Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet and Sour

September 8, 2010

Good morning Family and Friends,

We just got done with tropical storm Gustav. It sounds like there are 3 or 4 more storms heading our way. One developed in the Gulf of Mexico and moving backwards? Elder Baines said that somebody told them about that storm yesterday and we are a little baffled by it. Anywho, thanks for all the prayers. I know that we will continue to be protected no matter what! So thank you for that.

Thanks, tambien, to those of you who wrote me this week. Your letters were peace to my soul. I hope you know how much your support means to me. No matter what happens, especially between us as family and friends, I will always be grateful for the support and will love you all forever . . . no matter what. You can count on that. Hope everything is going well for you guys! You are all in my prayers!

Anyways, this past week was been just an awesome week. Elder Martinez and I are on fire and we are working as hard as we can to bring about a great work her in Vega Baja. We have received some great blessings this week and had some great experiences. It was just an awesome week.

We had a really neat experience with one of our new investigators, Nelson. Nelson was a referral from the ward that is adjacent to the western boundary of our area. He lives in a city really close to that ward building, but his home is within our boundaries. Anyways, he lives in Florida which is about 45 minutes away from the chapel here in Vega Baja. We only had a phone number to contact him. We tried calling him a few times but the nice man on the other end started to get a little annoyed telling us that we had the wrong number! Anyways, luckily, Elder Bailey had been the one to give us the referral and he accidentally called him. Nelson said that he had been waiting to hear from the missionaries and he was so excited to finally be talking to them again. Elder Bailey set up a cita with him for Friday at his work in Vega Baja, and so on Friday we went.

When we talked to him we found out that he had lived in another city in our area where a pair of missionaries had been assigned a few years ago. He lived just a few houses down from the missionaries and had talked to them a lot. He was never able to progress towards baptism because he was studying and working two jobs at the time. He just never got around to doing those things that he needed to do to progress. He called the Arecibo ward asking them how he could get in contact with the missionaries again. We went on Friday and it turns out that his favorite topic is the Joseph Smith story and the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We had a great lesson with him talking about a loving Heavenly Father who has once again revealed the truth in our days. We discussed the doctrine of Christ and invited him to be baptized on the 9th of October. He told us that he knew that he wouldn't be there on the 9th. He said "I'm not going to be here on that day, is it alright if we do it on the 15th?"

Elder Martinez and I were just so pumped about having this blessing that all we could do was nod our heads and try to keep our grins from looking too goofy. We were so happy! We have had a great transfer together and we have learned so many lessons together. This was a blessing in answer to our prayers. It truly was something that we both needed and we believe Nelson was sent to us by our loving Heavenly Father. There is still so much work that has to be done with Nelson, but he told us that he had heard about the Joseph Smith story and had seen the video of the restoration. He knows it is true and he said that he is willing to do whatever he needs to do to follow Christ. he wants to feel that peace that comes when we know that we have followed the path that He showed for us. We have a cita with him tonight and we are both really excited to finally get back to teaching him. It has been a week and this time we are going to go search for his house in the mountains. Pray for us. We are going to need all the help that we can get.

We continue to work with some great families in our ward who have gone a little astray. We had the great opportunity to be able to teach the entire Torres family this week and it was just another great lesson. We taught about the restoration of the gospel and they absolutely loved it. Their grandchildren were there and some of them are not members. It was such a sweet blessing to be able to see these two less active grandparents explain the Book of Mormon to their grandchildren and doing a fantastic job. Their testimonies are just so strong. I'm not sure why they stopped coming to church. But they have the goal to get back and they have started to do those little things again that are going to help them get back to where they were. It's just sad to think of all that they have lost in just these few years of being inactive. All the lessons in church. All of the conferences. Everything has been missing from their lives. That is two years of spiritual growth that they will never get back. But the beauty of it is that God still loves them and wants them to be an eternal family. As they are willing to change and humble themselves, He is willing to forgive them and bless them with that incredible blessing of being sealed as an eternal family.

We also had a great experience with another family with whom we are working. Last week Elder Martinez and I were looking over the ward list and we noticed a family that lives in the area where we have recently moved. As soon as we read their names we both felt so strongly that we needed to go see them. We stopped by that afternoon and the mom answered the door! She was so thrilled to see us! "Elders! Wow! It has been so long! How are you?" We were both a little shocked by her reaction but we were both very happy to receive it. It turns out that the missionaries used to live in this family's house in an apartment in the back. When the missionaries moved they kind of lost all contact with the Church and stopped following the Lord as they had been taught. Apparently they have been inactive for a while. Anyways, the mom was more than willing to have us come back and share a message with them. We went by Monday night. As we sat around the table I felt that same kind of spirit that I felt when we were in the home of the Torres family. It was so incredible. We sat around the table and each had a copy of the Proclamation to the World. We read it and talked about God's plan for the families and how our families can be together. We discussed temples and it was such a sweet experience to be able to testify to them about eternal families and the joy and peace that comes to our families when we share that knowledge together. They had signs up all over their house. The signs were to help them keep peace in their home. They are looking for peace and it was so special to be able to think that the only thing that was truly going to bring peace to their lives and to their homes was for them to get back on the path that Christ has prepared for each of us and our families. They need to return to that path and qualify to make the covenants for their family to be sealed for time and all eternity. I love this work! I especially love this part of God's plan for us. Families are forever! It is as simple as that! That is what God wants for us. I am eternally grateful that I have been able to have that knowledge my entire life. What a sweet and precious blessing it is to know that no matter what happens, if we are faithful, we will ALWAYS be together.

I want to close by sharing my testimony. This week has been full of up and downs for me, I have had some of the best, sweetest experiences of my mission this week. I have also had some that made me suffer in shock and unbelief. But through it all, there has been something constant there, something that has been there my entire mission. The love of my Savior and the comfort of His spirit. Jesus Christ is my Savior. I love him with everything that I have to give. There is nothing else that I would rather be doing at this moment than to be in His service. He has been there for me every step of the way, even when I thought that no one else was there. He was! And he loves me, and every one of us, with a love that we cannot comprehend. I know He lives! I know that through Him, we can all be forgiven, for whatever we have done in this life. Through our Savior, we can find that strength, that peace, la plentitud de gozo, that each and every one of us searches for dia tras did. He lives and loves us. And this is His work. How blessed we are to all be a part of it.

I hope that you all have a fantastic week. Please know that you are in my prayers always and that I will love you no matter what happens between us.

Your eternal friend,

Elder Oviatt

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