Sent November 3, 2010
Buenas Tardes A Todos!
I hope that you all are doing great! It sounds like you all had a great Halloween weekend and you were able to get lots of good sweets! Has it snowed again? Or did you get lucky? I really hope that everyone is having a good time. I can't believe that is already November. I am so shocked by that, its Christmas-time again! I felt like it was just yesterday that I had been sent down to Aruba for the holidays. And look, we are already a year later now. Holy cow!
This past week has been a crazy week for us. I don't think that we slept past 5:00 am. But this week was a great week. It was filled with successful meetings and training. We had a lot of good fun and we also learned some incredible things that we are excited to apply in our zone and to keep things moving the way the Lord would want. I mentioned transfers last week but I'm not sure if I told you who my new companion is. His name is Elder Varner and he is from Salt Lake City. He has been in the mission about the same amount of time as Ian and Cody and all of them. Its been a fun experience to try and teach somebody how to be a Zone Leader after having been a zone leader for just a month or so. But God is blessing me so much with the things that I need to say and do. Its also such a blessing to have Elder Turner there in the apartment to help us out when we can talk each evening and in the mornings before we all go out and work. Thank you so much for your prayers! I can feel the extra strength and the pure blessings that are coming from you the prayers guys offer for me and I am so thankful for that. I love you guys and I will be eternally thankful for all of the love and support and prayers that are constantly being sent my way, I hope you know that I return the same and I love you and I am always praying for you.
This past week we had some incredible experiences. On Sunday afternoon we were walking to a cita and we met a man named Raul who was about to leave his house. We were blessed when he let us in to speak for a little bit. We talked to him for a little bit and he invited us right in. We sat down and something just seemed wrong, He looked like something was really weighing him down. It was strange because I have never been able to detect that in somebody before. Anyways, we asked him what was going on in his life and he told us that he had just lost his job of 20 years and wasn't sure how he was going to manage things. He said he was really doubting everything in his life and felt so lost about why God would allow something like this to happen to him. We opened the Book of Mormon and asked him to read Mosiah chapter. He read two scriptures and the spirit filled his heart. You could just see in his eyes that the spirit had spoken to him and had taught him a simple truth as only the spirit can do. He couldn't stop asking about the Book of Mormon and he couldn't stop telling us about how good he felt when he read and how that scripture was speaking to him. We left him to read the rest of the story of the people of Alma.
When we passed by last night he told us that he had absolutely loved it. "The book is incredible!" he said. He told us of how he had just got done reading a bunch of religious books and he also felt so empty while reading them. He told us that when he was reading the Book of Mormon he felt like God was talking to him. He felt like he was learning things that God wanted him to know. He was so fascinated with what he had read. We asked him if he believed that the book was true and without a doubt and he nodded his head and said "yes." We invited him to be baptized and, on the spot he accepted without a doubt. I have never had a more sure baptismal commitment in my entire mission. This man is solid. From the very first time he had read the Book of Mormon he was filled with the spirit and he knew for himself that what we were sharing with him was coming from God. I have never felt something so good. It is wonderful to explain the pure doctrine of Christ to someone and to see in their eyes that they know what they are hearing is true. You can see in their eyes that the spirit is testifying to their soul that what we are telling them comes directly from our Heavenly Father and that what we are trying to share with them is being confirmed by the Holy Ghost, you can see the testimony is growing within him.
The spirit was incredible last night when we met with them. It was hard to leave because we didn't want to with the spirit so strong, But what has happened was so sweet. A loving Heavenly Father reached out to one of His children in need and helped him to feel His love and helped him to understand exactly what he needed to do to get back to him. Raul was ready. He had a heart that understood and he could not deny what the spirit was teaching. His baptismal date will be on the 27th, and tomorrow night we go to set baptismal dates with the 5 other people in the family :) Oh, how grand are the blessings of the lord!
We are also working with some incredible youth right now. One group that we are working with is a group of friends ages 16 to 19. On Monday we were teaching them about the plan of salvation and why Jesus Christ needed to do what He did for us. Why He had to suffer for our sins and die for us. We also taught what it is that He requires of us to be able to return to live with Him once again. I love this part of missionary work. Being able to invite the spirit into people's lives and help them feel more clearly the love of the Savior and help them understand the importance of what He did for us. We can also teach exactly what it is that He requires of us. We talked of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how the doctrine of Jesus Christ is simply that we follow him/ "Follow me, and do those things which ye have seen me do." One of the girls asked what it was that we had to do. We were able to testify of our own baptisms and our own conversion experiences. We then invited her to do the same. We had no doubt what she would say . . . she couldn't say no. We knew because the spirit was there and we could all feel it burning within our hearts, and we could see it in her eyes. We could see that everything in her mind was starting to click into place. She was experiencing the same feelings about the same gospel that she had known and been taught before this world. These thoughts and feelings were returning to her and I could see that she was remembering what she used to know! She too will be baptized on the 27th. Her sister and her friend still need to work on their testimonies, but in no time they too will have their own baptismal dates and they will be on their own path to following the Savior.
Last night we were able to pass by and see Andres once again (that elephant of a man). We read with him when Nephi sees Lehi's dream and we talked about the interpretation. We talked about the iron rod and how the scriptures lead us to partake of the love of God. This is the key to experiencing the atonement of Christ being filled with that joy that cannot be taken away. At the end of our conversation his wife came home. It was the first time that we were able to talk to her since she seemed to avoid us before. But last night she wasn't able to get by us :) When she came in, Andres explained to her what we had been talking abou. He said it is important that people in the vision just took it little by little and kept diligently moving forward toward the tree. They just needed to keep moving forward and not worry about the things that were going on around them. They needed to keep their sight on what matters most and hold to the iron rod. It was such a sweet experience to be able to take that same principle and talk about the families. We talked about how, a lot of times (especially right now in this world), people and their families become so concerned about everything around them that the lose sight of what is most important. There are a lot of distractions available to us in the world and and these are things that can take us away from what truly matters most. But if we look towards the tree of life, and we put our sight on what really matters most to us, - like for example, being together with my family forever. Then if we endure to the end and continue holding to every word of God that we can receive, we are going to get there. It was amazing to see how Andres basically told his wife the key to success in this life and in the life to come. I know that what he said to her is true. God wants our families to be together forever. As long as we don't lose sight of that and we focus instead on the things that matter most. The blessing of being a forever family will come to us as we diligently and faithfully work toward that goal.
I hope that was not too preachy to you but it was an insight that I had last night that really touched Alexia when her husband was sharing it. She accepted to take a Book of Mormon and read it with her husband starting that very night. Tomorrow night we have another appointment with them and we are really excited to invite them to be baptized as a family and get started on the path to together forever,
I love you all. I am so thankful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We are blessed to understand the pureness that has been restored to us about the Atonement of our Savior and the blessings that are in store for us if we will only listen to what He has asked us to do, and then follow Him. I know that the family is ordained of God. The concept of a family united together to learn and live the gospel comes from him. I know that exaltation is the reason why Christ suffered for us. He wants us to be together forever. I love him for that! I know He lives and I know that this is His work.
I love you all and I wish you the best of luck in this upcoming week!
Your loving friend, brother, and son, forever!