Travis' Mission

Travis' Mission

Monday, January 16, 2012

Basketball with Garifunas

This week was another fantastic week.  I really am so grateful for the opportunity to be here on my mission.  I feel like i am learning and growing every day.  I love spending all of my efforts in the service of others.  So many wonderful things happen each day, and there would be no way to be able to explain everything.  Just know that i am trying to enjoy every single moment and making every moment count.  I have so much love for the people here, and i am doing everything that i can to bring the light of Christ into their lives so that their lives can be changed forever.  It is amazing to see how much this wonderful gospel can change the lives of others, and i am so grateful for the opportunity to be a servant of God and bring His children closer to Him. 
Me and my companion have been working really hard this week to talk to as many people as we can.  By talking to everyone we can and also by following the spirit, we have been able to find many knew people and families to teach.  we are really focusing on finding and teaching families because the gospel truly blesses families a lot, and through this gospel and Jesus Christ families can live together forever.  Also the motto for our mission is "Bautizar y Retener Familias" (baptize and retain families).  But we have found some really cool families that i am really excited to teach them.  One family we found yesterday is like a golden family, and they are really ready to hear to gospel of Jesus Christ.  Another Family named Hector, Mixa, and Hector Jr, who we have been teaching for 2 weeks is really cool and asked many questions.  We had a wonderful spiritual experience while we taught and testified about Joseph Smith and the Restoration.  I really love this family so much, and i was really hoping that they could get baptized.  Just yesterday we went over their and the dad told us that he looked up the word "Mormon" on internet (which isnt good because Satan has a lot of control over the Internet).  He said that he found some really bad stuff about the church and wants nothing to do with us and the church.  We did everything we could to change his mind by testifying with power, but he was very closed and doesnt ever want to see us again.  I have so much love for them and i had great hopes for this family.  When he told us that my heart was crushed, and i cried because of my overwhelming love i have for them.  I love the people here so much, and i want so bad for all of them to feel the wonderful blessings of this gospel.  But some people are more ready than others, and we just have to plant the seed and hope for the best.  All i can do is do my best and share my testimony with everyone, and they have their agency to chose to follow the spirit.  All i can do is love them with all of my heart and let the spirit and Jesus Christ do the rest.  I am so grateful i can love and serve the people here, and i have learned so much from them. 
Like i have said before, there are many black people here (whom i love very much, especially because they have soul power, speak Spanish, and speak their own language).  These people are called Garifunas, and they are awesome.  The other day many appointments fell so we didnt have anything to do.  There is a Garifuna field were there were many people playing soccer and basketball.  I wanted to try something new and have fun, so we decided to go to the field and contact as many people as we could.  We were talking to a few black guys watching basketball, and i straight up challenged them to basketball and told them if we won that they have to go to church.  They got really excited because they think they are really good because they are black, and because they have never played white kids before.  So they got ready and they cleared everyone off of the court so we could play 2 on 2 half court.  everyone on the field stopped what they were doing and came to watch.  We were there only light people there (not even Latins were there, all black power).  So me and my comp in our white shirts, ties, pants, and dress shoes played 2 black tall men that play ball every day all day.  Long story short we played them and pretty much showed them how to play ball.  They were good, but we were fast and knew how to work together (maybe because we are always together and know each other very well).  After 2 games of showing them whats up, the crowd went crazy and were very surprised at how good we were.  But us white crackers in our church clothes beat them in basketball.  we then got the whole crowd together and told them who we were, told them about the restoration, and invited them all to church.  None of them came to church, but we were able to talk to a lot of people and have fun at the same time doing missionary work. 
Overall, i am doing amazing, i love being a missionary, there is no other place i would rather be, and i have never been happier in my life.  This work is so amazing, and i love it so much.  I love preaching the gospel and seeing how this gospel changes the lives of the people that i love so much.  Thanks for the prayers and support.  Here is a quote that i found this week that really helped me, and i hope it helps you too. 
"Do you want to be happy?  Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause.  Lend your efforts to helping people... Stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down.  Live the gospel of Christ."
-- President Gordon B. Hinckley
I Challenge you to do whatever you can each day to love the people around you and to serve them as much as you can.  When you serve others, you are really serving your Heavenly Father.  As you serve others you will find more joy in life, be happier, and you will notice the so many blessings the God gives you each and every day. 
Elder Travis Jay Ward

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