Here's Dallon's letter from January 23, 2012.
Just a quick comment. I can tell he's really getting his Spanish up to speed because he's losing his English. Note some of the grammar and spelling errors! I remember doing the same when I was getting immersed in Italian but it was much later in my mission.
So this week I had my first baptism!!! It really was an amazing experience, and I can´t tell you the spirit of joy that I felt. Simply to incredible to describe. We got everything ready just after Sacrament meeting so the font would be filled after church was over. Then during Priesthood we left a little early, Jair and I, to get changed. It was kinda nerve racking! In the bathroom, when I saw myself all in white with the plaque, it was like...wow. I´m really doing this. I´m really a missionary, and I was able to be the tool in the Lord´s hands for Jair to be baptised!
The baptism went really well! Kinda difficult to say Orlando Jairhizno Peña Silva, but I did. :) I did mess up the first time with the prayer, I said ´te bautizo´ instead of ´YO te bautizo.´ Same meaning, but I had to redo it of course! It was really incredible...I included a picture of us there. :)
After the baptism, Jair bore his testimony. It really is incredible to see the change in him. He talked about how when we first came he had absolutely no interest. VERY true. Elder Turcious and I both didn´t think anything would happen. However, with each visit he said he started to have more desire. He noticed something with us. He noticed the spirit. Then he started to pray more fervently and read the Book of Mormon. He bore testimony that he knows that this is the only true church! So incredible to see. It was awesome!!
That same day also happened to be Elder Turcious´s birthday! He turned 24.
It´s really the best birthday present to have a baptism, but he also got a cake from Hermana Victoria, our pensionista! I have a picture of that too.
It was really delicious chocolate cake.
We also had a suprise this week of a visit from President and Sister Chipman! Sister Chipman showed up just before lunch to do a room inspection! Other than our bathroom...we´re clean! But the bathroom is kinda hard when you don´t have water for weeks...we bought stuff to really deep clean it today though. That will be nice!
President Chipman came that afternoon, and we actually went proceliting with him! It was really an incredible experience, to see how he teaches. He can teach everything so simply, anyone can understand it! The other thing that he does is he tells people the power of our calling as missionaries.
It really made it all seem so much more important and incredible. I think the people we taught could feel that as well.
We encountered a really catholic lady that day...her name is Eliadora. She was interesting!! We ended up teaching the Restoration, and she actually seemed to accept it! Her one question was why the Catholics don´t have the Book of Mormon. Well, President Chipman explained that part, and told her, very boldly, that the Catholic church had changed things. They kept back scriptures and changed doctrine during the apostacy. That´s why they don´t have it, because Christ couldn´t change the Catholic church because they had rejected it. She really seemed to get it! Unfortunately...she didn´t.
The very next day Elder Turcious and I went back. For sake of time...I´m copying part of my letter to the President about her...
*We ended up teaching one of the ladies we taught, Eliadora, I don´t know if you can remember her or not, but she was super catholic, and was going to talk to her preacher. She didn´t get the chance to talk to him, but when we taught her she still had the question of why the catholic church doesn´t believe in the Book of Mormon.*
*I think that was a really pivotal lesson for me. I explained to her how the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith, so if the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet. When she understood that, I pointed out the fact that they don´t believe in Joseph Smith, so that´s why they don´t have the Book of Mormon. She really understood that and accepted it even. She even seemed to have a bit of a belief in what we had taught.
However, when we read Moroni 10:4 and talked about what real intention was, she got really upset. She talked about how she is NOT going to change her religion, even though I hadn´t even hinted at that. We ended up asking her to pray more, and try to have more faith and real intent before we left.
She doesn´t really want us to come back, I think mostly because she´s
*That´s one thing I´m beginning to learn. There are a lot of catholics that are scared to change because it´s a tradition. I´m really trying hard to understand their position, and be able to show them the truth and ease them into this transition, because I know it must be difficult. That lesson with Eliadora really helped me in that way.* Anyway...she really had an effect on me. That lesson was intense. I´m sure you´ve had a ton of experiences like that dad, with people that just are scared to change!
Hmm...k! So now I´m going to try to answer various questions...but I have so much more to tell you!! I´ll try to be quick...
Sam, and anyone else who´s interested...: As far as music goes, we listen to all of the above! Motab, EFY, the Best Two Years is a favorite on¨Pdays...(Thanks Jen!) Motab by far is the best though...the spirit is so much better with that kind of music!
Dad: The language is actually a LOT better now! I can understand practically anyone, and can communicate my ideas. I´m still having a little problem with pronunciation and conjugation, but the people understand me.
President Chipman even complimented me! :) I felt really good after that, but I´m still working hard to perfect the accent and learn new things.
Funny that you should ask about dreaming in Spanish...last night I dreamed I went home to grab some more CD´s and a CD case! I talked to both you and mom, and some neighbors, in Spanish! Kinda weird hearing your voices in Spanish...don´t know that that will ever actually happen! But I´ve been dreaming in Spanish since the CCM. Not every night, and occassionaly it´s Spanglish, but it´s still cool!
Mom: THANK YOU for writing your conversion story! I know that it is impossible to communicate your feelings, but by trying I think that anyone who reads it will be able to feel the power of your testimony. Also, even just the circumstances are incredible to know. It really means a lot to me to know how things went, and all that. Also! Kinda random...but I got a letter from Anne Wilson last week!! She talked about your baptism day...just makes me want to read it in your own words that much more! ;) I´m going to write her back today...it was really cool to get a letter from her.
Also...very sorry to hear about your fall. :( You gotta be careful!! I know that Heavenly Father is protecting you while I´m gone, but it´s tough to hear about that stuff. Just make sure you keep both feet flat underneath ya. ;)
OH! I need to explain all the pictures, huh? Sorry this letter is all over the place! My mind is all over the place!
So there´s one of Jair, and also there is one of his family. From left to right is Cindy (baptised by Elder Turcious before I got here), Hermana Sulma (less active for years...but she´s coming now!), and then Jair! The tall white guy just kinda showed up...but he looks kinda like me ;), and then Elder Turcious of course!
There´s also a picture of me with a saw! That was a day that we helped a member make a table randomly. I gotta say...their idea of construction is a lot different that Dad´s! I felt like we needed to measure it more than once, and the cuts were pretty horrible that they made...but then I took over. ;) Dad, I think you´ve trained me pretty well! I wasn´t hesitant with the hand saw, but it came pretty easily. The wood is so thin and flimsy anyway...it was cake.
Then you can see the picture of me on a very...safe...ladder. Not going to lie, I was pretty scared! That ladder was old, and I´ve gained weight since I got here! Anyway, we were helping Gustavo, one of our investigators, put up a mosquito net for his daughter Priscilla. I was the only one tall enough! He actually has a real house! Kinda cool...
There´s one of Elder McDonough and Turcious, mostly cause I thought it was cool. :)
The last one is Elder Turcious with a birthday gift he got from one of the ladies that he baptised with his old companion!
Wow! Time flies...sounds like the NBA is going as usual! Kobe is incredible sometimes...and I´m glad to hear the Jazz actually play as a team! That´s a nice change. As far as whoever picking up where Jimmer left off...what do you mean??? He´s actually good??
Well, I kinda need to go. We´re writing early today because we´re going to the lighthouse this afternoon! Hopefully I´ll get some cool pictures.
I love you all! Remember that I´m praying for you every night. I hope everything is well with Chelsey´s surgery...keep me updated!