How has everyone been doing lately? It has truly been a long time since we have seen each other!
This was a great great week...
Starting off with a family night that we had on Tuesday evening with the Cruces family...the Cruces family are members as of a year ago who were doing really good in the church and then they hit a hard time when they inactivated :( They passed through all sorts of struggles, even to the point where Sister Cruces left to Santiago with the kids and they almost were separated (this just happened a couple months ago) The night his wife, Madeline, left, José was at his house alone with his mom and he looked really nervous.. We went over there to help him and we read the first part of Enos with him and told him that before he left for Santiago in the morning to go get his family that he should do what Enos does....kneel down and cry unto God. Jose hadnt been behaving very good...so that's why she left. But....everything is awesome now! They got back together. Jose did exactly what we invited him to do. They came back to church! And now they have not faulted for about a month! They are doing so great. The family is really amazing. So like I said at the beginning of the paragraph...we had a family night with them and we invited Viviana, our recent convert, and Soledad and Valentina, our investigators who are progressing really good. We watched the Testaments, but before we watched it, The Cruces' shared a little bit about their conversion. Why they decided to get baptized. Jose didnt believe in God and he said it was the hardest decision of his life. The day before he god baptized he received a powerful witness that God exists. Then SOLEDAD shared an experience with us that we had no idea about!
-First off, we asked Soledad after church what her favorite part of church was and she said when the men laid their hands on Felipe's head for a blessing or something (confimation)-
So then we are sitting in this family night with the Cruces family and she told them that she hadnt even told me and my companion this yet, but that just two days before, in church, when she was sitting there during sacrament meeting and they laid their hands on Felipe's head, she felt something amazing inside her and she was just completely and powerfully filled with happiness and tears started falling. She put her head down to avoid being seen. She said it was something so special. Right then Madeline (Sister Cruces) said "THAT'S THE HOLY GHOST!!" Ha ha :) It was awesome.
Soledad is doing awesome! We are so amazed at how she is progressing and how the Lord prepared her for this message. She lived in Spain for the last 9 years so I dont think the missionaries ever passed by while she was there. It's like she has been waiting all her life for this!
This week I went on a companionship interchange with ELDER MCCONNELL from Lake Point Utah! What do you know...winding up in the same little place on the other side of the world participating in the greatest work that's ever existed! We taught Soledad the law of chastity and she commited to live it...we had some other good lessons, but apart from those lessons it was actually a pretty hard day. We knocked a lot of doors and a did a lot of street contacts but almost everyone was grouchy! Nobody wanted anything! There was one nice elderly lady who wanted us to come in, but then her husband or son came out and said GO AWAY! He wouldnt let us in even though she wanted us to! Meanie. It was fun working with him.
We had a zone conference on Thursday and it was awesome. President Martinez was very firm declaring that we need to live the doctrine of Christ in our own lives before we can expect to teach it to others. He said very powerfully, "you cannot teach people that they have to have faith in Jesus Christ if you, yourself, dont have enough faith in Him to be obedient. You cannot call someone unto repentance if you are not repenting yourself. You cant teach anyone the doctrine of Christ unless you understand the doctrine of Christ, and the way you can know whether you understand it is if you are living it!" So he invited us all to start living the doctrine of Christ better in our lives.
We had a family night with our other investigator, Edgardo, with the Merino family. They are an older couple in the ward, closer to Edgardo's age. It was a great family night. We taught about the word of wisdom. Edgardo and his grandson, Vicente, both commited to live the word of wisdom happily and excitedly. Toward the end of the lesson, Edgardo and Brother Merino found out that they both have a passion for fishing. It was so funny watching them make a bunch of fishing jokes and talking fishtalk together. Edgardo is AWESOME! He is completely excited for his baptism in 6 days! The next day we went to his house and we asked if he would take the whiskey in his cupboard and dump it down the drain. (he didnt have a drinking problem at all...just on random occasions he would drink a little bit of whiskey or wine) he said that it didnt bother him at all to do that, so he took his whiskey bottle and it was awesome to watch him dump it all down the drain with joy. He gets excited for every single commandment that we teach him.
One day this week, we found Maria Paz and her daughter, Javiera 8, in the street. She is a single mom of 3 kids who lives in one little room that she rents. We felt like we should talk to her as we passed her so we stopped her and introduced ourselves...she said that she is passing through a hard time in her life and that she thinks we might have been sent by God to talk to her. She said that she would gladly receive us in her house. It turns out that she is from another area, the area of the two missionaries who live with us. So we passed the referral and they went that same night to her house and she is awesome! They challenged her to prepare for baptism and she accepted along with Javiera, who is stoked to be baptized! Ha ha :) Kids rock! She had a very personal question to ask the missionaries. She asked if God forgives sins. They said yes...and of course they sensed that she had something on her mind...she ended up telling them that years and years ago, even before Javiera was born, she had an abortion. She said that she has felt bad about it every day since it happened over a decade ago. She says that she imagines every day what he or she would look like, what they would be doing.... She has suffered a lot. I know that God lives and that if Maria Paz has faith in the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ and if she repents of all of her sins, and is baptized, that she can become clean through His infinite and eternal atonement for ALL mankind. I am so so so overjoyed that Maria Paz is going to be able to be forgiven. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry of happiness. I dont want her to suffer any more. I feel like I can indentify with Nephi in 2 Nephi 33:3,7-9.
