I hope you all had a great Easter weekend. Mine was pretty great. We visited Dione who lives with a few members of the Branch along with her husband. She is a great lady. She used to be really involved in a church. Her Dad was a pastor and she went to church every Sunday as a kid. She has two kids so she has been super busy juggling kids and work and hasn't had much time for church. She says that she misses it though and would like to take the lessons. She is great and seems to have a lot of desire to learn more. After we finished our lesson with Dione, she had to leave and pick up her kids from school so we stayed for a little bit and talked to Adam, the really cool 10 year old who introduced us to Dione. He is the funniest kid ever, but he is going through a hard time. We asked how he was doing and he said, "Not too good, I am kind of scared of my Dad." They have had some difficult times with Adam's dad, Saul, and it was really sad to hear a 10 year old boy talk about his dad's problems. Saul's is a really sad story. After talking with Adam, Saul's mom (Adam's grandma) talked with us about what was going on. Saul had Adam when he was really young. Ruby (Saul's mom) says that Saul was a great kid when he was younger, but when they moved to Lake LA he started to hang around the wrong people. Little by little he started to drink a little and later he tried marijuana and would sneak out to go to parties. Now, he has serious problems from years of heavy drug and alcohol use. She says that it is so hard to see when she remembers the kid he used to be. Saul just recently bought illegal drugs with the intention of giving them to his son, Adam, to try. Ever since the grandma found out, she has been thinking about making Saul move out. Ruby is a great lady and a great mom. She has been taking care of Saul and Adam for years and has gone through a lot watching her son give up. It is so sad to see how just a few bad decisions can drastically change the course of your life. It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures from the Book of Mormon in Helaman 5:12 that talks about if we build our foundation and lives on Christ, when the Adversary tempts us and tries to make us miserable, we won't fall. I know that is true. We visit Adam almost every day just to check in on how he is doing and to make sure he is alright. I feel bad for the poor guy. It is heartbreaking to see a ten year old boy be afraid of his dad. We will keep visiting him. Please keep Adam and his dad in your prayers. Regardless of the mistakes Saul has made, it is never to late to turn to the Savior and get his life on track. We might give up sometimes, but Jesus Christ never gives up on us.
Victor and Dulce are both doing well. The sister missionaries have been visiting Dulce a lot and she really likes their visits. We have had a couple of visits with Victor as well and he is doing great. He is still unsure about whether or not he will need to move to Columbia, but we will see.
This weekend we had General Conference, so we spent a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday at the church watching the Prophet and Apostles of the church speak via satellite. It was really cool. It is one of my favorite times of the year because they give a lot of great talks and I learn a lot. This time, conference seemed to be focused on families. I thought that was a really good theme. Families really are such an amazing blessing. One of my favorite talks was by an Apostle named Jeffery R. Holland. He is one of my favorite speakers and he gave an awesome talk. He told the story of two boys who were climbing a cliff side together. When they got to the top, they realized that they wouldn't be able to make over the top of the over hanging ledge and neither would they be able to go back down the way they came. The older brother was able to push the younger brother up over the ledge and to safety, but the older brother was left stranded. He knew that his only chance would be to try to jump to the ledge, but he also knew it wasn't likely that he would make it. He told the younger brother to go look for something to help bring him up, so that he wouldn't have to see him fall. The older brother later jumped and held onto the ledge only to find that the top of the ledge was covered in sand, without anything to hold on to. He quickly began to slip and realized he was going to fall, when two hands grabbed his and pulled him over the ledge. His younger brother knew what he was going to try to do and stayed so that he could help him when he jumped. Elder Holland went on to talk about how our relationship with the Savior is very similar. We are all imperfect and we sin. In a way, we are all falling. But through the Savior's atoning sacrifice, he catches us. He saves us from falling and lifts us up. We are all sinners, but because of Christ we can all be made clean again. I thought that was a really great story with a good message, especially for Easter time when we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. This is a time when I am reminded how grateful I am that God sent His son to save us. I hope all of you have the opportunity to listen to that talk. I am sure you can find it at lds.org. I hope you all had a great Easter! I am so happy to know that we have a Savior who we can always turn to, who lifts us up when we fall and who will never leave us!
I hope you all have a great week. Take good care.
Elder Chad Thompson