September 1, 2010
Good Morning all!
Today is September 1st. School started at BYU on Monday? I just cannot believe that it is already time for school and football again. I hope that this week has gone well for all of you! I hope the first few days have gone smoothly for those of you who have had school. Mckay, I hope that the move goes well and that you were able to make it safe and sound to your new home in California! Good luck man I hope everything goes well with the new job!
Oh and good luck to Jonny Harris! That is so cool that he is already off to the MTC, that is so cool. Where is he going? Wherever he is going I know he'll be great! Good luck elder!
Anyways, I am sure that you are all wanting to know what happened about the hurricane, so i will tell you! We woke up on Monday morning and ran to the store to get some last minute stuff like water and non-perishable food. We came back and during companionship study it got really dark and began to rain really hard and there was a lot of wind. It was on and off like that all day. We were out working and we actually had a lot of people to talk to. We also had a great way to start all of the conversations so it was sweet. Anyways, President Alvarado told us that we had to be back into the house by 6:30. The parts of the hurricane that were supposed to pass by us were supposed to come at about 8:00. Our power went out at about that time, but nothing more. I woke up once in the middle of the night and it was raining, but went back to bed without a problem. We woke up yesterday and things were back to normal. The sun was shining and nothing had really happened. So thanks to all of you for your prayers! We were sure blessed to not be hit big time by the hurricane. So thank you! I heard there is another storm coming so we'll see. I know that it is really scary to have a hurricane pass by, but the other Elders and I kind of want to see what its like. We also want to have a few days to just get out and serve. But I'm good with staying out of natural disasters for now. So no worries. All is good with Elder Oviatt. Paradise is still paradise.
As for the work that we did this past week things went really well. We received some great blessings and had some great experiences. I know it was because there were prayers going out for us so thank you so much for all that you guys do and for your love and support.
On Thursday Elder Martinez and I pulled over to talk to a pair of guys that we both felt we needed to talk to. One of the guys just started to rant and cry and talk about how he wasn't sure if he believed in God. He said he doubted because he couldn't see Him and he couldn't feel Him. He talked about all of the bad things that he was doing and how hard his life was. It was really sad to hear all of that and as he finished talking a question popped into my head. So I asked him, "what are you doing to look for God in your life?" He was silent and his friend just sat there looking off into space and said that is a really really good question. We had a great opportunity to be able to teach him a little from the Book of Mormon and King Lamoni's dad and how he had to give up all of his sins to know God. My companion just gave a solid testimony about some of the times that he had been blessed in his life. The spirit was so strong and the man knew that we were servants sent from God to help him find the path again. We asked him if he was ready to give up all of his sins to know God and with tears streaming down his face all he could do was nod. The spirit was touching this mans heart and he was teaching him something that we were not able to. It was such a neat experience to be part of. We were led to that man and then the spirit basically taught him through our efforts and helped our new friend William see what things he could be doing differently in his life so that he could feel more peace during these hard times.
Like I told you a couple of weeks ago, Elder Vinas came to Puerto Rico and we talked about how we can better build up the church here in the island. After that conference we went to our bishop and asked him what we could do to help in our ward. He gave us a list of names of some families to go visit who had gone inactive. On Sunday night we went and visited the Torres family. As we yelled his door, Brother Torres walked out and the first thing I noticed was the garment shirt that he was wearing. The first thought that ran through my mind was why in the world was this man not in church today? Why in the world have I not seen this brother in my time here in Vega Baja? After talking to him for a while we came to find out that he and his wife were both really strong leaders in the church but have gone inactive for some reason.
As we began the lesson I was just amazed at the love that I felt between all of us. The spirit that we felt in his room was just incredible. We talked about the sacrament and why we take the sacrament. We read in 3 Nephi and talked about how the promise that we receive in the sacrament helps us to become sanctified and clean with the help of the Holy Ghost. He kept saying over and over about how he was the one who needed help after all of these years of helping to rescue other members. It was now time for him to be rescued. In the short time that I have been in the mission, I have never felt more that I had been sent here to talk to this man. We strongly and powerfully told him of the need that he had to be in church and the need that the ward had for him to be in church. We invited him to come back and he said that he would do it when it was time. I looked at him straight in the eyes, and i said "Brother Torres, NOW IS THE TIME!" We sat there in silence for what felt like an eternity and he said, "OK, Hablare con mi esposa" (I'll talk to my wife).
I left that cita with a feeling that I had never felt before. I still get the chills every time that I think of the lesson that we had and the things that we talked about. I honestly feel that I knew him before and that I was sent here at this very time to find him and help him come back. It was an incredible experience and one that I will absolutely never forget. I know that God loves us no matter what we do, no matter how bad we screw up, no matter how prideful we are. I am amazed at how His hand of mercy is always extended to His children no matter what.
Last night we had another great opportunity to visit with Deborah, the recent convert who had moved away from our ward and been lost for a long time. I can't remember if I told you about her last week or not but we were miraculously led to her last week. We talked to her last night about coming back to church and helping her kids prepare for what is coming in the world. She said that there was no doubt that she would be in church on Sunday and that she knew that she needed to be doing this to help out her two sons. The member that was with us made a comment about how being this example to her sons is going to have an effect on her great grandchildren. My mind went to the pioneers and how the pioneers were like that. The first generation members, who did not understand 100 percent what they were doing, but they could feel that what they were doing was right. And they knew that what they had come to know to be true was something that was going to bless the members of their family for generations to come! It was a really cool experience.
Angel is coming along still. We are stuck at a wall with baptism but he told us yesterday that, without a doubt, he knows that this is the true church and that the Book of Mormon is true. He has been to church for about 10 weeks straight now but is just a little hung up about getting baptized. I love this man with all my heart and I would love more than anything to see him enter the waters of baptism. I'm not sure if I will "live" long enough to see that day but I know that he is going to be a leader in this ward in the future. I am so thankful that I have been able to know him.
We had a missionary sacrament meeting this Sunday. Three of the missionaries spoke in sacrament meeting and it was just awesome. Anyways, I had a way cool experience. We are currently working with a part-member family. The mom and the Grandma and the children are members but the dad is just a crazy guy. It is hard for him to give up the street life and the party life. Anyways, we have been teaching them for a few weeks and on Sunday we taught about the sabbath day. He told me that he wasn't sure if he could come to church because he was sealing his roof. And he couldn't leave the stuff in the rain so he really needed to get it done before it rained. I looked him in the eyes and I said "Waldemar, I can promise you that if you come to church tomorrow, it will not rain." Surprisingly, I was not nervous about what I had said. I had the firm faith that what I said was true. It wouldn't rain and I knew that if we needed a miracle would happen.
Sure enough, we woke up and it was a beautiful day. Church started and Waldemar wasn't there. I was a few minutes into my talk when Waldemar walked into the room holding the hand of his son. It was a great experience to see this great man entering the chapel with his family, leading his son by the hand. I felt right then and there that this family was going to be an eternal family. Someday it was going to happen and I was so thankful that I got to have that connection on Sunday.
I love you all so much. Thanks for your love and support. They say there are letters for me in the office so thank you for your letters and love from home!
I hope all of you are doing well with school and stuff now that school is back in full swing! You're all in my prayers, especially my friends starting school!
Good luck with everything. Lemme know that Mckay made it to California OK! I hope everything goes well for you buddy. Let me know how your first few weeks go! Good luck Brother! I love you!
I love you guys so much! Enjoy the fall! My favorite time of year!
Changing leaves in the mountains and hurricanes in paradise! Have fun!