Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Rainy Season is Here!

Received May 25, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope that you are all doing just great. It has been a wet and rainy week this past week here in Puerto Rico. I think you could say that we are in the rainy season. It has rained really hard for the past week now. And it has been raining for a few hours already today. It is so beautiful and it feels so amazing to be in that cool rain. It feels like taking a nice warm shower. And it makes it really fun to be a missionary. I just want you all to know how much I love this work. Thanks to all of you for supporting me in my journey to this point. There has been nothing more incredible to me in my life besides my mission. Nothing has been more important other than my family. Please GO ON A MISSION! It is the only thing that you could ever do to try and give back a little of what the Savior has given you. I love Him! He lives! And there is nothing better than being one of His servants in these last days.

This week has been an incredible week for us. We have had several meetings where we have studied and discussed prayer and faith. We read some scriptures in the Book of Mormon that talk about how our Heavenly Father is capable of doing His own work but that He lets us to grow and struggle to do it along side Him so that we can come to know Him more. We talked a lot about faith and prayer and how prayer is not just pleading for a wish list from the Lord but that it is seeking His will. We also communicate with him and act upon the promptings we receive in response to those supplications that we made. These were some incredible learning experiences for our group, especially with what we are doing right now (with the Sons of Mosiah project).

Last Wednesday we put our new learning to the test. Elder Zenger and I had been a little discouraged because some of the people in our area we have met have decided to stop listening to us, or they have just picked up and moved to the Dominican Republic, which happens sometimes. But we knew that this is the Lord's work and He is capable of doing what He wants. We just needed to seek out His will and then act with Him and go for it. That night, before we went out to search for families, we promised that we would talk to every family that we saw. We asked that He would bless us with a family to teach. Then we went out and went to work. At the end of the night, the last house that we called out to, a sweet Dominican man named Freddy answered. And he invited us up to his balcony to talk with him and his wife. We talked about families and we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We invited them to take the challenge to test our words and invited them to be baptized if they were found to be true. And they accepted the invitation. We returned a few more times throughout the week and things have been just going great. Last night we shared the good news of the restoration of the true gospel. We had invited one of the recent converts in the ward to be with us and help us share our testimonies. It was one of the most powerful lessons that we have had in our time here. I also had a new missionary working with me because they came in yesterday and are awaiting transfers. Anyways, with all of us there, the spirit was so strong. They understood the lesson so well. And when we told the story of Joseph Smith, Maria, Freddy's wife, just kept saying "wow." At the end of the lesson she talked about how she had grown up with parents who attended two different churches and had always wondered which of them to be true. She said that I promised myself that when I found the truth I would follow it for the rest of my life. We left them with the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I know God will answer their prayers because I know that this is His work. I know that we were led to them. I know that He answered all of our prayers, both ours and hers. I know that this family will someday become an eternal family and I will be forever blessed to be able to have known them.

Our tradeoff experience this week was absolutely incredible, I was in Caguas with Elder Gines and Elder Delgado. Elder Gines is from St. George and actually played baseball with Uncle Chris. Anyways, they are both fairly new missionaries. Elder Gines is in like his 3rd transfer and is training Elder Delgado. I went in knowing that we could really have some neat experiences together and all grow a little closer and I was so excited. In the morning they were doing their weekly planning session and we began to talk about baptismal dates. They talked about how it is hard for them to invite people to be baptized in the first lesson because they feel that the investigators don't know everything that they need to know to make that decision. So we talked a little about it, searched about it in the scriptures, and then went to work. I was praying all day that we would be able to have some growing experiences and I was absolutely amazed at how the Lord set forth His hand and blessed us with one of the most incredible days that I have had in my mission.

The first visit we made was a young man that we found. His name is Samuel. We found him and talked to him a little about the plan of salvation. He said that he wanted to know what will happen to him after this life. We explained the plan to him and then I led our discussion to the importance of following the Lord and demonstrating that faith through a covenant that we make at baptism. Then I left the rest to Elder Gines and Elder Delgado. And I was so blessed to feel the power in Elder Gines' invitation. It wasn't the most perfect invitation Spanish-wise but the spirit was just there, and Samuel couldn't deny what he was felling. He said, "yes" and explained that he said yes because of what he was feeling. He said those were the feelings that he was looking for in his life. After that we went and visited one of their continuing investigators. When we arrived there Elder Delgado couldn't wait to invite the man to get baptized. We were in the middle of the lesson about the restoration and he just jumped out and invited him. It caught the man a little off guard but once again the spirit was just there and he couldn't deny it. He said "yes."

The last appointment of the night was just incredible. We went to visit a less active family for the first time. The mom is a member and was baptized like 20 years ago. The dad was really warm and receptive and fun. We sat down and talked for a bit and then the dad asked what is going to happen to me after this life. He said, "I love my family and I want to be with them forever. Tell me how I can. I am 40 years-old and I smoke. I don't like how I feel and I want to change all that I need a change in my life. But I don't know what I can do. Please help me." I was shocked! The missionaries in years past had probably passed by their home lots of times, but it just happened to be on this night that he was prepared for us. We talked about the Atonement and the Doctrine of Christ and he accepted the challenge to be baptized. I wish that you could have seen the excitement in the faces of these Elders. Elder Gines said that he finally understood why we invited people to be baptized in the first lesson and Elder Delgado said that, for the first time in his mission, he had a spiritual experience. I was just so thankful that the Lord had answered my prayers and that we were able to have a great building experience together.

I love you all and I am so thankful for all you do. I know that Jesus Christ is the Head of this work. I know that He is the Savior of the world and that it is through, and only through Him, that we will ever be able to be with our families forever.

Have a fantastic week all of you and know how much I love you.

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