Family, thank you SO much for the Valentines package! We have really enjoyed it... and the kids are LOVING the really cool candy and pezes- brilliant. Aunt Marcy, Thank you thank you THANK YOU for your package! You were SO inspired with so many things... it almost weirded me out how you some how knew exactly what to put in. Thank you so much- and I LOVE the scriptures and have been sharing them with the 3 other sisters in the house. Thank you!!!!! We´re going to do a family home evening with the Martinez family tonight... and we´re gonna use the testimony from the Evergreen primary (thank you!)- and the glow sticks. They don´t have electricity.. so their house is super dark and PERFECT to use glowsticks with the scripture of ¨let your light so shine¨.- even though this family already explodes with light... it will be a really fun tool to use to teach about testimonies. Thank you!
It´s already very well established that... I have very little patience. With all the excitement and hope that I have for Pajonal... I find myself expecting to have a branch all of a sudden tomorrow and to be seeing more fruits of our labor TODAY. Yet... it doesn´t work that way. ¨By small and simple things... great things come to pass¨.... and yet we don´t get an exact time frame. We are teaching many people... and when sunday morning comes... I am all in jitters... SO excited to see the people that we have met and loved up there...in the CHURCH. SOOooo.... when the only ones that came from Pajonal were Jose Armando and his brother Neris... I was a little deflated. Yet... again... the Lord blessed me with such a sweet experience in that sacrament meeting... that the momentary moment of forgetfulness and ingratitude quickly fled. To see how excited Neris is for his baptism... when he was telling all the members, ¨Next sunday I´m going to be baptized!!! My whole family is going to come!!¨... and when Jose Armando got up and bore his testimony of the Restoration of the gospel.... I was reminded that... we truly do have a divine purpose in Pajonal.
I hate to remember that I won´t be in Candelaria every sunday forever. That someday... maybe soon... maybe in April... I will have to leave to face the world of the mission nurse in the city... and though I know it will be right and there will be more to do and learn no matter where I am.........I love love love Candelaria. I love the ward more than I can explain. I can sit in the Sacrament meeting... and point out something that I have seen and learned from every single member. I get so teary when those that can´t read or write... allow me the honor to help them fill out their slips for fast offerings to give the Lord their golden widows mite... and when our ward mission leader listens so intently with everything he has so that he can remember all the names of all the investigadors that we have... because he won´t be able to read our forms. The dedication, humility, and love I have seen and received in Candelaria is incredible. For example... we were on our way back from Pajonal... when we saw our brother Hermano Francisco on the bus. He is the most devoted, loving, and gospel zealous man in his 70´s with 4 teeth and probably the warmest and most sincere smile I have ever seen. He scurried over and quickly paid for our passage. It´s .75 each way... not hard for us to pay... but to pay for 3 people is A LOT for this man... but he was so anxious and honored to contribute to the Lord´s work... I couldn´t hold him back from those blessings. He continued to tell me that his dream is that his 32 year old daughter will be married... and that he can serve a mission. He told me he wants to be a missionary SO BAD... and asked me if I thought that was possible that he could serve even though he wasn´t married? I didn´t know what to say more than the assurance that he had so much to offer in the Lord´s work... and that the Lord will always need and accept his labors in all callings he is given. I know that is ever so true.
Fast and testimony meeting was so so so sweet yesterday. The attendence has gone up from in the 70s to the hundred and teens over the last few months. It is SO rewarding to see inactives that we had been loving and working with... return and start nurturing their seeds of faith... and the new converts continue to blossom. I love going to church. I felt in paradise to listen to such simple, profound, and powerful testimonies. I couldn´t help but feel SO spoiled to be a spectator in such a meeting... and to think of how much my family would LOVE to be there. I don´t know if I´ve mentioned the beautiful deaf family that live up in the mountains... but oh how Morgan would love them. The parents are both deaf... and their sign language isn´t really... it´s more like a dance than an organized language... and the Spirit was SO powerful and we understood everything as this brother told about how his son was sick and he was able to help give him a priesthood blessing, and was healed... and that he KNEW without a doubt of the Lord´s love and of the priesthood power. Oh boy... I was out of control.. makeup running down my face and everything. Wow.
I got to hear some of the first members of the church in Candelaria bear their testimonies... the sweetest and oldest little people... stand at the pulpit and tremble with old age and gratitud for the opportunity that they have to see Candelaria blossom... to see the little chapel bulging at the seams... to see the Lord´s work unfold after so many years. There is a little 96 year old woman that is nothing but sticks and bones but praises the Lord for her health and ability to walk down the mountain every sunday... because she can´t possibly pay for transportation... but the Lord allows her to continue to come to church.
Oh I could just go on forever... but it´s time to work again! I love you all! Thank you for all your support and prayers. Go find the inactives in your wards... support the new converts, and pray and identify EVERY chance to share the gospel in EVERY moment of the day. They exist!!