Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6 update

Our communication with Elder Kenison was a little limited this week, since we are in England and didn't have as much Internet access as we would like.  But we were grateful to receive some responses.

In a previous message, he told us he and Elder Carvajal are working very hard.  We asked what kinds of things he has seen that are done differently by missionaries who work hard and missionaries who don't.  This was the response:
really their attitude. in a group it's hard to see who is a good missionary and who isn't. but for example if you see the missionaries and how they change you can tell. so really i've learned that baptisms don't show a good missionary. really to tell if someone was or is a good missionary just look at who they were and who they are. that'll tell ya. but as for Elder Carvajal. haha he's just a straight up stud. haha i'm so glad he's my companion haha
The rest of his email was sharing this wonderful story of working with an investigator family:
For the work here in Esmeralda, at the beginning it was really hard. The investigators that we have aren't really progressing. One of the investigators that was progressing said that she didn't want us to pass by anymore, we told her thanks for her time and left. We contacted lots of people but have had a hard time finding them again.

Elder Carvajal and I prayed and fasted that someone would open their doors and accept the message that we have to share.  On Saturday we got a reference from a member and we passed by to see them. The Mom, Maria, immediately became interested. Her kids, Jocelyn, a friend Valentina (who is practically a member of the family), and Francisco also became really interested.

After talking for a little Maria, and the family in general started to open up a bit. Maria told of the struggle of being a single parent trying to support her family of 4 kids. We found out that one of her kids is going through the stage where they're having a hard time. We told Maria that the message we have to share would be able to help.

When we started to talk about The Book of Mormon and baptism. When we mentioned baptism Maria looked at us and said "I’ve never been baptized, and neither have my kids, what do we have to do to be baptized?" each one of the kids looked at us, as if each one of them had the same question. Surprised by what we just heard my companion and I looked at each other. Then we told her that they needed to pray and read the scriptures to know about it. Afterwards we invited them to church.

We had asked the member who gave us the reference to pass by for Maria and her family to take them to church. At church they didn't come. We asked the member, Hermana Betty, and she said that she had passed by and no one was home.

We passed by after church and Maria told us that she had slept in. she said she felt really bad that she didn't go, and it was obvious that she was telling the truth. We asked if we could pass by later that same day, Sunday, and asked her if it would be ok if Hermana Betty came with us. She said that that would be fine. We passed by later and talked again with the whole family. We found out that Maria had read the chapter we gave them the day before. We asked if she would like to hear about the story of the Book of Mormon and why we have it. She said she would so we started to share the lesson of The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we got to the part about the life of Jesus Christ my companion started to talk about baptism. He mentioned why we need to get baptized. He told them plainly that WITHOUT baptism we CANNOT live with God. We then talked about the Holy Ghost and how he can bring the peace that they're looking for. We asked them how they felt right then. Valentina (the daughter's best friend) said, is like... umm... uh I can't explain it. We read the scripture in Galatians 5:22-23 about the fruits of the spirit and asked them if they could feel any of those things right then, (love, joy, peace... etc...) right then Valentina (the daughters’ best friend, pretty much her sister) said "YES that is how I would describe it!" Maria looked at us and said "I don't want this feeling to leave. I want to always feel like this." we told her that that feeling is the Holy Ghost and if she is baptized she can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and have that feeling with her all of the time.

We then extended the invitation of being baptized. Because it was only the second time we've talked with them (not to mention the second day we've known them) we asked them if they would be baptized on the 2 of October. Maria immediately said 'yes' and one by one each of the kids, Valentina included. The spirit at that time was SO strong. I can't remember a time in my life that I’ve felt it so strong. We took the time to tell the entire family that God knows that this path will bring happiness and joy but Satan also knows that and he doesn't want them to be happy. He wants them to be "miserable like unto himself". We let them know that they can always pray and read the scriptures for help. Or go a couple of houses down and ask Hermana Betty for help. Or even call us.

At the end of the appointment we asked Maria to say the prayer. It was the first time she's prayed but you couldn't tell. For all of us she said Thanks for this moment. And then while pausing prayed sincerely for help to be able to be baptized. That she could do the things that she needs to keep going. By the end of the prayer she was crying, along with everyone in the room.

I now understand the words of Alma. "And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." I know that that is true. The joy that I felt yesterday I can't explain with words. But I know that if I keep doing by best. because I know that I can do better. A little better every day, I'll be able to have more experiences like that.
¡¡¡LLEVEMOS LAS!!! (meaning "bring them" in response the other people say "al cordero" so really it means "Bring them, to the shepard" a phrase that President King has always said. haha he yells "Llevemos las" and we yell "Al Cordero")

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