Received December 15, 2010
Dearest Family and Friends!
Thank you so much for your emails this past week. It was so great to hear about all of the fun things that are going on in preparation for the holiday season. Thanks for telling me about Preston's farewell. It sounds like it was quite the spirit packed meeting and he sounds like he is full of that new missionary fire that we all love so much! It was great news to hear that he has made that step and is going to get out here! I am so excited for him and know that he's gonna do great!
It sounds like it looks nothing like Christmas back at home which is too bad. But hey, hopefully you'll get a Christmas miracle and it will start to snow. That's crazy that it got up to the 60s this past week . . . that is the temperature at 5:00 in the morning here . . . and I feel like I am going to die! I bet it feels incredible to you guys.
Dad, yes i bowed down to you. Congratulations and being declared that much more intelligent after having taken a few classes (hahah!). But really, congrats! And making it through those finals. And I am sure that many of the rest of y'all were busy with finals and last minute work of your own. I hope you know that I was praying for you guys that all would go well. I hope that you did great on your finals and that you are experiencing that feeling of freedom that comes after completing another semester of school and surviving finals week.
As for things down here, things are going absolutely great! We were so excited after the lesson that we had with Andres and Alexia last week. They went through some days of really bad headaches from their withdrawals but the kids were great and very patient with their parents. They are telling us that they feel so much better this week. They said they were absolutely shocked about the effect that coffee had on them. Alexia, has gained such a strong testimony of the message that we share through this experience. The principle in Ether 12 was so true for her this past week. She endured her trial of faith! She endured all of the pain and discomfort and at the end came a great testimony of the principle that we are asked to live! She is doing just great.
The road to their baptism this Saturday has not been without opposition though. We passed by the night after we had taken their coffee and their drinks and Alexia was happy to see us. Whe had doubts about whether she would be ready for baptism on the 18th. She was truthful with us which helped us because the spirit was able to guide us to know what to do. It turns out that her mom is not liking this change in her daughter's life well. Her mother is a very traditional Episcopal lady and she really doesn't want her only daughter to join another church. Alexia told us that her mom has been saying a lot of stuff to her and to Andy that have been discouraging towards their baptism. One of the things that she told Andy was that his Godfather wouldn't be his Godfather any more and that made him really sad.
We told her how much confidence we had in her and how we all had a great evidence of her faith the last week when she decided to do what God asked of her. We testified to her that the message we shared was true and it's truthfulness was evident in the changes that she has seen her family, especially in her husband. We left feeling great and we left knowing exactly what the spirit wanted us to teach when we came back.
We went back on Sunday with a member from another ward here in Ponce. The member had taken Andres to church over 15 years ago. At that time Andres had just started teaching and was still not married nor had kids. His friend heard his story of how he had always been looking for the truth. Andres told us that he had loved the church when he visited but for some reason or another had stopped coming. Anyways, it was really neat to be able to go by on Sunday with this member and see the look on his face as he was able to see the fruits of his labors. Even though he had planted that seed 15 years ago, it was just now starting to take shape and grow into a tree that is going to produce fruit for eternity.
We were able to explain clearly the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of baptism. The spirit was able to clear up all of the doubts that Alexia and Andy were feeling and as we knelt to pray on Sunday, Alexia told us that she was ready and exited to get baptized with her family on Saturday! It was hard not to let the excitement and gratitude Elder Varner and I felt interrupt the reverence of that prayerful moment. We were both so excited and grateful that we had been blessed to be part of this experience!
We passed by last night and the opposition is still there and growing stronger. But Alexia is so strong! She told us that she knows why her mom is doing what she is doing. But that she (Alexia) knows that this is what our Heavenly Father wants for her and she is not going to back down from the commitment that she has made!
SO ITS OFFICIAL, this Saturday there is going to be a blizzard in Ponce! And we are so excited to be able to see this family go into the waters of baptism. I wish I could have you guys feel what I feel. I love this family so much. The process, all of the things that we have gone through these past few months, has been an incredible experience for me. Every time I see them I seem to feel the love that their Savior has for them. I can feel how important this message is because it is the only thing that's going to allow their family to be a together-forever family. I love this family with all my heart and there is nowhere else I would rather be than right here with them. Andres told us this past week of how the message has filled a hole in his heart. He said he was sick of hearing that its a mystery of God, or a mystery of the bible. He said that every time he hears the word restoration, his heart starts to beat faster and faster. He knows that these things are true and he is so excited for the baptism of his family!
It is going to be a great weekend and we are so excited for the things that are about to come forth here in Ponce. I wish that I could tell you more about this week, but while I've been writing this I have had to answer four hone calls and take care of some problems in the zone. I love you guys and I am so thankful for all that you are doing for me. Your prayers are felt and I want you to know that you are in my prayers just as I have felt your prayers for me.
I probably will not be emailing next week because we will be having a Christmas conference as a mission. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I want you to know that I know for myself that over 2,000 years ago, a babe called Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem. I know that child was, is, and will forever be Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World! He was born to bring to pass our immortality and our eternal life. He lives and He loves us with a love that I have still yet to comprehend. I know that He was born for us! That He lived for us, That He died for us. And most of all, I know he was resurrected for us! I know He is the Lord, the very Christ, the savior of all mankind! He has us engraved on his hands forever and I will be forever grateful for what He did for me. I love Him and this Christmas season there is nothing else that I would rather be doing than being in His service.
I wish you all the most Merry Christmas that you can have!
Have a great Christmas! It will be great to hear you again!