If you would like to send a letter:Elder Eric San Diego
Apartado Postal 118-184
Gustavo A. Madero
Mexico, D.F. C.P 07051
If you want to send a package:
You write this exactly, including Elder Jose Luis Escobar Maya (They don't like more than one name coming to the same PO Box when dealing with packages).
Elder Jose Luis Escobar Maya
Apartado Postal 118-184
Gustavo A. Madero
Mexico, D.F. C.P 07051
To make sure Elder San Diego gets the package just make sure his last name is in the return address (or next to the return address).
August 24, 2013
Elder San Diego's Homecoming Talk!
In my mission, I had a motto. It was very simple and very brief, but for me, one of the most powerful statements I could imagine and one of eternal magnitude and importance. My motto was “Have faith and be obedient.” For you see, it is upon these two principles of faith and obedience that we must anchor ourselves and our lives in order to receive all the promised blessings of the Lord unto the faithful. Faith is defined as “Trust and confidence of a person in Jesus Christ which leads the person to obey Him.” “Miracles do not produce faith, rather, strong and lasting faith is developed through obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Faith is the essence of our existence. Without faith, we are not. Without faith, we achieve no progress. Without faith, everything is impossible unto us. With faith, we breathe, live, and interact. With faith, one can obtain the job or college degree he is seeking. Faith is a hope in things which are not seen, which are true. To obey signifies to do the will of God. In revelation and instruction through the Prophet Joseph Smith recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, we read:
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated – and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”
Simple! When we obey, we receive all the blessings. When we choose not to obey, we deny ourselves the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of the Lord in our lives. Without faith, there cannot be obedience. Without obedience, there is no faith. These two eternal elements must be linked and joined together at all times if we wish to fulfill our true divine potentials. As we show forth faith and demonstrate our love for the Lord through our obedience we receive the promises He has extended towards us.
I have always felt that in order to effectively do missionary work, we must first qualify ourselves for the blessings through our faith, diligence, and obedience. One of my favorite promises is also found in the Doctrine and Covenants. It reads:
“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
As I exercised faith and obedience throughout my mission, I felt the accomplishment of this promise day after day. I remember one experience we had with a young man named Chris. When planning for our day the night before, my companion Elder Jay and I prayed to the Lord asking Him to guide us to someone who was in need of the gospel. We planned a certain time during the day in which we would follow the whisperings of the Spirit and trust in Him to guide us. As we were walking, I felt the impression to knock on a certain door. We knocked and a lady came out and answered and said she didn’t have time at the moment but that she would be able to receive us the next day in the evening. So, we passed by the next day at the appointed time and we found that there wasn’t anybody home. We decided to wait for a few minutes to see if she would arrive soon. As we waited, a young man approached us. He was drunk at the time and it was interesting what happened. He came up and told my companion that he knew him and that he had seen him somewhere before which was weird because my companion was just starting his mission. It was also strange because this young man spoke perfect English. He introduced himself as Chris and said that he saw us and that he was out walking around in hopes of finding someone who could help him. He told us of how he was feeling alone and abandoned and how he really needed help and guidance to know what to do. We walked around with him for a little bit and talked about what we do as missionaries and how we could help him. We scheduled an appointment with him for the next day. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how through having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, and being baptized we can find and receive the peace and guidance in our lives that we desire. The lessons we taught him were some of the most powerful I had ever been a part of in my mission. I remember when we taught him about the Word of Wisdom, he was determined to quit drinking and gathered all the bottles he had in his house together and asked us to accompany him to throw it all away. As I watched him throw away his bottles of alcohol, I felt a deep appreciation for the Lord and His promises to the faithful and the obedient that He would bless them, the way He did us.
In a different area my companion and I taught a girl named Judith. She was an atheist. She had stopped believing in God because of the tragic death of her husband. She had many questions such as “Why him?” “If God really does love us, why would he allow such things to happen?” My companion and I decided to teach her about the Plan of Salvation of God. As we were teaching her I remember thinking, “What’s the point? She’s an atheist and she won’t accept what we’re saying anyway.” Then, I remembered what President Thomas S. Monson said in a recent General Conference when he said that we must see people not as they are, but as they can become. I started to change my attitude in that moment and started to feel the presence of the Holy Ghost in the lesson. As we identified the Spirit with her, I started to see a change in her and how the Spirit was touching her heart and testifying of the truths we were teaching. As she exercised her faith in Christ and obedience to His commandments, she experienced a powerful change of heart and decided to be baptized.
