Thursday, May 26, 2011

Its beginning to look a lot like conference!

Received March 30, 2011

Buenas Tardes a Todos!

Espero que se encuentran Bien, Todo esta bien aqui!

I hope things are going well with all of you back home. Grandma and Grandpa, thank you so much for the email and the story about President Albrecht. That was a really touching story about them having to feed all of the missionaries and having more than enough food! Wow! I am sure all sorts of miracles are happening over there. I am glad to hear that everyone back home is safe and sound.

This has been a crazy week for Elder Putnam and I. We have a lot on our plate. But God is guiding us through it all and everything is going to turn out just fine. This week we moved apartments. So if you are going to write me for now just send it to the mission office. Anyways, so things are a little crazy right now and because we had to clean out the apartment today and close it things are a little tight, so I apologize if this letter isn't the best. But I hope you know how much I love you and how thankful I am for your love and support.

We are having conference fever right now on the island. I have never seen so many people so excited about conference before. We have been listening to conference for weeks and, we too, are also really excited for whats going to come this weekend. Some of the most excited people would probably be the Garcia family. Brenda and her kids. The first time that we taught Manuel last week we told him about conference and invited him to start on planning to come. It turns out that he has spring break this weekend so he is going to be down here all week with us. On Monday Brenda called us and she told us that she wanted to have a family home evening with her and her parents. When we were there she excitedly told us that Manuel would be here with her the entire week this week and that she wanted us to come by and teach him all of the lessons. I thought "how in the world are we going to keep coming up with creative ideas to be able to teach him and his brothers and sisters?" But we have felt the spirit guiding us as we have been pondering and we have received some great ideas from heaven. We are really excited to get teach all of the lessons to them.

Her father is doing great. He is still reading in the Book of Mormon daily and is really excited for conference. When we taught him the first lesson he told us how he had kind of lost confidence in God and in churches 30 years ago when he saw something awful in his own church. He said that he thought that the truth wasn't on the earth. But when we told him that the prophets and apostles would be speaking to the world he was so excited. Brenda keeps asking about her baptism on the 9th. She is ready to start moving onto the temple. We are hoping to get Manuel on board as well. And soon . . . grandma and Grandpa will be following. The most incredible part about this whole process has been the change that we have seen in this family. When we first found Brenda she just looked lost. She looked like she didn't know what more she could do. She looked like she didn't know where to go. She didn't know what God wanted for her and she was just lost. But as we have been passing by, and as she has been studying the Book of Mormon and praying, I have seen the influence of the spirit in her life. I have seen her situation start to transform right in front of our eyes. She knows who she is. She knows what God wants for her and her family. And she knows what she can become. The restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today. And it is true! It changes our lives and I know because it has changed my life. I feel it every single day - changing me as it is changing those around me. I couldn't be more thankful to be a missionary right now and to be able to feel that changes that have happened in my life.

This past week we had a really neat conference with President Alvarado. It was a training meeting for all of the leaders in the southern part of the island. It had a lot to do with the fundamentals of Preach My Gospel. We are really pushing on getting these fundamentals to be a fluid part of our teaching because all of the new missionaries that will be arriving soon in the mission are learning them right now in the MTC. Anyways, we talked a lot about the basic lessons and the doctrine behind the basic lessons. It was an incredible meeting! An incredible opportunity to see just how simple the restored gospel is. But at the same time, how perfect it is. It is so obvious that it has come directly from our Heavenly Father. There could be no other way. The next day we had the opportunity to go out with the district leaders and try it out. I was with one of the companionships and we went to see one of the families that they were teaching. We talked about what we could share with them and the overwhelming feeling came that we needed to teach the plan of salvation and that we needed to have them pray about it at the end. We had one of the most incredible lessons of my entire mission.

The mother on the family was asking questions left and right, citing references to the Bible that I had to write down. But every time we taught another principle, she asked a perfect question, and through the spirit her doubt was resolved. At the end of the lesson we could all feel it in our hearts that what he had just talked about was true. We invited the father to kneel down and pray and he gave a beautiful and humble prayer. The spirit was so strong! We didn't want to leave. But we got out of there quick and left them to feel the warmth of the spirit in their home. My feeble description may not male it sound like that big of a deal, but for this companionship i was really hoping to apply all of the things that we had learned the day before. We learned that we would have faith-building experiences together and that we would be able to become even more converted to the gospel together. I had been praying all day and I was starting to get a little discouraged because nothing was going on. But, at the end, the answer came. God answers the prayers of His children, I have no doubt about that in my mind whatsoever.

On Sunday we were out searching for families and we talked to a young grandmother who said that she had some youth in her home and she thought that they would love to hear what we were sharing. We told her that we would stop by on Tuesday and that was that. We went on Tuesday and I was a little surprised to find that she wasn't home yet. It seemed like such a solid contact. As we started to leave she pulled up with her youngest granddaughter and said, "wait! Don't Go!" We sat down with the family of seven and had such an incredible first lesson. The spirit was there and it was guiding us. We were so focused on the teenagers that there was no way for them to get distracted. It was perfect. At the end of the lesson the grandma commented that she could feel God there with them. She knew that what we had told her about the restoration was true. At the end, when we gave them their copies of the Book of Mormon and we invited them to read, the grandma said that she knew already it was true. "I am going to read it, but I know already that its true. I am so glad that you came over." The youth are all great and they are exactly what we need right now. Hopefully, soon we can get them coming to seminary with us and we can start to get a solid future built up here in the ward.

I love you all. I am sorry that I have to go. But I want you to know that I know that this is the work of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and I know that it is only through Him that we will ever have the chance to be truly happy in this life. How blessed we are to be a part of His church today and what strength it will be to hear His words this weekend spoken through His apostles and prophets. I hope that you all have a great conference weekend and that together we can have our faith built even stronger!

I love you all with all my heart. I hope that you have a great day and week . . . and an incredible conference weekend

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