Sent February 2, 2011
Thank you so much for all of your letters and emails this week. It was so great to be able to hear about everything that is going on back at home and all of the fun things that you are all up to! It sounds like school and work is now back into full swing. I'm sure it feels like you have been back into full swing for a while, but life back here is now starting to fully pick up once again! I can't believe today is Groundhogs Day. In one of the emails I received somebody mentioned Groundhogs Day. This morning one of the other missionaries sat down with us to start studies and he commented on how Groundhogs Day was today. I told him that I hoped that we would get six more weeks of winter because this winter has just been great.
Everyone talks about how cool it has been down here and I get what they are saying! Aruba was so hot last year. Here it dips down into the 60s at night and I feel like I am about to die. Anyways, I hope that you all have a great day and that you can keep enjoying the beautiful weather that you have up there!
Dad, I hope that you have the most happiest birthday that a dad could have! I am sure that you guys will be able to find a fun way to be able to celebrate the day so I hope it is a good one for you! I just wanted to send my birthday wishes and wish you a happy 35th! I can't believe that you are 35 now! Pretty soon you will be 40 and then who knows what will happen! :) Don't feel too old dad.
Anyways, this last week has just been a great week for us! Ramiro and Dalia weren't able to come to church, but don't worry, they had a good reason. When Ramiro didn't show up we left church after Sacrament Meeting to see what had happened to them. We saw Ramiro at his house and he told us that he had received a job offer earlier in the week to start working for a company rather than working for himself. He told us that he was really sad and worried about not being able to come to church but, then he told us the best part.
"I know that I had to miss church today so that I could finish up all of the projects that I have to finish this week. But when I start my new job on Monday I will be able to only have to work during the week. So that means that on the weekends, on Saturday and Sunday, I will be free. Which means that on Sunday I will be able to come to church with you every week!"
It was a very bittersweet moment for us but by far, more sweet than bitter. We missed them this week but we are looking forward to having them in church with us every Sunday from now on. We stopped by on Monday night and Ramiro talked about how he had stopped by his old church the other day and was feeling confused. He said that he felt good there, and he asked why they both couldn't be true. It was an excellent opportunity to really hear his testimony about the Book of Mormon and about some of the experiences that we had experienced with him. He told us about how he could feel in his heart that the Book of Mormon was true. He said that he knew that we had been sent to him from God. We talked about how the day we had found him we had been led to him and how when we talked to him he had told us that he wanted us to come back because he had started to read in the Book of Mormon. We talked about the changes that were occurring in his life and the changes that he was feeling on the inside. By the time we were done with that conversation, there was such a neat spirit in the room and we were so thankful that we were able to see and experience that testimony of his. We still have some preparations to make but he is looking more and more prepared by the day.
The Galarza family had a huge swing this week. Things are starting to get really hard for them. Raul still hasn't found a job. They are just passing through a rough time. We went by last Wednesday and we sat down to talk with them. Elder Varner had the impression that we needed to talk about fasting and so we went for it. We talked about the power of the fast and blessings that come from fasting. They both happily committed to fasting and Nelly asked if we could do the fast the next day. We did it the next day and I was amazed by the change that had occurred in them.
Elder Varner and I have been pushing really hard to find a great family like the Rivera family, but our efforts are coming up short. But it seems like all of the blessings that are coming are being sent to the Galarza family because the change of heart that we are seeing in them is just incredible. They are now consistently praying as a couple and I am starting to see a huge change in the happiness in their marriage. Even though they are passing through an extremely hard time they are hanging in there together and they are trying to build their faith together. We went by on Saturday night and they told us of all of the miracles that they were receiving, not about physical miracles, but about spiritual miracles things that were occurring in their lives that they could tell were coming from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Nelly had looked up temples on mormon.org and she was so excited about what she had found. We talked about baptism and how that was the first step to start moving towards the temple. For the first time in our visits with Nelly she said that she would like to be able to be baptized with her family. She said that she still wants to learn everything and that there is a lot of time and preparation that needs to happen. But we asked her if she would start to prepare to be baptized at the end of February and she agreed to do so! We were so shocked and so happy. I don't think you can understand the frustration that we have felt with her. We have been trying everything to get her on board with her husband so that the rest of the family could follow. Her husband needs her and she needs him. This family needs each other! They have great faith and I know that they want to be together forever. That's the only thing that we want for them too! It's hard. Sometimes you just want to rip open their eyes and their ears and scream! WE HAVE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR! WE HAVE WHAT YOU NEED! JUST LISTEN! But even if we could do that, it wouldn't work. But the spirit is working on them. As they continue to realize how much they need it the spirit is working with them. There is still so much work that we have to get done with them but we are looking forward to seeing this family moving towards baptism together!
We found a great new family on Monday. We talked to the father on Sunday night. He told us that he would love to learn a little bit more but that he already had his church. But he liked what we were teaching him about the family and being able to together forever. His name is Jose and he lives with his son named Nestor. Jose is in his late 50s and Nestor in his 20s. They both go to church. For some reason, as we sat down with them, the first thing out of our mouths was baptism. We had learned that the son had been baptized just a couple of years ago. It seemed like it was a subject that they had been thinking about for awhile. As we continued talking it was incredible the way the spirit guided Elder Varner and I through the lesson. We got out of the lesson and we both said to each other, "what got into you? You were asking questions and saying things that you have never said before in your life." I don't know why, but for some reason, the spirit was so so strong during that lesson. We continued to talk about baptism and we turned to 3 Nephi 11 to talk about it a little more. Jose read it and loved it. He just kept reading. It was a really neat lesson and although they didn't accept the invitation to be baptized, they were really really interested in the Book of Mormon and in what they had felt while we were with them. The lesson was a miracle to us. It has been awhile since I had felt so guided during a lesson. It was such a blessing. I know that this message is true. And I know it by the same source that you all know. It's because the spirit has testified to me that its true. And I am so thankful for that testimony.
I love you all and I hope that you have the best week that you can have! Thanks for all of the love and support that you give me. I hope that things start to warm up where you are!
Write soon! I love you guys.