In my last area, my companion and I were working hard and being as obedient as we could, yet we were not seeing the kind of success that we wanted. As we continued in faith, we received a reference from a lady leading us to two people, Angelica and Paulina. I was blessed to see and witness first-hand how the application of these two principles of faith and obedience blessed their lives and changed everything for them. When we met them, we taught of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about just how the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught to bless our lives. They felt the Spirit, had faith, accepted the truthfulness of the message, decided to obey God’s commands, and were soon baptized. The real blessing for me came afterwards when they had some trials and difficulties and how I saw them exercise faith unto obedience and how they overcame their challenges. Soon after being baptized, Angelica lost her job and was finding difficulties at all turns. She felt abandoned and rejected. As she was reaching what she thought to be her breaking point, we encouraged her to keep applying the principles of faith and obedience in her life and how she would very soon see the calm after the storm and the tremendous blessings of the Lord upon her. She persevered and continued in righteousness and was soon blessed to find an amazing job that paid much more than her previous job with a schedule that was perfect for her and allowed her to attend church on Sundays. I know that it was because of her faith and action in obedience that she was blessed as she was.
I know and testify that the Spirit of the Lord is present with us, testifying of the truth of all these things. I know it is here because I can feel it, and because I can feel it, I know that each one of you feel it too. The feelings that the Spirit brings to us are different. They can be peace, joy, love, a feeling of strength, but it is always something uplifting and good that encourages us to be better. For me it comes as a burning in my chest which fills me and gives me assurance. Whatever you feel right now, that is the Spirit. God sends us the Spirit to testify especially to us individually the truthfulness of things and to encourage us to follow Jesus Christ. It is only through obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we are saved. His gospel teaches us that first, we must have faith in Him. We must trust Him and obey with exactness all His counsels. Second, we must repent of our sins. We must forsake that which is evil in the sight of God, ask for forgiveness for our transgressions, and obey His will for us. True repentance is a change of heart from desiring what is wrong, to desiring that which the Lord desires. Then, we must be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. In the scriptures, we read the following account of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.” Jesus went to John to be baptized by him because he was the only one who had authority from God to do it. “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he suffered him.” Christ was baptized when he was conscious of his acts and comprehended the difference between good and evil. It was His decision to be baptized, and so it is with us. We are to be baptized when we have committed sins and are responsible for our actions. It is precisely for that reason that we are baptized, to wash away our own sins and errors that we have committed. Jesus, when he was baptized, came straightway up out of the water, showing that baptism is to be done by immersion which symbolizes the death of our sins, and the resurrection of a new person. As a Book of Mormon prophet said while pondering the baptism of Christ, “And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water.” I testify that if we follow the example of Jesus Christ, with faith and obedience, we shall receive all of His blessings. I invite all of you, no matter where you are on the path, to come unto Christ, to follow Him, and be perfected by Him.
Hermanos y hermanas, yo sé que Jesucristo vive. Sé que Él nos ama y que ha dado su vida para nosotros. Sé y testifico que Él es el Salvador del mundo. Sé que Dios es nuestro amoroso Padre Celestial y que Él conoce a cada uno de nosotros y está al pendiente de nosotros. Sé que es por medio de Jesucristo que somos salvos, después de hacer todo en cuanto podamos. Sé que si confiamos en Jesucristo, Él nos guiará y enderezará nuestro camino delante de nosotros. Sé que por medio de la fe en El y obediencia a Sus mandamientos, podemos superar cualquier desafío en nuestras vidas y calificarnos para la vida eterna. Sé que José Smith fue un profeta de Dios y que fue escogido para restaurar la verdad a la tierra en nuestros días. Sé que El Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios y que es evidencia de la veracidad de la restauración. Sé que ese libro es verdadero y no cabe duda en mí de que lo es. Sé que esta es la iglesia verdadera y que todo esto es verdadero y testifico de esto en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amén.
|The Elder San Diego welcoming committee!!|
|L to R: Dad, Me, Mom, Michael, Grandma Ching, Grandpa Ching|