fire burning!