Wednesday, October 14, 2015

August 31, 2015 Baptisms in Casa Grande

     Here I find myself again writing this letter again and each week I try to come up with a new way to start off, or at least a different way to do so, but I wasn’t sure what to say this week so I wrote this sentence instead.  Something that’s come clearer week after week is just how much the Lord’s hands has been present here in Casa Grande in these past few months.  Like I wrote last week, maybe it hasn’t always been that clear in the moment, but I’ve come to see that “the Lord (has) poured out his spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds (and hearts) of the children of men…to receive the word.” (Alma 16:16) Coming to know prepared, chosen vessels like P__ and Y__, like E__ and A__, and many others, it’s been so plainly evident how the Holy Spirit prepares the way for a specific time and place and that nothing occurs for coincidence in the mission. Every step, every decision weighs into an ever larger infinite plan that I’m nowhere near to comprehending, but I am sure that people are truly placed in our path each and every day at precisely the right time and place many times resulting from sincere, humble prayer.
     Last Sunday, Elder Marshall who was my zone leader and roommate left to be trained as a new assistant leaving Elder Limaico (the other zone leader) with us. This ended up meaning that I was sort of the acting zone leader/district leader/trainer. It also meant I had to help him coordinate our zone P-day.  So naturally I ordered 6 pizzas and arranged for us to go do some activities like capture the flag in a field near our church.  It all worked out well though one of the elders fell and scraped his knee so I had to take him to my apartment in order to clean him up, so I missed the majority of the activities but it all went great.
     One family I haven’t mentioned before is the T___ family. The mother, B__, was more or less active when I got here and S___ her husband was completely inactive. They had a pretty rocky marriage and were far from happiness, at the point of choosing to separate. However, we have been working with them with the ward’s help in these past few months and complete change has occurred. They now hold daily prayer and scripture study, weekly family home evening, and actively participate in church. There is a completely different Spirit about their home now as they’ve chosen to truly live the gospel with pure intent.  They are even talking about getting sealed in the temple instead of separated. It’s been very rewarding to see the spirit of the Lord bless their lives so much since they chose to really live the gospel of Jesus Christ which gospel truly has the sure power to bless and bring together any family if they live it with all their heart.
     The Y___ family has such desires to bring their family together more through the gospel. Though helping J__ and R__ do so hasn’t been easy. Jose listened to the missionaries on and off for years and would tell his daughter to call him when they left.  Then he went to the Temple open house and everything changed. He felt something and was hungry for something better. He called us to visit him instead of running away in his mototaxi.  Since then the faith he has shown with Rosa has been extraordinary.  Such faith was necessary in the facing of a lot of opposition to the marriage and the baptism. I could easily make a sizeable list of obstacles they’ve/we’ve faced.  However, despite all that has happened, this past Saturday brought with it the memorable image of these 7 wonderful people dressed in white. The service was really touching since the members went out of their way to make it special.  We celebrated their marriage, their baptism, and Rosa’s birthday (which was the 30th ) at the same time! Now they’ve set their eyes firmly on the temple, and I pray with all my heart that they make it there in 1 year’s time. How merciful and wondrous is the Lord in allowing us to be instruments in bringing 4 families together through the gospel these past few months here in Casa Grande. What a tender mercy it’s been to see how God prepared “the hearts of the T__ family, the D__ Family, The A___ family and the Y___ family to receive His word.  
     Previously, I’ve mentioned L__ and his family who are super prepared and love the Restored Gospel and they have shown a strong desire to change for the better. They love the Book of Mormon and aren’t even scared of the word baptism. However, for the past 3 weeks, they’ve always said that they would go to church but then they would come up with a fairly insignificant excuse not to go. So when we knocked on their door this past Sunday, it was the same story, and L___ said that his wife was sort of sick and wouldn’t be able to go. Upon hearing this my heart sank and we started to walk to church, when my companion said, “shouldn’t we have offered a blessing?” I knew they probably didn’t know what that was, but I felt that my companion was right so we turned around and walked back. We knocked again offering a blessing and L___ said he would ask his wife. He reemerged saying they’d go to church. It was a surprise, but they later came to church and had a wonderful experience, the ward members enveloped them and made them feel comfortable. They later explained that they were scared of going to church for the 1st time, but now they wanted to go each Sunday! All because the Lord prompted us to go back and offer a blessing.  Well, that will wrap up this account  of my past week. I hope my English still makes sense, because I think in Spanish and then translate it.  I hope you all have a great week.


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