From the Parent of a Missionary
I must say that this is probably the week that I felt the spirit strongest and feel the most satisfied as a missionary here in Guatemala. Even though we had our bad moments as well as the good ones, as always, I feel good.
First of all, the Christmas season is setting in, and everyone is starting to set up their tiny little Christmas trees and their little lights on their lime and avocado trees. We sing the Christmas hymns when we visit houses and I just feel ready to serve.
The main star of the week is Denis, the fifteen year old orphan who got baptized this week. We had a great lesson with him on Tuesday on the plan of salvation, and he got so much peace from knowing his purpose here in life and finding something to fight for amidst a life of turmoil. He told us that he read and prayed about the Book of Mormon (finally) one night alone in his room, and when he asked God if it was true, he said he felt a strong breeze at his back, even though his door was closed and everything. It was then that he realized it was true, and he said he felt a huge happiness fill his chest, and he walked around happy the rest of the day.
On Thursday we had his baptismal service (pictures are coming!). It was at 4:00, but he showed up at 3 with the family he is living with. We gave them a tour of the chapel and talked about the meaning of baptism. And when 4 o’clock rolled around, there was almost no one there. None of the ward leadership showed up, and we had more investigators than members. But I used my new iPod and put on some nice prelude music, and Elder Torres and I directed the baptismal service. I actually ended up directing the music and the meeting, as well as giving a talk, since our speakers didn’t show up either and since Elder Torres was doing the baptism. But it was a wonderful little service and I felt the Spirit there, testifying to all those present that Satan was losing, and one of God’s lambs was coming back into the fold.
Elder Torres and Denis went into the water together, and both of them were so nervous that they were shaking. Elder Torres started the prayer by saying “In virtue of the priesthood…” doh! He started again, and got the name wrong. On the third try he got the prayer right, but then Denis just fell back and “plop!” his leg shot out of the water. So on the fourth try they finally got it right, and they left the little font shaking with cold (since the font water comes from the church’s well).
While they were changing, everyone decided to show up. We literally had around 20 people come in that 5 minute window (which was at about 4:30). But then Denis bore his testimony and talked about how clean he felt, and he almost had me in tears. He got a huge welcome from the ward during our refreshments afterwards.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to confirm him. He was super nervous to go in front of everyone in the chapel, but I felt a great peace. When I laid my hands on his head, I felt like a channel for the Holy Ghost, and the words came to me without a problem. I know that we both felt the presence of the spirit. And luckily it was fast Sunday, so me, Denis, and Elder Torres all got up and bore our testimonies. Denis is going to be a strong convert, and I can’t wait to see him in 4 years when he can go on a mission.
We also made great progress with Marisela this week, who continues to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. She has told us that she feels a great peace when she prays, but it seems like she is waiting for a big instantaneous answer to her prayers. With her it’s only a matter of time before she realizes that she already knows it’s true.
Antonio, another investigator, also made huge progress this week. I think I mentioned last week that he came to Church all one his own, and we took up the opportunity to teach him this week. He came to Denis’s baptism and we had a couple of great lessons, and he has already told us that he wants to get baptized and be the example for his family. He really wants to turn his life around, and we are here ready to help him accept Christ in his life. Plan on more news of his baptism sometime in December! I see every day how the Lord is guiding us to the people who are ready to change and accept his Gospel.
I had a couple more interesting experiences this week. Most importantly, I got a new Rubik’s cube record: 31 seconds. That’s what I call boss. I also tried Menudo for the first time this week, which is basically cow’s stomach that has to be boiled for three days to be soft enough to eat. I had to smother it in sauce and eat it rolled up in tortillas to be able to swallow it and get past the gag reflex. But hey, anything to not offend the members here! I also may have sprained my ankle this week playing soccer with some kids in a little field. I juked around Elder Torres and totally owned him, and then my foot landed right in a little dip and I felt a nice little pop. But don’t worry Mom, I put some arnica cream on it and now I’m all better. I also really enjoyed the Christmas Devotional last night in one of the member’s homes, even though it isn’t the same listening to a translator rather than the real voice.
I hope everyone can feel the same love I have felt for other people this week during this upcoming Christmas season. The Lord really loves all of his children, and I have felt his Spirit testifying that this week more than ever. I know this Church is true and is what can help us change and accept Christ’s love in our lives. My new favorite scripture is 2 Nephi 1:15. “But behold, the Lord has redeemed my soul from hell; I have seen his glory, and I am wrapped forever in the arms of his love.” I have felt it — have you?
Have a good week.