Thursday, May 26, 2011

Families are the Best

Received April 6, 2011

Good Morning Everybody!

Wasn't Conference just amazing? I wish you could've seen all of the missionaries reaction on Sunday morning when all of us realized that the white stuff on the trees were not blossoms, but that, in fact, it was snow. I think my favorite view of the entire conference was when they scanned the huge pine tree, lightly painted with snow, standing next to the beautiful temple towering in the background. What a beautiful conference it was. The spirit was so strong in each and every single talk. How truly inspired it was. I couldn't get enough of it. It flew by! We had been invited to leave church building as quickly as we could between sessions so that we could get on the streets and invite those around the church to come and hear the Prophet of the Lord. With that excitement going on, I'm not sure that I've ever had a more thrilling weekend in my life. We got spiritually stuffed at the rich buffet offered in conference and then we would get out filled with fire as we talked to every single person that we saw. I loved conference! I loved all of the talks. Each and every single one was sent from God to me and I loved all that I felt there. From your emails it sounded you felt the same. So I am thrilled that you enjoyed it and I hope that it continues to bless your lives as it continues to bless mine.

Brenda was able to come to the afternoon sessions on both days. On Saturday afternoon she came with a friend. On Sunday she came with her family. It was interesting. On Saturday afternoon people are always a little confused when we start the sustaining of the officers. But luckily, at that point, we were in the process of changing from the Spanish to English room because her little baby wouldn't hold still. There was such a special feeling during the Saturday afternoon session. Brenda was loving every single minute of it and was eating up every single word. At the close of Elder Nelson's talk, she turned to me and said, "I'm convinced! This is it! This is the truth! This is what I have been looking for." I knew it would happen. There is no way that somebody can attend a conference session and not have the spirit witness to them that what they are seeing is truth sent from heaven for the blessing of His children. She told us a story of her first experience with us after one of the sessions.

She said that the day that we had found her she had decided that she was going to end her life. She said that she was ready to throw her car in front of a semi because she just couldn't take it anymore. She had gone as far as to tell her son that she would be doing that. She said she felt so lost. She said she couldn't feel God in her life anymore. She couldn't see Him. She didn't know what to believe or what to do. She said that as we were talking to the man who was next to her that she felt it. "Something told me that you were talking about, what you were saying, was exactly what I had been looking for." She said that the words that I had said to her when she approached us was exactly what she needed to hear. The spirit had spoken to her since that first day. And as she has exercised her faith, and taken those small steps, as President Uchtdorf talked about, she has come to know that these things are true.

Last night we taught her entire family about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She won't stop about her baptism this Saturday. She is so excited and already has it all planned out. But we wanted to help the rest of the family see why she was going to be baptized. As we talked about the example of Jesus Christ and the things that he invites each and every one of us to do, and as we discussed the baptism of fire and by the Holy Ghost, the spirit was there and it was so strong. Everyone in the room testified that what we had taught was true, including her father and her son. We found out yesterday that her son, Manuel, has decided to move down to Ponce to be with his mom so that he can come to church with her and find the path that God wants for him.

It has been such a miracle to be able to witness how finding the truth about her Heavenly Father has changed Brenda's life. She went some through really hard things on Monday, but I saw a completely different person this time. She went through it with her head held high. She knew that whatever was going to happen would be for her good and that God's hand was in it to lead her and to guide her. The spirit has done that to her. And it has come as Elder Bednar talked about, like a sunrise. It has come little by little. And as she has decided to act upon that it, the knowledge of the truth continues to grow. Now she is so convinced that this is the truth. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who reveals the truth to each and every one of His children. I am so thankful for that love that He has given me. I am also thankful that I have been able to feel it every single day for the past year and half. I know that He lives and I know that He sent His Son to die for us. Every mission requires you to leave something behind, to sacrifice something major in your life. Just as Elder Andersen talked about. Jesus Christ gave that ultimate sacrifice for us. His mission required the ultimate sacrifice. Sometimes I feel pitiful for whining about the kinds of sacrifices that I have gone through. But the miracles that I have seen and the spirit that I have been able to feel has been worth it all. My mission means the world to me and I wouldn't change it for all the treasures of the world. If any of you are doubting about going on a mission, please, kneel and ask your Heavenly Father to guide you and then go to work. You will be amazed at what He will bless you with.

The Galarza family had some real car difficulties this past weekend and they weren't able to make it. I am a little worried about them. Nelly is so sold on going to the temple. Its the only thing that she wants for her family. Last night we passed by and told her to watch the talk given by President Monson about temples and about sacrifice. We are hoping that will help them wake up a little more and that they will start pushing a little harder to that baptism on the 16th. Please keep them in your prayers! We are going to need that help every single step of the way.

We had a really neat experience with the Rivera family. For the past week I have been having the scripture in 3 Nephi 9:13 run through my head over and over. I was searching for when I could use it. For whom were these promptings intended? We went over on Monday night for their Family Home Evening and we sang "Families Can Be Together Forever." We talked about the temple and we talked about how in Spanish the song says that we need to prepare ourselves "desde hoy" to be able to be ready to enter into the temple. We talked about how they had made that goal since the very start. Alexia said that she felt terrible because she had slipped up a bit, then it hit me, that scripture was for her. We read it, and it seemed to turn on a light. She saw how, even though when we mess up, the invitation is the same. Repent and come unto me so that I can heal you. We talked about the conversion process and we invited them to apply the principles that we had learned in the conference to their family so that they would still be able to go to the temple. I had been pleading for weeks to know what was up with the Rivera family. They just felt like they were in a funk. But Alexia understood exactly what she needed to. The spirit taught her. The Savior doesn't require us to never screw up. He requires us to do our best. But when we do screw up, He is there. It was so special to be able to learn that principle along with her and to have the spirit confirm that to me as well.

He lives. I know He lives. I feel His love every single day. I hope that you all have a great week and that you know how much I love you and care for you all.

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes. You have no idea how much it means to me to know that, after all of this time, you are still there. That you are still thinking of me. And that you still love me. I love you guys so much!

How much I do I love you too. I just wish I could help you to feel it more than an email. But I know you know that. I love you!

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