Monday, November 2, 2015
Hola Amigos y Familia!!!
Wow, what a week for us here in El Sol!!!! One I will definitely never forget! This past week Hermana Samuels and I both completed 9 months in the mission (hard to believe) and both got to celebrate with our first baptism. I´ve always been transferred before baptisms in my other areas and don´t know what´s happened to my investigators but this is the first baptism that I’ll actually be here for and had a big part in preparing him. Hermana Samuels and her companion baptized a man named J... on Thursday and Hermana Chavez and I had J... baptism on Friday. It was a week of a lot of stressing and planning and preparing, but the results were worth every effort. It´s amazing to finally see the fruits of all those months of working and inviting and to see a soul accept the gospel and come unto Christ.
J... is very special to us and I feel honored to have been a part of this grand step in his life. He is the son of a less-active member and his father is not a member. He is 12 years old but very intelligent and mature for his age. The missionaries have been working with him for a long time to help him make the decision to be baptized and finally he was ready to make that step. When I first met him he wanted nothing to do with the missionaries and when his mom made him come and sit in on the lessons he complained and wouldn´t pay attention, announcing over and over how bored he was. But little by little we were able to connect with him and help him develop an interest in the gospel. He began to pray, to read the BOM, to come to church more frequently, and we saw a huge change in him. He went from telling us he didn´t even believe in God, to offering beautiful prayers in our lessons, asking the Lord to bless him with the faith necessary to be baptized. J... has always had a little fear of baptism because his mom told him of how she had to be baptized 3 times because she kept coming up out of the water and how it was cold. He was really nervous about it but worked up his faith to do it. The day of his baptism we made sure the water was nice and warm for him and talked him through what would happen. Unfortunately, our mission leader who was supposed to be directing didn´t show up for more than an hour so as we tried to entertain the family with hymns, testimonies, Mormon messages, and anything else we could think of...the water got nice and cold. Our mission leader finally got there with another member to be the witnesses and we started the program. But as soon as J... entered the water he refused to go any farther. Hermana Chavez and I tried to talk him through it and help him work up the courage to ease into the cold water. He was shaking so badly, partly because of the cold but partly because he was so nervous of getting in the water. But finally with a lot of prayer he got all the way in and his uncle baptized him...however he tried to do it a little too fast and he didn´t go all the way under. But J... was so brave and let him do it again, even though that had been his fear. But the 2nd time was perfect and J... came out of the font shaking, but smiling. He was so brave and had so much faith to trust the Lord and take this big step, even though he had so much fear. What an example for me. Then on Sunday he was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost which was also so special. What a great feeling, it motivates me to work harder and find even more people who are ready to accept the gospel and enter the waters of baptism. It´s been a long wait and a little hard at times not seeing the results of all my efforts, but if I had to work another 9 months just to have one more baptism like J... I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. You can´t put a price on things like that and every sacrifice and effort is worth it.
Also, we celebrated Halloween! And when I say we, I mean us 3 north American sisters in our room...because Perú doesn´t really do Halloween like we do. :) There were a few kids that dressed up and went to the park for pictures and candy but mostly people were talking about how it is the holiday of the devil and we shouldn´t celebrate it. Lots of churches and people here are against it. So we decided to quietly celebrate in our room by dressing up (as much as missionaries can) and doing a trunk or treat out of our suitcases. Super fun and I’ll send pics next week. :)
Halloween! I´m Minnie mouse, Hermana Samuels is a dalmation, and Hermana Ekins is an Indian woman....it´s as creative as we could get as missionaries. :)
My "trunk" for our trunk or treat. :)
My candy loot...Not quite as big as other years, but still super fun. :)
My Calabanza! Pumpkin...well orange because that´s what I could find. :)
Please pray for S..., an investigator 17 years old who has accepted baptism. D... M... who needs to come to church. B... who also needs to come to church and receive an answer about whether or not she should be baptized. J... and M... that they can stay strong and active in the church and continue progressing. And M... and B... who are friends of J... and are investigating now too.
I love you all so much and hope that you are all doing well. The year is flying by but I am loving and enjoying every day here in paradise. :) I know the Savior loves us and that it is only through following his example that we may be saved and enjoy eternal happiness as families. I love him and I love his work. (2 Nephi 31:17) My ponderize scripture of the week. :)
Our Pday at El Bosque :)
More of pday at el bosque
Here are pics of our pday at "El Bosque" (The forrest). It´s a beautiful country club with a pool, all sorts of sports, a lake, and tons of space to run and explore. Super fun and we all really enjoyed it. We also had a bbq peruvian style. A huge slab of cow on a grill with a bunch of potatoes. :) Super yummy and a nice break from the usual rice and chicken. :)