Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Increase of Love

Dear Family, We went to the temple today and thus changed our P-Day this week. Thank you for your prayers and love and notes and birthday wishes. I think the healthy arrival of Henley has to be the best birthday present I received. Now I have a niece to share April Fool's pranks with. When I was at BYU, I remember Sister Davis (my Bishop's wife) talking in Sacrament Meeting at one point and talking about having kids born. She said she was always nervous that she would never be able to love the new baby quite as much as she loved her other children. She then explained that the moment that she held the newborn in her arms for the first time that she was filled with an overwhelming love for that child and that somehow her love had increased. She then explained that it had been the same with all of the university wards and students that they had been able to serve. Since we were their last ward before being released she explained that through the Atonement of Christ her love had been increased to hundreds of young BYU students. As I celebrated my birthday yesterday, I came to understand just a little bit better what she meant. It was by far the best birthday I have ever had. On Saturday, the Colons had a birthday party complete with Mexican food (life mom always makes on my birthday), presents, cupcakes and candles. Then yesterday, Blanca Ortega (mom) returned home from El Salvador. She has been there for two weeks. We had another birthday party there with most of our recent converts in the area. Once again, cake, presents, and cards. Natalia wrote me a really funny letter that said, "You are one of the originals left, you can't forget about us". It made me think of the Updike "original" photo :) Blanca brought me an awesome hammock from El Salvador that I am now trying to figure out how to send home. Then we went to the church for mutual and English class and as I walked into the gym, all 30 young women from the ward sang me Happy Birthday. If you want to know how to make me blush, that is the trick. It was so awkward to have all those girls sing to me. They then brought me a gift bag with a bunch of paper towels and a note card that said, "April Fools!" after which they gave me a nice tie and a card. I will hit my year mark in this ward and area in six days. I have come to love these people so much. Every time that I meet new investigators I always wonder if I will be able to love them as much as I love the Ortegas and Giselle and the other converts and then as I serve them and as they serve me, a bond is formed and the Savior bestows upon me a greater capacity to love. I am so grateful for the infinite of the Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. I know that Their love really is endless and that They are always willing to give us a greater portion if we but seek for it. Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. We continue to be blessed in the work and found a number of new investigators this week. On Sunday, since it was the fifth Sunday, during the third hour, Hermano Perez (our Ward Mission Leader) taught about members being missionaries. The ward is already on fire but he just got everyone even more excited. With a few more baptisms that will happen this weekend, I think it is the fifth Sunday in a row. In the whole year I think we have only had three weekends without a baptism in the ward. All the converts are still very active and progressing. It is such a blessing! I have been reading one of the apostle's talks a day from the last conference in preparation for this weekend. I am so excited. I cannot believe that this is my last General Conference in the mission though. I still remember my first one when they announced the age change. What a fun time to be a missionary. As I have thought about coming home and everyone being there, I have one request. The week of my farewell, we all went to the Mesa Temple and did sealings in the same sealing room where Mom and Dad and Elisabeth and Mike got sealed (Bex was doing baptisms for the dead). Can we do that again when I come home? That was one of the best things that could have happened to my mission because it gave me a vision of baptizing families and getting them to the temple to be sealed so that they can feel what I felt that day. I still have vivid memories of the outpouring of love that I experienced as I was in the temple with my whole family. Thank you all for being who you are. I talk about you all the time and everyone out here wants to meet you. I love you and want you to know that I know this Gospel is true. Jesus Christ lives and loves us. Through His Atonement all things can and will be made right and we can be made whole if we come unto Him. Love, Elder Case

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