Friday, September 3, 2010

Hope you had a good 4th! Finally, Preparation Day

July 7, 2010

Good morning family and friends,

It's a little different to be writing you on Wednesday but that's just part of the change that has occurred in my life. So yeah, from now on I am going to be writing you guys on Wednesdays! I'm not sure if that will change when we have transfers or not. I will let you know as that gets closer but for now, you'll hear from me on Wednesday. Needless to say this past week was a long week between p-days -- a great week, just a long one. Sometimes we really just need a day to prepare, and so bienvenidos dia santo, hoy podemos descansar.

Thank you for your emails and for your love and support. I hope that you had a fantastic 4th of July weekend and that you had fun "burning money" as dad always likes to say. I should tell you though you should be thankful that you all get to do that. Here the people don't celebrate the 4th the way we do. To be honest, the people could care less why the had a free vacation day. And people honestly didn't know why, but they were all really excited to not have to work! The beaches were packed this weekend. That's how the Puerto Ricans celebrate our independence. Somebody told me that the Independence Day for the island is on the 25th and if that's the case, there will be a HUGE party so we'll see when that comes.

But yeah, just a little info for those of you who wanted to know what they do here. But thanks for all of your letters and your emails. Its great to hear that everyone is doing good and pushing on!

We had a really cool week this past week. On Friday we had a meeting with the new combined mission and the new mission president. We were all there early in the morning as we will be for all of our meetings from now on. And after studying for a while President Alvarado walked in and we all stood up. It was great to hear a nice friendly "buenos dias!" He walked about half way up the aisle and then invited his family to come with him. I don't know if I told you this but President Alvarado is pretty dang young. He served in the seventy and still has 3 kids living at home who are 16, 12, and 7. So there will definitely be a different feeling to the mission compared to how it was with the other mission presidents who were both retired with grand-kids out the wazoo.

The meeting was absolutely incredible! We sang "Love One Another" in Spanish and then President Alvarado got up and said "lets sing it in English" and it just brought chills. The meeting was incredible! We are now putting a new focus on the families in our mission and we left that meeting fired up and ready to go. President Alvarado has a ton of fire for the work and I am so excited to get to work with him. He's already started to do a lot of good things and I have seen a lot of blessings coming already from what he has been inspired to have us do. There are going to be miracles brought about here in Puerto Rico during the next three years and I am excited that I get to be a part of it.

One of the new things that we are doing is focusing more on the Proclamation to the World on the Family and how it ties into the lessons that we teach as missionaries. It has brought a new aspect in the way that we teach and I have already seen and felt a huge difference. We teach to the hearts of those who allow us and not just to their heads. The spirit is doing incredible things.

We had a really neat experience this week with a lady named Janet. Elder Moran and I had taught Janet last transfer but the lesson didn't go all that well. We tried to schedule another appointment with her but she said "no, just come back whenever you are in the area." We were working over there on Friday and all of our appointments fell. I had a prompting that we needed to go talk to her again. When we arrived she was outside and she invited us right in. We sat down on her porch and decided to get to know her a little better before we dove into the teaching. It turns out that she is going through some really hard times with her 22 year-old son who is living at home. He is stuck in the house with some really serious medical problems. She had to move back from New York to take care of him and she has been asking "why?" a lot lately. This gave us direction in our lesson with her and she really liked what we had to say. The lesson went smoothly and the spirit was so strong. The lesson was reaching her heart and it wasn't because we were doing crazy spectacular things. The spirit was reaching her heart and working miracles.

By the end of the lesson she had a really strong desire to read the Book of Mormon. After we gave her the Book of Mormon we committed her to be baptized and she said yes. She said that she knows she needs to follow Christ and do those things which He asks her to do. We were both so pumped! I'll admit it. I was a little shocked that she said yes but I know she has a desire to have the answers to her questions and the truth in her life. It added to my testimony once again that these are God's children. He truly does have a plan for all of us. We knew of this plan before the world began and God wants us to be able to know this plan now. I know something touched Janet that day. She had heard these things before and her spirit was recognizing it. It was incredible to a part of such a neat experience. Truly, as I have said before, this is the work of angels.

An update on Rafeal -- we extended a baptismal invitation to him on Saturday. The lesson was incredible! He loved the plan of salvation and kept saying over and over how blessed we had been to be raised in the gospel with this knowledge. That we were with God before and that we have a purpose for being here. We invited him to be baptized and he said, "I was already baptized in your church 30 years ago. I don't need to get baptized again right?" After talking a little bit more with him, sure enough, he had been baptized before. We all had a good laugh about that. I'll admit I've never invited a member to be baptized before. But it was still a really neat experience. We changed the lesson a bit and talked about the need to come to church. He's been inactive forever and is now looking for the truth. He committed to come to church this Sunday so we'll see what happens!

Angel is doing great. We had a lesson with him and his wife this morning and they are both reading the Book of Mormon. Angel was talking about what he had learned in the first few chapters of Nephi and I watched Mary, his wife, as he was talking and she was so interested in what he was saying. They are both so happy now that the restored gospel has entered into their lives. Not that they weren't happy before, they are some of the nicest people that I have ever met, but there is just a peace and light in their eyes that wasn't there before. We are still working on a baptismal date with Angel. I think he is waiting until his wife catches up in the lessons with him. She didn't want to listen to us until the last couple of weeks. She is reading in the Book of Mormon and loving every word! She has so many good questions and really wants to learn. I can see so much potential in this family and I can feel the love and desire that God has for them to become a forever family. I hope that I am here to be able to see their baptism because that is going to be an incredible day. But if not, I am so thankful that I have been able to hang on for the ride.

An update on the family who was in the accident -- their children are both in the hospital and are still in critical condition. The little boy has lost his memory completely has no idea who his mom is and doesn't even remember who he is. The little girl had surgery and sounds to be doing a little better, but things are still pretty bad. The mom, dad, and older brother are all out of the hospital now and they came to Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. They are still covered in bumps and bruises and the dad was having a hard time moving around with his broken ribs, but the testimony meeting was just incredible. The mother and grandma of the boy who died were also there and it was just really neat to be able to soak in the spirit and the love and truth that was shared during that meeting. The grandma of the boy who died said that the only way they could have gotten through this past week was with the knowledge that they have of the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ. She talked about how we need to let the whole world know this message because when these hard times come in our lives, everyone deserves to have the knowledge that we do. It was just a really special meeting, and although it was a complete tragedy, it has been a really neat experience to be able to see the effect that it has had on this ward and how they have come together to help and bless these two families. Just like any fold of the shepherd should do.

Anyways, we continue to work as hard as we can, and the Lord is blessing us in more ways than we can imagine. I realize that summer is in full swing and that it is a busy time for all of you. I want to thank you so much for the love and support that you have still shown me! I am so blessed to have such a great support system as you guys are. You are the fuel to my fire so thank you for all that you do.

I heard the Netherlands won yesterday! GO ORANGE! You know it baby! I may not be in the islands there, but my team is going to take it all.

Don't worry. I'm still set apart from the world :) haha!

I love you guys with all my heart! Have a fantastic week for me! Enjoy the summah!

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