How are you? Its good to hear that Rachel got home safe, that's so crazy. Hope everything is going well this week. No worries Dad that fried food was a one time thing and I didn't eat it all. I don't like fried food so I never eat it unless its at a members house and I have to. Haha actually I've eaten more american food than ever before because so many people in our ward are from the states.
Wow, this week was amazing so much to tell. The baptism on Saturday was amazing. So there were three baptisms, Jose, Madeline and Alondra. The first was Alondra is an eight year old girl of a family that is recent convert/less active. The mom got baptised years ago but the Dad and the kids were baptized last year. They stopped coming to church for awhile but recently started coming back to church about a month ago. Wow it was so amazing to see the Dad be able to baptize for the first time. To see the Mom crying and feel the spirit so strongly.
A little background information first about Madeline and Jose. Two years ago Jose worked with a friend who is a member in the ward in Bayamon. He gave him a Book of Mormon and they would have long discussions at work about religion and Esteban would answer Jose's questions using the Book of Mormon. Not long after they lost touch and Esteban has not been attending church. Luis, Jose's best friend since they were very young, was invited by his girlfriend Laura to listen to the missionaries last year. Becuase of her and her family Luis was baptized in December. Luis then invited Jose to come over and listen to Hermana Thornton and Hermana Mertlich. Jose readily accepted the invitation.
Madeline was also a reference from a member. A few months ago the Young Women were each given a Book of Mormon and challenged to write their testimony in it and give it away to a friend. So Desire decided to give it to Madeline. Madeline started going to Seminary and then Hermana Thornton and Hermana Mertlich started teaching her. Madeline from the beginning always wanted to get baptized, but she still had not gained her own testimony that this was the true church. Each time we taught her we would ask her if she had received an answer and she said that she still hadn't. Hermana Thornton talked to President about and asked him what we should do because she wanted to be baptized and kept all the commitments but hadn't recieved an answer yet. He told us to go ahead with the baptism and that maybe her spiritual gift was to belief on the testimonies of others like it says in D&C. So we've been praying hard every day that she would be able to come to know for herself and we went ahead with the plans for the baptism.
There were quite a few members, Madeline's family, and also Luis and his girlfriend, Esteban and his girlfriend who isn't a member and also Jose's girlfriend who isn't a member either. It was especially amazing to see Luis baptize Jose and despite his nerves (no kidding, he was literally shaking before the baptism started) he said the baptism prayer perfectly and they embraced each other afterwards for a really long time It was really neat. Madeline was baptized by the bishop. After the baptisms the bishop wanted to have time for the bearing of testimonies while they all changed into dry clothes. He was definately inspired because the spirit was so strong. Luis' girlfriend Laura bore her testimony first and I realized how amazing it is that through one person's example so many miracles can come about. How amazing to hear Esteban bear his testimony and then finally to hear Jose bear his testimony for the first time testifying how he received an answer to his prayers and how the influence of his friend had brought him to know that this was the true church. Everyone was crying including the two girlfriends that don't know much about the church. Then Madeline got up and bore her testimony for the first time. The spirit was so strong as she thanked Desire for giving her a Book of Mormon and Hermana Torro and other members that helped her then she paused and started to cry and said that she knew that this was the true church and that she knew the Book of Mormon was true. Hermana Thornton and I just started to cry, she had come to know for herself. We played the last five minutes of the Testaments when Jesus Christ comes to the Americas and I'm pretty sure there was not a dry eye the room. I looked around and saw Madeline's mom crying, Jose's girlfriend crying, Alondra's mom crying and I don't know how to describe it was just so amazing.
As they left the baptism the group of six friends Luis, Jose and Esteban each with their girlfriends were already planning on having a movie night to watch the Testaments all the way through and Carla, Jose's girlfriend left with a Book of Mormon in her hand, a gift from Esteban.
Wow, I love this gospel so much. I am just amazed at how small things like a Book of Mormon with a testimony written in the cover can change the life of a seventeen year old girl or how an invitation to listen to the missionaries from Luis' girlfriend Laura set off a chain reaction that has not only blessed Luis but Jose as well and who knows how many more people, as they continue to share the gospel with their friends. How home teachers and ward members helped to reactivate a family that had become inactive after recently being baptized and the father was able to baptize his 8 year old daughter. By small things great things come to pass.
As missionaries sometimes we find people to teach and baptize, but even more amazing is to sit back and watch as miracles unfold because of members who are willing to share their testimonies. We just get to be instruments in the teaching process.
Anyway sorry that was really long but it was just a really amazing experience that I wanted to share with you all. Love you all a ton. Hope you have a great week!