We are working with the Cuevas family, who are all members except their almost 11 year old daughter, Fran. Alejandra, Fran's mom, has been struggling a lot with her testimony lately, and for that reason she hasnt allowed Fran to get baptized still. Fran wants to get baptized very badly. Alejandra and Jorge have been progressing a lot lately...We have been praying for them every day that Alejandra's heart can be softened and that she can gain her testimony again and that she will let Fran get baptized and it's happening! God answers prayers! I think I wrote last email that Fran came up to us after Felipe's baptism and said that she wants to be baptized...well, I think the baptism helped Alejandra a lot too. We read Alma 32:27-28 with them...Alejandra understood it good. But she still wanted to know why she has never felt so strongly the spirit like the ladies who get up and cry in testimony meeting and stuff. She said, "are they just exaggerating or do I not have enough faith?" (GOLDEN QUESTION!!) She decided that it was her faith. So...we read verses 38-40 also and everything clicked for her. She said "I think it's because we arent being nourished!" She said "we arent doing anything. We hardly ever go to sacrament meeting, and that's all!"
We were happy because this is what we have been trying to get them to understand for a long time! Like 6 months! Hahaha I love the gospel and I especially gain a stronger testimony of the scriptures in moments like these. We read 5 VERSES.....and it is literally going to change their lives!!! We challenged them to let Fran get baptized on the 5th of May and confirmed the 6th (her 11th birthday) I smell a miracle comin´up!
We had a ward activity...a dessert night. Everyone brought a dessert to share and it was awesome! There were so many desserts. We had a mini talent night and it was so good. The stake president's family did most of the talents. Their 10 year old son, Lucas, is a great singer, so he sang a popular love song here and everyone went crazy. ha ha. We had tons of investigators come and many inactive members so that was good.
Sunday was a good day. We had several investigators in church and lots of inactive members came back to church, and they announced Edgardo's baptism this weekend. I had a feeling that we might end up having other people get baptized on Saturday too though...as church ended, me and Elder Beatty felt that we should go to Soledad's house and invite her to be baptized this weekend. She is definitely ready so we felt very good about it. We went there and we started off by reading Alma 7:11-15, and then afterward we told her how we felt and invited her to be baptized on Saturday, the 28th. She got a little bit nervous but it was obvious that she wanted to and that she was going to say yes. Her mom, who is from a different Evangelical church, interrupted her and said that she should wait a little while longer she thought, but we assured her that it's not good to put God's commandments on hold, and that just as when are teeth are dirty, we should brush them, that she should be baptized this week. We asked her if she believes that God can answer her prayers. She said yes. So we asked if she would kneel down and ask her Heavenly Father right there whether she should get baptized. So we all knelt down and she offered the prayer. A very simple prayer, with one simple question. We waited for a bit at the end of the prayer and the Spirit was strong. She asked, "do you want me to tell you what I feel?" "yeah" "I feel really good! I am going to get baptized this Saturday!" So we are going to have TWO baptisms this weekend!!!!!! Yay for prayers and answers to prayers. Yay for Edgardo and Soledad!
So many blessings have come to me and Elder Beatty lately from following the promptings of the Holy Ghost!
Tender Mercy- The promise of the Lord in DyC 58:42-43. Read it! Apply it.
Random info of the week:
-The weather has been pretty dry, getting colder and colder each morning but hot during the day. No rain still.
-We have eaten a lot of beans with spagetti noodles this week.
Challenge of the week for everyone who reads this!: Pray TODAY that the Lord, this week, in your personal study of the Book of Mormon, will teach you something important for your life that you need right now, and then before next Monday write me what you learned!!!!
Love, Elder Gomez
-Lunch with Soledad 38 (getting baptized this week), Valentina 12, and her grandma Ana
-Birthday party of Elias Cruces 11. With 3 ward members, Mario Espinoza, José Cruces, and Brother Concha.
-Boys spraying eachother at the b-day party with spray snow.
-Me and Jon, a member who's wife, Alexa, was recently baptized. I took this picture to show his insane sound system! Haha
-Me and Elder Beatty, with his Easter package containing 4 pounds of pure chocolate! Happy Easter!
-Me and ELDER MCCONNELL on our interchange with the Espinoza's. The dad, Mario, is struggling a lot as of lately. He has been inactive lately.