Well I've officially been out over 3 months now and one week until I've been here in Salt Lake for a full transfer (Transfers are next Wednesday).
Ok so first off, I did get the cake. We just had to go pick it up at the Mission office, but thanks a bunch Grandma and Grandpa!! We will definitely be enjoying it over the next week or so. [Grandpa Bruce and Grandma Joyce are heading south for the winter (although they stayed a week too late by the looks of the pictures below) so Grandpa baked Justin and his companions a cake before they took off and was going to secretly leave it on his doorstep. However, when he got to the address, it was a chapel so it stymied him a little bit. Fortunately he located some kindly sisters who promised to get it to Justin. Looks like they kept their word instead of grabbing a fork!]
Second, Dad, I don't think you're allowed to send stuff straight to my house that I live at, so sorry about that. Also, “always” is “siempre” in Spanish, just so you know mom. Also thanks so much for all of the pictures Mom, and congrats for beating Hart, Tyler...In their faces (*cough* Cassandra *cough* Elliot *cough* Sister Sarmiento)
So as for the week, I'll start with weather. It's getting a little cold here. It started raining and getting pretty windy over the weekend, and it also was pretty rainy yesterday as well. The mountains were getting a lot of snow. And then this morning we woke up, and found about an inch of snow on the ground. Elder Romero was super excited and went out and started throwing snowballs (its his first time ever seeing snow). In a couple of weeks Elder Coulston and I have agreed that he won't think it's that cool anymore.
Ok so now to everything else....
So, Felix and Sandra ran into a little bit of trouble. They were not able to obtain a wedding license. So, they are not able to be baptized while they are unmarried and living together. We have been talking to them this week about waiting to live together until they are married, and we have committed them to pray about it so we'll probably see how their prayers went tonight. I know it might be hard for them to separate but if they make the sacrifice just for a little bit the blessings will come from following the example of Jesus Christ and being baptized. That's what we've been trying to help them to understand this week, so hopefully it will all work out.
We also continue to work with two other couples, trying to help them to get married. Carlos and Roxanna, who have a 1 year old son and Roxanna is actually an inactive member. Also, Jesus and Rocio who have a few kids and Rocio is actually a daughter of a fairly recent convert. We are teaching them about the importance of families and will hopefully be helping them take the important step of marriage this week sometime. [I hope they covered marriage and family counseling in the MTC…]
Hmmm...then we have a few other investigators we are working on and hoping they will progress more this week, but those are our most serious ones at the moment.
This past week we had stake conference and a mission tour which were both awesome. Stake conference was a regional stake conference which was broadcast out of the conference center to all of Salt Lake (70 something stakes). Elder David Evans of the Seventy spoke and also President Uchtdorf and the Primary General President. It was really good, and a lot of it was about missionary work which is pretty cool. The Spanish branch had a good turnout, they were overflowing the Relief Society Room where the Spanish translation was being broadcast. A lot of the talks were encouraging people to serve missions and start preparing for missions, and Elder Coulston was sitting next to Carlos Sanchez (our recent convert) and during the talks Carlos asked Elder Couslton if he and his wife could serve a mission someday....his family is great. We continue to see them at every church activity/meeting big or small. They are solid members.
We also had the mission tour yesterday. Elder David Evans (the same one that spoke on Sunday) of the Seventy was there again. It was great, he is a spiritual giant. We got there around 10:00, and he talked to us and trained us on stuff until about 4:30, with an hour for lunch in between. I know what you're thinking...wow what a long meeting, how terrible. But it really was great, I enjoyed every minute of it. We talked about the Doctrine of Christ (see 2nd Nephi 31), how to be bold and invite everyone to be baptized like the great missionaries of the scriptures (Paul, Alma, Amulek etc), how to get referrals more effectively, how to work with members better, the importance of the spirit and just how to be a better all around missionary. Really loved it and I learned a lot.
Hmmm....I can't think of much else to say. We continue to work hard and teach everyday. We're doing the Lord's work and you can see his hand in it everyday. Last night for example, we stopped by a lady named Mary de la Paz because she had called us earlier. Apparently she had been committed to baptism sometime ago but she didn’t because she got a job that took most of her time. Elder Coulston and I knocked on the door (Elder Romero was working with a member at the time), and we were planning on just setting up an appointment for the next day because it was already like 8:50 so we didn't really have time for a lesson. We set up an appointment for Thursday, and then we decided to pray with her. Since it was cold she invited us in. I said the prayer and while I was praying Elder Coulston got the prompting to commit her right then and there to baptism. after the prayer, he did it. The Spirit was so strong as he said the words and then gave here the commitment..."Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo al ser bautizada por alguien que posee la autoridad de Dios?" She started to cry. and She said that that is what she wants. She wants those blessings and she wants to make that decision in her life. We put her on date for the 13th of November. It just goes to show you how important it is to listen to the Spirit. We went in with the plan to get another appointment but the Spirit told us to do something different. We followed the prompting and now a daughter of God is preparing to be baptized.
I know this Gospel is true and that this is the work of God, he guides us and protects us as long as we listen to him and do the things he has asked us. Like it says over and over and over again in the Book of Mormon, if you keep the commandments of the Lord you will prosper in the land. The same goes for missionary work, as we are obedient and listen to the Spirit and work hard we see success. Because really, there is no way we could do this work with out Him. I love being a missionary and I thank everyone for the love and support.
And this is my joy (Alma 29:9)
Until next week