Utica, NY

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry CHRISTmas!

Hello family!
This email will be kept short since I would like to catch up on sending personal emails to you, since I feel extremely guilty for not responding in weeks!
I would like to tell you about a tender mercy that I was blessed to witness this semana.
This week, I was a bit discouraged since many of our teaching appointments were cancelled. I enjoy talking to people in the streets, but I LOVE teaching appointments, just because I am madly in love with the spirit I feel while teaching people. After feeling rather upset about what wasn't going on in my week, I thought of Ether 12:6, the scripture about "receiving no witness until after the trial of your faith." So, during my nightly prayers, I pleaded for an increase of faith and that I would recieve some witness after that trial of my faith that I would have some kind of experience that would rekindle my faith in the work here in Albany. Friday night we had the opportunity to teach the Yarleque family, the family from Peru. Maritza, the Matriarch of the home has a baptismal date, but her husband, Christian is still struggling to know what the spirit feels like, and feels he hasn't recieved an answer that this is God's path for him. They come to church regularly and they both believe the Book of Mormon is true, but Christian doesn't believe that there is one true church. At the beginning of the lesson, we were prepared to share the story of christmas with them and watch the good 'ol Joy to the World DVD, but ended up spending over half of the time answering Christian's questions about the Book of Mormon, more specifically, Lehi's vision of the tree of life. I LOVE it when investigators ask questions they have about the Book of Mormon because it shows that they are reading and really want to gain a testimony of it. When the time was right, Elder Hougaard asked if Christian believed the Book of Mormon was the word of God. Christian said yes, and that it almost replaces the Bible because the "the Bible is so outdated." I laughed, and explained to him how the Bible and Book of Mormon support each other, that both are the word of God, and that God will always give us new doctrine, whether it be by his prophets or by books. Then I felt spiritually prompted to share the scripture about God being the same yesterday, today, and forever, but couldn't remember the exact reference. I ended up opening my scripture quad DIRECTLY to 1 Nephi 10:18-19. I was absolutely amazed. It was no coincidence that God would show me that he cared that I shared this scripture. I may be exaggerating, but I found this to be a miracle and an answer to my prayers.
I have no doubt in my mind that Christian will choose to accept baptism. Not because I was somewhat experiencing a spiritual "high" at the time, but because he said he thought he felt the spirit in that meeting with him. He really is diving into the Book of Mormon now that his semester at the University at Albany has ended. I'm so excited for the day to come when I get to see the Yarleque family in white.
The mission isn't easy. There are many discouragements, but the miracles outweigh the discouraging times. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the lord's work. I feel honored to wear our lord's name over my heart these two years, and to help people to find out the true meaning of christmas and the beauty behind it. I know that there is a light at the end of every tunnel we feel trapped in. Always. In the words of morrisey, "There is a light and it never goes out."
As Jeff Ramos, my favorite Dominican, always says, "Love, Peace, Chicken Grease"
Elder James Kunzler

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