Week 93 – Milagros de los cielos!! (Miracles from Heaven!)

Elder Naegle and I went on exchanges
this week and started the day with a hike
June 27, 2016
Hola from Reno!

Well the heat is here in full force, but so are the miracles, so we can't complain!! This week has been a ton of fun.

We have certainly been blessed this week. It seems like as of lately it has been hard to find new investigators for us, but this past week we had 4!!  Heavenly Father has certainly placed people in our path…we have been praying like crazy to find new people to teach, and our prayers have been answered!

One of them was a super cool miracle:

About a month ago, we were driving down the street, and we had to slow down to find a parking spot.  I happened to have my window down (because I am still part dog – haha!), and when we slowed down, I looked to the left and I noticed this Hispanic guy who was looking at us curiously. I thought that I recognized him because I called out to him and he ran over, and when I asked how he had been he said, "I've never talked with you guys before!" But then he asked, "Are you Mormons?"  And of course we said, "Yes!"  We found out his name was Mario – and then he told us that he had met with missionaries before in Mexico and they were helping his family, but then for some reason they stopped meeting.  So he asked us to come over – and of course we got his info while we were sitting there in the car, and set up a return appointment.

This happened about a month ago, but since that occasion in the car, he went incognito!  We couldn't find him again. We talked a few times over the phone, but nothing ever came of it. We had kinda given up hope with him, but then on Friday, Mario texted us and asked to meet up with him! So we set up an appointment, and went over on Saturday and had a really great lesson together. He is super humble now in his life and he knew that he needed to turn to God, so he called the missionaries. We are excited to keep working with him. He committed to give us some of his time, and in return that he can find that true happiness that he is looking for.

Beautiful Washoe Valley
I got to spend a day in Washoe Valley this week on exchanges, with Elder Naegle. He is a good Elder and we had a fun day together. Their area is at the southern tip of Reno, between Reno and Carson City, and in the middle of the valley is a big lake. The area is really spread out as far as missionary work goes, a lot different than downtown Reno, but we had a good day together. For our morning exercise we went on a hike and it was beautiful! Parts of the hike reminded me of the Cabin.

So yesterday Mileishka showed up to church with her Mom, but her Dad didn't come! We asked them where he was, and they told us that he had been missing since Friday night...he just never came home from work. This had happened once before, but he went missing because he was fighting with his wife, and wanted to leave and made it very clear that he was leaving. But this time, they had no clue where he went. Obviously, the whole family was freaking out and they had no idea what to do. Sister Luciano wasn't going to come to Church on Sunday because she was so worried about him.  But she woke up and felt the strong impression to go to church, so she came with her daughter. She came to church and immediately went and talked with the branch president about the situation.  They were confused and baffled as well, but then one of the members had an impression to call all the hospitals in the area and ask if he was in one of them. So they called around, and sure enough he was in one of the hospitals. They went directly to the hospital from church and found him. We went over a few hours after church to see them and they were happy to have found him. Even Brother Luciano has no idea what happened...all he remembers is walking home from work on Friday, and then waking up in the hospital Saturday morning. It was reported that he was found on the side of the road passed out, and someone called an ambulance. He doesn't remember any of it, and the doctors still don't know what happened. 

As crazy as this story is, it was proof to me that the faith of the Luciano Family is increasing. They were in need, and where did they go to get help? Church. Sister Luciano exercised her faith by coming to church instead of staying at home. Who did they turn to when they didn't know what to do? The Lord's servants. (The branch president and other church members). And what happened when they exercised their faith? They were able to find their Dad! As weird and as crazy as all this is, it was neat to see them turn to the Lord. A month ago I don't think they would've come to church if the same thing happened. I know that Heavenly Father blessed them as a result of exercising their faith, and we all know that faith is like a muscle…it gets stronger when we exercise it. 

Two other exciting bits of news with the Luciano Family: Mileishka brought one of her friends to church yesterday! He is an 18-year old kid, but he came and loved it! And we are going to start teaching him later this week. Also, she got a calling! She was called as the branch librarian. It might be a simple calling, but it is perfect for her to have a little responsibility. Her mom was super excited for her, too. 

It has been really neat for me to see the Luciano Family increase their faith. They are slowly, but surely, learning to rely on the Lord. And what happens when you rely on the Lord? You are blessed:

"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh."

No where ever in the scriptures does it say that when we rely on the Lord life will be easy, or pains will go away, or we will never have a hard day ever again.  We are promised that he will help us through the hard times. BUT, we have to do our part. We have to exercise our faith, and it is not until after we exercise our faith, that we are blessed with that "witness" or that "help" or that "confirmation".

In the book of Ether we learn that we should, "dispute not because we see not" and that "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

So we must first exercise our faith by doing the things we know we are supposed to do, read the scriptures, pray, go to church, keep the commandments, etc, and then afterwards, we will be blessed with whatever it is that we need. This principle is so true I can't put it into words, and truly there is no greater joy that I have ever experienced, than seeing other people's faith increased. It is even better than driving a ski boat across a glass lake. 

The church is true, folks. There are "milagros de los cielos" (miracles from heaven) all around us everyday. I know it.

Have a great week! I love you!

Elder Todd

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