This week truly has been incredible for me! I have seen the hand of the Lord in this work, and am just super excited and grateful to be here. I know that He is truly preparing people to receive the gospel, and that as we make even just the tiniest efforts, He will magnify our efforts and the people we love will be able to accept and live the gospel.
This week, I was able to see how God truly does answer prayers, and that people can change. You all know that I have been teaching Ana and Nelly Berrù for quite some time now. Well, this week, I was able to see a very big change in Hermana Nelly! She has always been the more hesitant one. She never really believed in the Book of Mormon, and she always had a few doubts about going to church. Well, all that has changed!
This past week we invited her to do something very simple. First of all, we invited her to pray with her 13 year old daughter who has been pretty rebellious. We told her that instead of telling her that they were going to pray, she could ask her daughter to HELP her pray. A much humbler approach to the task of praying as a family. When we invited her to do that, I could feel the spirit super strong. The other thing that we`ve always told her and every other investigator is simple: read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
This week she actually did it! We walked in to see her, and her face was just glowing! Before we even began the lesson, she couldn`t help it, she just said, I`m going to be baptized! I could see just pure joy in her face. When the lesson began, she shared with us how she had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. Then, as was her custom, she decided to open the Bible to find her answer. God stepped in and led her to a passage that said something to the effect that the book was true. She said she could feel in that moment that the spirit was truly testifying to her that what she was doing was right. The Book of Mormon is true and she should be baptised! She also was able to pray with her daughter, Jimena, and is just seeing a ton of changes and blessings in her life because of her obedience to the commandments.
Now, she is very very excited for her baptism. She didn`t want to attend church before and felt a bit uncomfortable, but this Sunday she came with a completely different attitude, and stayed all three hours, just really ready to learn and be a part of the church of Jesus Christ! It was incredible to see the change in her.
We were planning on having her baptism, along with Hermana Ana, on the 21st of this month. However...another awesome suprise...Elder Waddell from the 70 is coming to speak to us elders! So, we have rescheduled for the 20th, a Thursday. The really amazing thing is that Felix, Ana`s son, will be baptising them both! I am so excited to see all of them dressed in white, entering into the waters of baptism. Michael, Ana`s husband, has also said that he thinks he`s going to be baptised before the end of the year! Before, he didn`t want hardly anything to do with us! He still doesn`t participate in family prayers, but his heart is definitely being softened and molded by God and the example of his family.
I know that this church is true. I know that the Holy Ghost is a very real influence in every single one of our lives. If we only just let Him in, we can truly be born again. Many think that baptism by water is when that happens, but I know, and testify, that the Holy Ghost really is a fire that we can experience even after making that sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father. He is a very real personage of the spirit, that influences all of the people around us, preparing them to receive these sacred ordenances.
After that amazing experience, I was also very grateful for this Sunday. It was my first reverent sacrament meeting since I have gotten to Sechura! It was just an incredible feeling. As I looked around, basking in the warmth of the spirit, I almost began to cry as I realized how much this little branch of Sechura has progressed in the short time I`ve been here. We still are missing many less actives. There are many that should be there that aren`t. However, it was still a very great experience.
A high councilment came to our branch this Sunday! The first one ever! After Sacrament Meeting, we discussed some of the things in Sechura that need a little help. I think he was suprised about some of the things that haven`t been happening, and I am excited to see the changes that are going to take place. We all have need for improvement, and the stake is really going to help train this branch up so we can become a ward, and even a stake! I honestly believe that in ten or fifteen years- even less- Sechura and la Union will become their very own stake, very seperate from Piura. We just need some more great missionaries and leaders!
I did send some pictures (finally) in this email! My companion there is Elder Castillo, by far the best companion that I have had so far. He`s teaching me so much...it`s truly incredible! Also, there`s a picture of me with a boat. Those boats are outside of tons of houses here! Some of them are smaller, and some bigger, but I really liked this one. :) I hope you like the Catholic Cathederal too! It is really pretty, I just wish they didn`t have so many Saints...it would be a lot prettier without them, I think.
Oh! I also had to take a picture of Mickey!! You may get to go to Disneyland without me family :( But I still have Mickey Mouse running around with me here in Peru!! Haha, I thought you`d enjoy that. :) It`s an elementary school door.
Well, I hope you all know that I love you! I am so incredibly grateful for every piece of information you send me! Oh!! Reminds me...whatever happened to our friends Obama and Romney? Are they still in it...or others are going? I remembered today that elections come up soon! Crazy...
Love you all! Hope to hear from you all soon! If my letters take forever, it`s not my fault! I got two letters from Chelsey and Tosha clear back from April two weeks ago...so basically the postal system isn`t the greatest on my receiving end! Paciencia, no mas!