Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April 30, 2012

This email is gonna be quick because Elder Ramos and I are heading to the hospital to visit one of our investigators. She is a 9 year old girl that we had planned to baptize this Saturday. But, she was having some problems with her vision that turned out to be because of brain tumors. They aren't sure if the tumors are malignant, but we are heading to the hospital to give her a blessing and give her a few presents (today is her birthday) before she has her surgery tomorrow.
That's the worst part of this week. This week turned out to be real good. Elder Ramos and I are trying to help our zone improve the most it can. We have a bunch of people lined up for baptism and it should be real good. 

All is well. Life is good!

April 23, 2012

This week it ended up that we had three baptism instead of two. Sweet surprise. Diana and Kevin were baptized as planned and it was sweet and I will tell you about it in a little. But, this week we had the surprise baptism of Brian.  Brian lives across the street from us. We have been teaching him ever since I got here. All of his friends and his girlfriend are members of the church and he really wanted to get baptized. But the problem was that his Mom didn't want Brian to have anything to do with us and asked us to stop talking with Brian. Brian is a minor, so we had to respect her decision. We hadn't been teaching Brian for about two weeks when his Mom clapped our house one day and asked us if we could help her kids with homework. There were doing pretty bad in school and we said "Claro!" and started tutoring Brian's two little siblings two times a week. Apparently they started to do a lot better in school because this past Wednesday, Brian clapped our house, crying, and told us that his Mom said that he could get baptized if he wanted. Boing. It's sweet what a little service can do. So for the rest of the week, Elder Ramos and I prepped Brian for his baptism. In a baptism, the person can't have any excessive piercings. This was a big deal for Brian because he has both of his ears, his lip, his cheekbone, and his eyebrow pierced. He had talked with him for a long time about it, explaining that it is part of the Palabra de Sabiduria to take care of your body. He still didn't want to take them out. Right before the baptism we had a really sweet, spiritual lesson with Brian about repentance. After the lesson we finished with a prayer, and Brian left to his house. We watched him as he walked to his house. He walked up to his front door, stopped as if some profound thought had just hit him, walked back to the sangha (open sewer/gutter) and took his piercings one by one, and threw them in the sangha. Elder Ramos and I started cheering and laughing and ran out and gave him a big hug. I asked him why, and he said, "Piercings aren't me anymore." I said "Barbaro." The best part for me is that in the charla right before, neither Elder Ramos nor I had said anything about piercings. The Spirit is sweet.   

So this Saturday, we had the baptisms of Brian, Kevin, and Diana a la vez. Twas good. Twas real good. Elder Ramos baptized Kevin, Dianas brother baptized her, and Brians member buddy from down the street baptized him. In both of the baptisms, there was a whole lot of opposition. Neither of the families really wanted the baptisms to happen, but it made it even better.  The fact that when one is baptized, all of ones sins are erased was especially important for Brian. When he came out of the water, you could tell that he felt good and that a weight had been taken off of him. Way too good. Lots of tears. Boom. 

We also got transfer calls on Saturday night. It looks like I will be staying with Elder Ramos in Solano for another transfer. I'm totally happy with the non-change. Totally satisfied. Another six weeks in Solano. It looks like I will probably be Elder Ramos's last companion because he goes home in July. If so, he will be my companion with whom I have had the most time juntos in my mission. 

April 16, 2012

This week we spent the majoritya of our time getting a family ready to be baptized next Saturday. Remember how I said a member family lives behind us and gives us food and cleans our pinch and clothes? About two weeks back, the hermano introduced us to his sister and her family. Apparently it is a tradition of the hermano to introduce his sister to every new companionship who comes into Solano. The family had heard the discussions about 1700 times, but the hermano convinced them to try one more time. Elder Ramos and I decided that they had probably hear ever missionary lesson/trick ever, so we decided that we had to try to do something different. Elder Ramos then engineered this whole lesson concerning the Pearl of Great Price and part of the Lion King and dry noodles. Not kidding. The lesson was based on letting them know that they are all spirit children of God and need to act up to their position. It was sweet. The family totally loved it and accepted a baptismal invitation that night. Ever since that moment, we have been running through all the lessons in order to have them ready for this Saturday. It was all kind of crazy and hurried, but sweet and spiritual at the same time. To be baptized, they had to go to church two times in a row. They went the past Sunday, and only had to come this past Sunday again. But, if they didn't come, they wouldn't be able to be baptized until the next Saturday. They all got up and ready to go this Sunday, ran out to their car, and it wouldn't start. Diana, the mom of the family then got out of the car and started to run the 17 blocks to church. The whole family started shouting after her to come back, but she just shouted that she was going to church. jajaj Then her 8 year old son ran after her too. They both made it to church, and will be baptized this next Saturday. The dad, Maxi, wants to wait a little bit more, but is happy for his wife and son.

This experience taught me a little bit more about the importance of the spirit in conversion. I am noticing more and more which people have felt the spirit in the lessons and which have not, just based on their behavior. Diana and Kevin had felt the Spirit, it had changed them, and it showed in their behavior. It's crazy how much it changes people. I, as a missionary, can talk all I want and convince the mind of someone that what I am saying is true, but it doesn't serve for anything. The person is not gonna change. But, if someone feels the spirit, in their heart, it changes the way they act, think everything. That's what makes the difference. And it makes me feel so powerless, yet powerful at the same time. Powerful because I can be a vessel of this spirit, but powerless, because I really am not doing anything at all. It's kind of a relief that it doesn't depend on me, but on something much bigger.