February 13, 2012
Hey everyone! This week was a great one! First off, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY ON TUESDAY!!!!!
I got packages from Camilla and Aida this week so THANK YOU! I love you both, and your families.
This week was the last week of the transfer, we had a baptism, and we know which of us is leaving Villa Obispo!
I'll start with the baptism!!! Nicol 20, was baptized. She is the daughter of Silvia, a recent convert as of about 4 months. She is great. They seriously havent missed a single Sunday in the church since Silvia was baptized. Nicol was a girl with two daughters...she really didnt care too much about anything in life. She had a bad relationship with her mom, and she was pretty hard to get along with. When the missionaries first started teaching her mom Silvia, she didnt want anything to do with the gospel. She went into the other room when they started teaching. She has had such a change in her life, in her view about life, God, her family and everyone in general. She is the smiliest (its a word now!) person ever now! The gospel literally changed her. The Holy Ghost can work miracles to those who repent and have a desire to follow Christ. I am so happy that I was able to take a part in this process and be able to be the instrument through the which the Holy Ghost was able to enter her life. Nicol called US one day about a month ago and put her own baptismal date which was amazing, and since then she repented, prepared and was faithful to all of the commitments we extended to her. She is awesome and I just cant get over how much she smiles now and how friendly she is and how their family is so happy now. photos attached.
Here's the transfer news: Me and Elder Strait are going to stay together AGAIN! We are stoked! I have never been with the same companion for more than 3 months, but we are now going to be together for at least 4 1/2 months! We are both staying another transfer here in Los Angeles in Villa Obispo. It will be great! We will have at least 2 more baptisms this transfer and we should be able to have more also.
Last week for the last district meeting, we had a watermelon eating contest in our zone. I got the idea from the Big Canyon ward activity that we had before I left! It was a lot of fun!
I completed 17 months in the mission which is just scaring me how fast time is moving! It is going by quickly! I will include now a bunch of random facts or things that happened this week:
-There is an incredible 85 year old member here named Audelina who was baptized about 6 years ago. She has stayed firm in the church ever since! She is a great example of a good latter-day saint. She introduced us to her daughter this week even though her daughter is evangelical. She wanted to help us so much in the lesson. We taught about the restoration and she recited the story about Joseph Smith. It was awesome! Hopefully we can all be like that! Another great example here in this ward is Brother Merino. He is dying of terminal cancer but has so much faith!!! He went to church yesterday, even when he had all the excuses he wanted to stay in bed. He is always in a ton of pain. What hit me the most is there is an inactive member in the ward who hasnt come to church for a couple months, and Brother Merino went to visit him yesterday! How would you feel if you were visited by a sick sick man who came to teach YOU about enduring to the end!? He is a great example.
-We found a family that really strengthened my testimony of the standards of the church. In this family, there is a mom/grandma who is really young, a 20 year old daughter in law with two kids, one of them newborn, and a FOURTEEN year old daughter with a newborn baby! We were able to say a prayer for them, especially for the two newborns. But I just thought, 14 years old with a baby in this hard enough world! I know that the standards of the church are super inspired. All we need to do is follow them! And we will be happy! It wont always be easy, but it WILL be worth it always!
-There were two crazy old men who we tracted into this week. One old man who was in a park. We went to talk to him and he held up his cane and yelled "Get out of here and go back to your own county!!" We were just like "we're just here to help!" ha ha. He was like "dont talk to me! Go away!"
For real....we are just here to help! We didnt let it get to us, like always when people reject us. We just laughed about it afterward because of his cane that he was going to hit us with??? the other experience happened when we were talking to a sweet old lady who had just lost a daughter and she was very sad about it. We were in the middle of teaching her the plan of Salvation and some random really old guy came out and pulled her inside and came out to us and said "I fight against bad guys" I said "cool! Where do you work? for the police or something?" He said "no....but I kill bad guys!" (i realized he wasnt trying to have a conversation, he was threatening us I think. ha ha) The best part was when he put up his little arm and pointed at his forearm and said "this is what I kill bad guys with" and then he walked back in his house as we told him we were just there to help and to teach about Jesus Christ. Even though it was pretty funny, we felt very very sad for the lady who we were listening to who had lost a loved one. We were trying to share about God's plan, the single most important thing to hear in the world! But her oh-so-happy brother or husband wouldnt let her stay outside. I know she will have another opportunity to hear and accept the gospel.
Well, enough with the random stories, We taught the 13 year old cousin of some members here (a young couple) and shared about the restoration and the book of Mormon. She started reading the Book of Mormon and likes it a lot. We took her on a tour of the church with her cousins and taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ, (faith, repentance, baptism) She feels really good about it all and she had so many good questions. She wanted to come to church...the only problem is, she lives in a different town and her parents are hard core evangelicals who dont like our church. She had to go back home before Sunday so she couldnt come to church, but she was able to come to the baptism of Nicol and she loved it. We called the sister missionaries in her area and we told them all about her. the sisters in that area are awesome, so hopefully a MIRACLE happens!
The last experience that I'll mention is something that happened yesterday. We were just doing our normal things and the sisters in my zone called us and one of the sisters said she needed a blessing. So we went over to their area and talked to them. this sister is started her last transfer. She's a sister that has been in my same zone my WHOLE mission so she is a good friend! Anyway, satan has really been trying to work with her because she is usually the most energetic happy awesome sister, but all of the sudden she is very disanimated with the ward (the ward isnt helping them at ALL) and she had a horrible dream during the night that was really terrible that made her scared to go back to sleep. Anyway, I was able to give her a blessing and I know that the priesthood is REAL! After the blessing she felt a lot better and she went back a little to her normal awesome self. The sister missionaries are so AWESOME in this mission! They are so strong! They came out here by their own free will. This work is great. I love it!
Tender Mercy- God's hand of love and help that He is ALWAYS extending toward us that we just choose to reject sometimes. The way we reject it is when we dont keep the commandments, when we dont read our scriptures, when we dont pray, etc. those things are so important. God's love is great. He loves us so much.
Thanks for everything, I love you all,
-Baptism of Nicol
-Us with an investigator, Lily
-Us with Nicol and her two kids
-The Mexicans and half Mexicans in zone conference. (the two sisters and me are half mexican) The second from the left, with the glasses, is named Elder Eric Buentello, and he is in Marcos and Gema's ward in Sabinas. He is one of Aaron's good friends! (mom, if you could send this picture to Aaron that would be awesome!)
-Me and Elder Buentello
-Cooking, making humitas
-with a bunch of members.
-With Nicol's nieces. They came down (48 hour drive) for Nicol's baptism. Martina, the oldest niece, who is 9, came to church 3 times while she was here and she loved it. We have already contacted the missionaries up in Iquique to teach their family!
-Brother Rivas got root beer for us! We were so happy.
-Making brownies with Lily. We invited her to be baptized....she is so ready. She has been investigating for a long time, but she still doesnt think its her time. She sells sweets in the market, so she wanted us to teach her how to do brownies. They turned about so good!