Thanks for all the emails and letters. So, while Zoey really isn’t a Spanish name [for our new puppy], at least it is short for a Spanish name [Zorrita]...so I am satisfied with that. Good to hear that everything is going good back home and that you had a fun Halloween. Any pics of the costumes you can send me? [I think I’ll have to send him this: our very own rocket scientist YM President is now famous for his Halloween costume that has gone viral, see it here:
They don’t really celebrate Halloween here. They celebrate the Day of the Dead. where they honor the dead family members, or in other words they go to the cemetery and spend a little time with them..some people leave them their favorite food and drink and a lot of people spend the whole day there kind of like a party. I just thought you would be interested in that. It is celebrated the 1st and 2nd of November.
And yes, it is less than 2 months before we get to skype again...about 8 weeks now. So that´ll be fun. Also, good to hear from you as well Tyler. Any pics from BYU? Too bad for BYU and the NBA. Hopefully theyll get back on track. And no, I do not get to see my blog. We can only go on [our mail account] and that´s it. We can´t even go to LDS.org. However, numerous new missionaries recognize me as the ¨guy with the blog¨. Because, just as I did, as soon as they get their mission call, they google the mission. And apparently my blog is the first thing that comes up...so I am pretty famous among the new missionaries haha.
As for the week. It was a challenging one. Made me stretch, made me trust in the Lord and it humbled me a bit...but very rewarding in the end.
I´ll first tell you about an interview that I did that went REALLY well. and then I´ll tell you about one that I did right after that went REALLY badly.
So I went to Santiago to do interviews on Thursday. I did 5 of them. The 3rd one I did was with a 14 year old girl named Carla. She knew that baptism was important but she just didn´t want to do it for one reason or the other. If I´ve learned one thing as I´ve done interviews for baptism it is this : rely on the Spirit, and help them to feel the Spirit, if I don´t do that, They will NEVER get baptized, no matter how many scriptures I read to them. So after testifying to her, we prayed together. She was able to recognize the spirit as she prayed and asked if she should get baptized on Sunday. At first she was reluctant to get baptized but, after talking about the answer that she received, she knew that it was something that she needed to do. She got baptized on Sunday and joined her Mom as a member of the church.
Now for the bad one. It started off easy. An older guy. He wanted to get baptized. Started the interview, everything was going smoothly. We got to the question that is a little more awkward than the other ones. It talks about more serious sins such as abortion, serious crimes etc. I have to ask them about those serious sins and if they have committed them before because the President has to interview them if they have. Well, he committed one of them...a long time ago. And he didn´t want to talk to me about it. I explained repentance and that we only want to help him. He just needed to tell me a little bit more about the circumstances so that I could tell President about it. He kept telling me to move on to something else. I told him again that to fully repent, he would need to let us help him with it, so that he could be baptized on Sunday. He then promptly told me to get out of the house...and after a little more talking he kicked me out of the house and told me he would just search another church. It hurt. Really broke my heart that night. It was the only thing on my mind, I pondered the situation over and over again, desperately thinking of something I could have done better in the interview. I prayed a lot, asking for forgiveness and asking for him, hoping that he would know that we were just trying to help him out with something that was obviously a tender subject. The missionaries have not been able to find him since, hopefully they can find him this week.
Ok, so on Sunday morning I woke up, and everything was looking good. But as we were about to go out the door to pass by for investigators to go to church we get a text. The person that was going to get baptized, told us that he wouldn´t be able to, so that we shouldn´t pass by his house to go to church. Another thing that I´ve learned on the mission: You have to be stubborn. We had already arranged that I was going to pass by for all the people going to church with a priest, and that Elder Laguna would go for Abraham...who was going to get baptized. I put my trust in Elder Laguna to go and get the kid to church so he could get baptized. Do whatever it takes. I went and brought a new family to church (We had 5 at church) and there I waited for Elder Laguna to arrive with our baptism. The meeting started. No sign of him yet. The sacrament got passed. Still no. All of the people gave there talks and still...nothing. The whole time I was praying, asking Heavenly Father to bless Elder Laguna and Abraham. After the closing prayer I sent the investigators off to class and I found Elder Laguna in the hall....with Abraham!!!!! I found a room in the church to say a prayer thanking Heavenly Father for the help and for huge blessing. Elder Laguna told me afterwards that Abraham´s dad and brother really did not want him to get baptized and wouldn´t let him go (his older sisters are both members however). Elder Laguna said that after talking with the brother and the dad for like an hour...they still weren´t gonna let Abraham go...and just when Elder Laguna was about to leave without Abraham...Abraham left his room, went up to his dad and told him ´Dad, I want to get baptized¨ His Dad was taken back a little bit, went to the room and talked with Abraham for bout 10 minutes, and Abraham left and went with Elder Laguna and got baptized. It was a miracle. Abraham, a 14 year old quiet, shy kid stood up for his belief and for his desire to follow Christ. I have no doubt that the Lord heard our prayers and blessed Abraham with the strength and courage to do what was right. One more person has entered into the sacred covenant of baptism with our Heavenly Father.
I love being a missionary.
And this is my joy.