Received March 9, 2011
Dear Family and Friends!
I love you guys!
I hope that all is going well for you back home. Brother and Sister Howe I am so sorry for your loss. I love you both so much and know that my prayers are with you!
I am so thankful for each and every one of you and all that you do for me! How blessed I am to have loving family members and friends like you who are always there for me! I love you guys so much and I hope that this week goes great for you!
I apologize if this email is a little short. We are running behind schedule today. We had some business to do with president today and this afternoon we are going to meet up with him and his wife for some tripletas (mmmm Puerto Rican heaven) so I hope that all has been well and you know how much I love you guys.
This past week was just an incredible week for us. Things with Elder Putnam and I are going great. He has so much fire and is so ready to get out there and learn and to be able to become the best zone leader that he can be. Training him to be a zone leader reminds me a lot of when I was training the Elder Martinez. You don't want to screw up and you realize once again just how crucial it is to rely on the Savior for your strength and not upon your own strength. If you rely on yourself you fail. And I have already been reminded of that a couple of times this week. But things are going just great and things are looking incredible for the zone!
This past week we had a great meeting with one of the Seventies in the area presidency. Elder Coleman came and we were able to sit down with him and discuss some of the things that are going on in the mission. But even better than that, we were able to sit down and hear one of the Lord's special witnesses teach the gospel. He talked about some really cool things. I wish that I had my notes with me but I don't. One thing that he said that has really stuck with me is when he talked about Doctrine and Covenants section four. He talked about how this revelation was given to the prophet Joseph Smith and it is intended for his father. He talked about how a lot of times in the church we see this section as a missionary section but in all reality it is for the entire world. Anyone who wants to come unto Christ and participate in His work is invited to come and is invited to serve with all of their heart, might, mind and strength. It was an incredible meeting and we were all so enlightened. What a blessing it is to live in a time when the Lord has living apostles and prophets on the earth!
As we left the meeting and got back to our area we had a huge miracle occur. We had a little extra time before our first cita and we went to a school to try and find some families. We found this couple and began talking to them. As we were talking to them we talked about the families and we read with them a little in the Book of Mormon. We invited them to listen to more of our message and let us come by. They politely said no. As we were ending the contact a lady who had been sitting down next to them started to walk by us. She handed me a business card and told me that she was really interested in what we were saying and would really like to know more. I think my jaw hit the floor. I was so shocked. She was contacting me?! What is this? This never happens. I am glad that I got my act together before she walked away. We stepped aside and I talked to her a little bit more. Her name is Brenda. She said that she has a 17 year-old son that she is worried about. She said that he is not into bad things but she saw us and she said that she knew that two young men like us must have been sent from God to help her out. She wanted to find out what we were all about. I handed her the Book of Mormon and told her that we would be by the next day to talk a little bit more with her.
We were so pumped to find that she lived in a closed urb of one of the strongest families in our ward. She lives right next to them! Every time I pass by the neighborhood I always drool because there are so many families on the inside but we can never get in because it is closed. Now that we have an investigator and a member family that live on the inside we might be able to spend more time there. ANYWAYS, we sat down and things were great.
The first things out her mouth were, "I am shocked, this book is incredible." She told us the story behind it all. She said that things in her life haven't been going that well and lately and she has really been doubting if there even was a God. She talked about how much confusion there is in the world and just how lost she is. "There are so many churches", she said, "God can't be the author of all of this confusion." She said that she prayed to God the morning that we found her and she asked God to show her if He was real and if so what He wanted her to do with what was going on her life. That afternoon we talked to her and gave her the Book of Mormon. She said that as she read it she could just feel God's love for her and she knew that the Book and our contact with her were the answer to her prayers.
We went on to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can bless our families. We mentioned baptism and she quickly asked "how should we get baptized?" We turned to 3 Nephi 11 and talked about the story of Joseph Smith and how that authority had been restored. We invited her to be baptized and she quickly said yes. We then moved on to the date and she had some trouble with that. We invited her to kneel and to pray and ask God if what we were teaching her is true and if to be baptized, at the end of the month, is what He wanted for her. She knelt down and offered such a humble prayer. As we left the spirit in the room was just incredible. It was a miracle. We had been praying and working so hard to find another family like her and the only thing that needed to happen was that God needed to lead us to her. She found us. Right when she needed us most. And I have no doubt that the hand of God was in the process the entire time. Tonight we are going to teach her with the rest of the familiy and I couldnt be more excited! I know that Heavenly Father lives. He answers his children's prayers because He answered the both of ours.
And that wasn't the only miracle that happened this week! On Saturday we sat down with the Galarza family and once again talked about the Sabbath Day. I remember the first time that we taught them about that commandment that there was so much opposition. There was such a change this time around. I am so amazed at the humility that has occurred in this family. We taught about the Sabbath Day. It was so simple. The spirit was there and it testified to them of what needed to be done. Raul said that he would have to work, but Nelly said that she would be there with the kids. Raul had always been the driving force behind it all so I was a little doubtful (sorry to say) that she would really show up. But sure enough the next day in church I looked behind towards the back of the chapel at 9:10 and there was Nelly with her kids! We went and sat with them and they were so happy to be there. It was incredible. That afternoon we passed by their house and talked about how they had felt during church. I brought up baptism and asked Nelly if she would get baptized she said yes! She said she knows that its what she needs to do. I invited her for the end of the month and she said no. She said that she wants to quit smoking and stay quit. She wants enough time to make sure that the habit is completely broken. We talked about the 16th of April and she said that would be a perfect day! After so long, after so many lessons, and so many prayers, we finally have a firm date with the Galarza family. There is still a lot to be done. But I know that miracles happen. I know that faith and love changes hard hearts and, more than anything, I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families in their times of need. I have seen a huge change in the Galarza family since we found them in October. I wish you could see it for yourselves. The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. How incredible it is to be able to help people live those changes.
Ramiro and Dalia are doing great. We will be teaching the Word of Wisdom this week and we are hoping that all will go well. They are up and down with the baptismal date. We had an incredible experience last week and we are hoping to try their faith this week to get them even more converted to the message. Keep us in your prayers. We need all the help we can get.
I love you all so much and I hope that you have a great week!
Trent! I hope that you have a happy sweet 16! I can't believe that you are now going to be driving and dating. Whatever happened to that sweet Jr. high kid that was at home when I left? Have a killer birthday bro! I hope you know how much I love you and how blessed I am to be your brother! Don't party too hard!