Received February 16, 2011
To my Family and Friends:
I hope that you all had a great week this past week. I also hope that you were all able to have a very fine valentine's day on Monday. It was fun to be here for another holiday. It was a great chance to be able to get out there and to talk to all of the families that were out and about. That's one things that I love about this island. The family is a huge part of life and on days like we had on Monday they take every chance that they can to be together.
We had a some huge blessings on Monday night. On Monday afternoon we went out to start to work in a new part of our area. We have moved the sisters to a very humble part of Ponce. President Alvarado said that he sees them opening a new branch there in a few months just in that little part of Ponce, so we took the area that they were covering and divided it between us and the other two elders in our ward. We were lucky enough to get all of the houses out by the ocean. I say lucky not because of the beauty, but because there are so many humble prepared people who live out there. We went to see this really neat couple that we had talked to a few days before. Their names are Peter and Barbie (yes, that is her real name). Anyways, we were really excited about the appointment that we had with them because they have kids and they live right next to another family from our ward. Anyways, we showed up and it looked like they weren't home. We yelled out and then we walked on to the next appointment that we had feeling a little sad that they were not there when we were supposed to teach them. As we were walking down the street, we heard some man start to yell and whistle. We thought "what is all of the ruckus about" and there, at the end of the street, was Peter waving at us and telling us to come back. As we were walking back they started to pull out all of the chairs so that we could stay and talk to them for a while.
When we got there he told us what had happened. "We were about to leave," he said, "so I thought I would just let you keep going on. But as you left, I felt something tell me that 'no, I needed to listen to you guys,' so I called you back. And so here you are." We spent a few moments getting to know them before teaching a lesson. It turned out that Peter had been in the street for a lot of his life and had been doing things that really he didn't want to do. He has been trying to get out of it all. We talked about the family and he talked about how much his family means to him. We talked about prophets and about God's plan for the family and how families could be together forever. Both their eyes lit up when we told them about that. We continued talking to them and when we talked about how prophets help us to come to know God more fully, Peter said "THAT! That right there, that is what I need right now!" We testified to him about the power of the Book of Mormon and about the words that are shared therein. We left them with copies and they told us to come back whenever we could. I'm amazed at the hand of the Lord sometimes. This is a special family and I am so excited to be able to keep working with them.
After the cita we were walking back to our apartment. I pulled out my phone and noticed that I had like eight missed calls, all from one of the district leaders in the zon, and one from one of the assistants to the president. My heart began to race as I thought about what could have happened. We were finally able to reach one of the Elders that had called us and he said that his companion had been hit by a car while riding his bike and that they were on the way to the hospital. He said that it wasn't very serious but that they just wanted to get to the hospital to make sure that everything was OK. The missionary that got hit lives with us. He's the new Elder from Honduras, Elder Zepeda. I stayed with him for the rest of the night while Elder Varner and his companion went back to the apartment to get some sleep. It was a fun valentines day in the hospital. We were able to talk to a lot of people who were there. I am amazed at how diverse we are as children of God. We were there for a while so we got to talk to a lot of the couples that were there as well. Each and every one had a different story and they had different challenges. I could see how much God loved them and how much He had blessed them. It was a huge testimony builder to me that God truly loves and knows each and every one of us so perfectly. I am so thankful that I was able to feel of that love as I talked to all of those people.
The next day was the flood. We all awakened at 6:00 to get out the door and talk to all of the families who are out and about at that hour. Yes, believe it or not, they are out at that hour. I was with Elder Zepeda and we worked out the all of the insurance stuff for his hospital visit. After that, and for the rest of the day, we were able to work with the other Elders and Sisters in our zone. All 20 of us were here in Ponce. It was such a great day! All of the sets of missionaries working together were privileged with miracles meeting and teaching people. We were privileged to see some great miracles and changes happen in the hearts of some of the missionaries as well. We all came together in a spirit of unity and we all left uplifted and edified by the experiences we had. Some of the missionaries that we have been working with to uplift and inspire, were able to be uplifted and inspired as they just forgot about themselves and went out to work for their Savior. It was such a great day and we are going to be doing it every Monday and Tuesday from now on so I am sure that we will have some great miracles to share in the future.
Ramiro and Dalia weren't able to come to church this past Sunday. They had a death in the family, their uncle. So they were out with the family this weekend. It means that they won't be baptized on their scheduled date but that's OK. They are experiencing the power of knowing the plan of salvation and it is blessing them greatly. Tonight we have another cita with them and we are looking to get back on track with the baptism.
I love you all and I am so thankful for all that you do! I know that God loves us and I know that both He and His Son live!
I hope that you have an amazing week this week. Write soon!