Mom and Dad.... thank you thank you thank you for your letters. It is seriously such an emotional rollercoaster to read your letters... but so so good. I am so inspired by the stories of those around you... and what you guys are doing. Seriously... I feel like our family is continually stronger and stronger with the distance. The saying ¨distance makes the heart grow fonder¨....or whatever... is kind of true... but it´s what we´re experiencing together is purely from the gift of missions. I love testifying to families that families can be eternal- because I´m really learning how incredibly precious and true that is. I am SO grateful for my family!!
Woohooo!! Juan Carlos was baptized!!! Presidente drove like...3 hours from the Capitol to our quaint little Candelaria to our humble little chapel and interviewed Juan Carlos after sacrament meeting.... and it was a goooo!! So... we asked Juan Carlos when he wanted to be baptized... and he said, ¨now!¨.... so... the second the third meeting ended... we started to fill up the baptismal font. Little did we know... that the faucet doesn´t work... so we were using the trinkling hoses from outside through the windows and the bathrooms... and again.. Hermana Clark had to learn some more patience. It didn´t matter.... I was so happy and relieved. I have seen so many miracles with Juan Carlos- every time that I fast for him. My testimony of the power of fasting is continually strengthened- because I have experienced and seen such undeniable miracles EVERY TIME. I love fasting. Anyways... his service was simple... but so sweet. So sweet. Not just because it was my first... but because... it just was beautiful. The Spirit was strong.. the talks were perfect... and he seemed to soak it all in. We hope to baptize Gudiel at the end of this week!
Another huge miracle happened. We´ve been working with a family in which the two kids are members... but their parents aren´t married... and haven´t been interested in the church or marriage... or any of that. Yet... we´ve been continuing on... and making progress with the dad. He keeps wanting to come to church... but just hasn´t. He sees and wants the light and happiness that he sees in his kids... but hasn´t believed he can have it for himself. He finally took the challenge to read in the book of mormon... and... he prayed. He received an answer... and he knows it´s true. Yet... the mother doesn´t have much interest... at all... and she doesn´t want to marry.... it´s a complicated situation with the marriage deal. SO... we keep praying and fasting and teaching with faith and hope. We were walking towards the church... when we saw down the road...... Carolina y Herrardo.... walking towards the church... with their kids... as a family. We audibly gasped... and I may have had to stop a moment to compose myself again- because it was such an unexpressibly powerful experience. I know it sounds so simple and maybe silly to some..... but for us... understanding the situation and the countless prayers and intense pining for those moments......... it was a beautiful miracle.
I am so grateful to still be in Candelaria with Hermana Bautista. We have SO MUCH hope for this transfer...I feel like we´re really seeing progress.... and it´s like familias are just falling in our laps! Such miracles. Hermana Bautista and I return to our house every night... just in awe of what we´ve seen. For instance... the family of Francisco y Anarut. Their son Emerson (9) is a new convert... but the only one in the family. His sister Marjorie (13) wanted to be baptized (like... months and months ago with the Elders) ... but she was baptized in the catholic church and her father didn´t want her to be baptized. So... we prayed to find the father... and one day... it happened. He was so receptive... and as we taught about the Restoration... the Spirit was so strong. He has been reading and absorbing every reading assignment we´ve given him... and is SO receptive when we´re there.... the only thing is....... he has not yet prayed. He wants to know EVERYTHING and feel like he understands every doctrinal point perfectly BEFORE he prays... so we´re trying to teach faith...and the reality of prayer. Last night... we had such a beautiful discussion with them... and the mother told us that she knows it´s true- that she has family in the church and has seen the difference and joy in them- and can´t deny that that she knows it´s true. Marjorie wants to be baptized and every time we come she is the first to pull out all the scriptures with eager anticipation to read. I can see this family in white- in all 3 of those occasions- baptism, temple, celestial kingdom. They just need to pray about it. They just have to pray and ask!! It´s so simple! We have SO MUCH hope for them... and I was speechless when we left their house last night- and not because I didn´t know spanish- but no language can express what we felt as we knelt together and prayed with that family. Lives are changing... and I am so blessed to be a witness to it.
The other day... this man pulled me into his house so excited to practice his english... and as I was trying to explain that we had to go (we had 12 missionaries- all of our zone- waiting at our chapel to contact our area) but that we would return to share our message... his wife started bringing out pictures of their son. I was so confused between his broken english and the pressing need to leave... but as the wife started talking about her son.. how he left for the states... and died 10 days later... she began to cry. I suddenly found myself testifying of the Plan of Salvation and eternal families with this little sobbing woman in my arms. She said that she knew it was fate that we were in her home... and needless to say... we were significantly but happily late to be with the Elders.... and I am SO excited to return tonight!! Again... another miracle!
Speaking of miracles.... I still have the gift of tongues. I realized the other day... that I have stopped acknowledging that. It´s becoming so much more comfortable... that I´ve neglected to continue to be grateful for this HUGE MIRACLE! When I can answer phones without panic and confusion... and Hermana B and I can mouth things to eachother...jokes are funny- and not just because I´m confused.... I forget how EPIC that is for me! I´ve finally gotten so absorbed in the PEOPLE here... that I´ve forgotten that I ¨can´t speak spanish¨- I can´t tell which is the greater miracle- those moments when this selfabsorbed princess forgets herself... or the ability to speak spanish. - both are HUGE- and none from me. The hands of the Lord are SO tangible in this work.... it blows my mind EVERY DAY.
I continue to be me.... and as entertaining as it is... sometimes it´s just plain distracting and not conducive with the work. For instance... we were SERIOUSLY sandwiched in a bus the other day... like... I didn´t have to hold on to anything or anyone despite the jerking and winding of the bus... because the was no way of moving... or using my arms. So... when people were trying to exit and had to squeeze in between us... by the time I went get off the bus... unbeknown to me... my skirt was at my ankles!! Thank goodness I had my slip- eek!!
Oh! Blayre! I got your e-mail! thank you so much! what a fantastic surprise!! I can´t e-mail you back... but snail mail would be great! I am so excited to hear about your married life and your mission advice! You´re my hero! I´ve always looked up to you! Oh, and ya... that spider-frog-aligator thing... was a scorpion! haha!! Love you!
This mission gig is just the best, huh? Sometimes I just want to skip and frolic in the streets singing hymns... haha... and if Hermana Bautista would allow me... I probably would! I love her so much- we are SO SO SO different- and that is fantastic. I wouldn´t like to work with someone exactly like me... woah no. I am so happy happy happy!!