Friday, September 3, 2010

The spirit is the Key

July 28, 2010

Good morning Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your emails and your letters this past week! Your love and your support are answers to my many prayers for strength so thank you so much for all that you do. You are the angels that are around about me to build me up and I will forever be grateful for that!

It sounds like Trent and Shelby had a great week at EFY! That is so cool that they were able to go together. During the second day of our conference the mission president's 16 year-old daughter came in to share her testimony with us before she herself left for EFY. It was cool to think that Trent was there this past week and that she was going to be there this week. Anywho, I hope that Trent and Shelby had a great time, as I am sure that they did. EFY rocks!

Anyways, to answer a lot of questions that you had about the conference this past week, here it goes.

The conference was just incredible! We met together every day for four days to talk about the things that our mission president learned during his mission president conference in June. The church has developed a new program to help missionaries focus on some principles from Preach My Gospel that we aren't doing as well as we should. Things like inviting people to be baptized, teaching by the spirit, teaching the people and not just the lessons, and helping people to receive revelation through prayer and study of the Book of Mormon. Principles like that. Its nothing new and its nothing that our mission president invented on his own. Its a new type of training and a change that the church wants to take place world-wide and we are one of a few missions that are trying it now.

It was such an amazing experience to be gathered together with all of the leaders in the mission along with the mission president, Before the conference started I had read in Alma about when Captain Moroni. Teancum, and Lehi had a war council to discuss the strategy that there were going to use against the Lamanites. The meeting that we had this week felt exactly like that and the spirit that we felt and the things that we learned through the spirit were just incredible.

One of the things that I love about President Alvarado is that he understand his role as a teacher. Its not just to pump us full of information but to create an atmosphere and to prompt thinking that will help us to learn from ourselves. It was an amazing four days and I know that there is not a lot I can say that would give it justice other than it was four full days of working and learning by the spirit. Each day we talked about and practiced the principles then each night we would go out and work to apply the principles that we had learned. Elder De Leon spent the week working with the other elders in another area while I worked with another district leader, Elder Trejo In our area. Elder Blandon and his companion, Elder Turner, also worked in our area.

We had some incredible experiences. The first day of the conference we talked about the invitation to baptism and how we as missionaries need to teach the doctrine of baptism. We need to teach from the scriptures and then invite the investigator in such a way that our invitation will help the Spirit bear witness that what we are inviting them to do really is the will of our Heavenly Father and the Savior. We went and visited Angel on the first night and it was just incredible. The spirit was there and even though we had invited Angel before, he could feel that what were inviting him to do was the truth and what Heavenly Father would want. He accepted the baptismal invitation and we set the date for the 7th of August. We went by a few days later and once again he had decided to push the date back a little bit. The desire to change had us discouraged a bit but didn't take away from the spirit that he felt and that we felt with him.

After that we went to our Ward Mission Leader's home to teach his wife. When we pulled up to the house we talked about how we were just going to teach the doctrine and then if the spirit directed us to invite her we would do it. Her husband has been the Ward Mission Leader for four years and so as you can imagine many missionaries had given the same invitation. We read together from 2 Nephi 31 and the spirit was just incredible. As we were about to invite her to be baptized, the phone rang, and the spirit left. We sang a song and read some more scriptures and when we once again felt the spirit was back, we again attempted to invite her for baptism . . . and the phone rang again. We again read from the scriptures until the spirit was back and then we invited her to be baptized. She didn't say "yes" but the spirit that she felt was real.

We invited her to pray about it and she said she would. The next day the Ward Mission Leader told us what happened after we left. He said that she broke down with tears. He knew as well as we did that she had indeed felt the spirit and knew the message we shared is true. She has family pressures and is hesitant to take the step to baptism, but the experience that we had with her and the opportunity that we had to feel the spirit work with us that evening was just incredible. One of the biggest things we learned this week is that, that we need to be directed by the spirit in all that we do. And that night I definitely learned that without the spirit we are nothing. But with it, well that is the key. With the spirit miracles happen.

The conference ended on Friday night and now for what happened this weekend . . .

Saturday night we were out contacting looking for new families to teach. We contacted a young woman and her child. They are from New York and her child´s name is Heaven! It was an awesome contact and we asked if we could stop by on Sunday and she said that it would be fine. From the very moment I talked to her all I could think about was how much she needed to hear about the doctrine of the true gospel of Christ. I knew that if we extended a baptismal invitation as we had been practicing all day Saturday, things would go well. We went by on Sunday. It turns out she has had a lot of doubts about the Bible. Those doubts were expressed as concerns about the story of Cain and Abel. She was struggling with the reference in the Bible to the fact that after Cain killed Abel, he went to live with other children! Well where did the other children come from?!?!?!

We read in Moses 5 and talked about how this revealed scripture we shared is evidence of a prophet of God being called in our day. We then read from 2 Nephi 31 and taught the doctrine right from the scriptures. When we invited her to be baptized the spirit that we felt confirmed to me that it wasn't just us missionaries making the invitation. I felt as though it was coming to her from the Savior himself through the spirit that was there. She wasn't really sure so we invited her to kneel and to pray. She said a sweet humble prayer and as it ended you could see that she had received her answer. The spirit that we were feeling was amazing and we asked right then if we could return tomorrow and she said "you betya." We set a baptismal date for the 21st of August if she was prepared. I am really excited to see where Sonya and her family are about to go!

We had another great experience with our investigator Mary. She is Angel's wife and she has said from the very start that she didn't want to be pushed by us as we shared the gospel. We have been very careful about that but as we taught her the plan of salvation I could not shake the prompting that we needed to invite her to be baptized. We invited her and she said that she needed to learn more. We asked her if she had prayed about the message we were sharing and the Book of Mormon. She said "no." We invited her to pray right then and there, and we taught how to give a simple prayer. She is so filled with confusion and frustration because she has been looking for the truth for her entire life but felt she had not found it. We knelt together and she offered a sweet, simple prayer. As she prayed the spirit just flooded the entire room. As she ended the prayer I looked into her eyes and asked how she felt. I knew that she had received her answer because I could feel it.

The spirit was so strong and everyone there, including Angel, knew what had just happened. She began to cry. She knows the message is true! We asked if we could drop by the next day and she said "yes" without a moment of thought. We stopped by yesterday to talk a little bit more about what that feeling meant. It went really well. Angel talked about how grateful he was that his wife had no received an answer and he knew that she had. She is still a little hesitant but we are now leaps and bounds from where we were a couple of days ago.

So yeah, the conference went really well and we are excited to continue to apply the things that we have forgotten from Preach My Gospel. This work truly is the work of God, I have no doubt about that in my mind and heart. This church is true and it truly is directed by a living prophet and 12 apostles who receive revelation from the Lord and Savior Himself. How thankful I am to know that He lives and to know that this is the path that He taught so many years ago.

I hope that you all have a fantastic week! Once again thanks to all of you for your love and your support. I love you so much! Have a fun last week of July. School starts next month (if you can believe it!!!!) It's crazy how quickly time flies.

I hope you enjoy the attached pictures. That thing that looks like a kabob is called a Pincho. Its a kabob without vegetables and smothered in delicious sauce. Oh how I love Puerto Rican food!

I Love you all so much. I hope that you have a fantastic week!

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