Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hope it was a Happy Mother's Day

Received May 11, 2011

Dear Family and Friends!

I hope that all of you wonderful mothers and grandmothers, wives and daughters, had a fantastic Mother's Day this past Sunday. It was such a sweet experience to be able to talk to you mom! I love you so much! It was great to hear all of your voices. You all sound like you are doing so great and you are really excited for what is to come in the future! I hope that the rest of you had a great day as well and that all of you mothers felt appreciated and loved.

Mom had an interesting question in her email today. She said that it was the Mexican Mother's Day yesterday and that in France they will celebrate it in two weeks. She asked if it was like that here in Puerto Rico or if it was just the same as the states. Because of the influence of the US here, most of the holidays are the same. So when you have Labor Day there, we have Labor Day here too. So Mother's Day was on Sunday. However, the area where I am currently serving is full of Dominicans and so . . . they celebrate on the last Sunday of the month instead of the second Sunday of the month like we do. Just a little tidbit of info for y'all. And sorry mom, as much as I would love to be able to call you again that day, they aren't going to let us do that. But know that I love you nonetheless!

This past week was great for Elder Zenger and I. We are still trying to find some solid families to get this new unit going in the San Juan area, I have never worked so hard in all of my life. We are all giving it all that we have and I can't wait to see the miracles that are going to come of it all. Some of the families that we are working with have fallen a bit but our faith is still high and we are going to keep moving forward knowing that the Lord is going to bless us.

Mom and dad and Fam, I told you this story on Sunday but its a really good one so I am going to repeat it for you and everyone else who did not hear it. This Sunday, for the first time in months, maybe even a year, we had the Antigua family return to church. I'm not sure if I have told you about them but last week during church, we left to go and find those that had committed to come but who did not show up. We got to their house and we asked them what time it was. We pointed out that we weren't in church and they asked us why we had left. And we told them that we left church for them. That the Lord had sent us to find them. Elder Zenger and I have come to realize that we don't have a lot of time to beat around the bush. There isn't a lot of time for us to gradually help people see that they aren't keeping the commandments we just have to tell them they are not and challenge them to do it. But make sure that we do it in the most loving way possible. We talked to them about how wickedness never was happiness and the spirit was very strong as we spoke. We showed them in the scriptures the blessings that await those who keep the commandments and that some blessings are not available to those who don't. We learn so much about humility, enduring to the end, and exercising our faith to follow Heavenly Father that will bless us with more peace and joy in our lives if we keep the commandments. That hope, confidence, peace, and joy may not come to us to the full extent available of we fail to keep the commandments. This is the blessing that we fail to obtain when we are disobedient to the commandments and the covenants that we have made. At the end of the lesson they committed to come back to church. After the commitment I asked the Hermana, "why do you want to come back to church?" And she said, "I don't want to lose my family." I guess when the truth is understood it changes behavior.

We were so excited we couldn't keep our excitement down. As I mentioned, one of the families that we are working with informed us that they would be moving back to the Dominican Republic. That had us a little down but we kept up our faith. We knew that we had been doing all that the Lord had asked of us and that He was going to bless them. The next day we passed by a family that we had talked to last week, the Luna family. They are such a solid family. They are a great mother and father and three just incredible kids. A lot of the youth here in Puerto Rico are kind of lost. They aren't really sure where they are going and they aren't really sure who they want to be. But this family is "just spot-on." They know what they want and they are looking for it. We sat down with them on the first night and shared with them the Proclamation to the World on the Family. They loved it and had all sorts of questions about eternal families and how our families can be together forever. We talked a little about Joseph Smith and about how the power and authority had been restored in our day because our Heavenly Father loves us and wants the best for us. On Sunday we went back and shared a little bit more. We talked about the Book of Mormon and they were all so excited to read it. We told them that it was the key to knowing whether Joseph Smith was a prophet and whether the gospel of Christ did indeed provide that our families could be together forever. We are going to pass by once again tonight and we know that the meetings we have had have been filled with the spirit and that they are seeking the truth with real intent. Things have been going great and its going to be just incredible. Even though we took a hit with the loss of the Espinal family, we have been blessed to have the opportunity to find a truly prepared family. Keep them in your prayers. At this point in the game we are running a two minute drill and there is not a lot of time to waste, so yeah. We need all the help that we can get.

Yesterday we had a really neat experience with this man named Fernando. He is a Seventh-Day Adventist. We had passed by on Saturday and he told us that he was going to be getting baptized soon. We asked if we could share a message about baptism. He said that he wanted to ask his Pastor first. So we went back yesterday he said that his Pastor said that it would be a waste of time, that we didn't believe in Christ and didn't preach the truth. You know all of that distorted jazz that seems to have misled even the best of us. Anyways, we asked him if we could still share a quick message with him and he invited us in. For those of you who know me, you know I like to argue and I like to win, It was hard for Elder Zenger and I to both hold back with this man but we tried our hardest to insure that the spirit was there and to love and teach so that it would stay with us. We talked about the Savior for the entire time and talked about how we were there to help him come to know the Savior more fully. At the end of the lesson we had covered the restoration and had done so without a single bit of contention. Knowing who I am inside at times, and my tendency to want to win the debate, I was shocked at our ability to let the spirit teach the truth to this man's soul. Our words would have been so inadequate alone, even though they were right.

At the end Fernando said, "I have one thing I want to tell you." He said, "I have felt the Lord here with me so strongly today as you have been here. I want you to know that I am going to keep working towards baptism. But I love what I am feeling and I want you to come back anytime that you are here because I would love to feel what I am feeling again." We testified to him that he was feeling the spirit and that it was testifying to him about the truth. We walked away and I was so happy. Fernando probably didn't understand. In fact, I know that he didn't understand completely what we had explained to him. But he had recognized the strong spirit that was present which was testifying to him of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. And he said that he wanted to feel that more in his life. This is exactly what we are here to do and we couldn't be more excited that we swallowed our natural instinct to become defensive and refute the untruths that were told Fernando by his Pastor.

I know that this is the work of our Heavenly Father. I know that He loves His children and I know that we are constantly being guided in his work to those who are looking for the truth but only don't know whwere to find it!

I love you all so much! I hope that you all have a fantastic week!

Wish me luck as we head off to Tortola . . . Oh yeah . . . I forgot to tell you. I'm off to Tortola. If you have questions, Dad will tell you what's up.

Adios mis amigos,

Les amo un monton

Tu misionero Favorito

Elder Oviatt

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