Monday, September 6, 2010

First family to be baptized!

Jun 28, 2010 (Manuel, Monica, and Valeria)

I am so grateful for an awesome family and all the support I have while I'm here serving in Chile. It has really been a wonderful week, one of the greatest that I have had here in the mission. The Lord has truly blessed us with opportunities to lift and bless His children, and this is what brings me joy. In Preach My Gospel, the First Presidency makes an awesome promise to missionaries, that while we serve the Lord with all of our heart, might, mind and strength, we will find greater satisfaction and joy than any other time in our lives. And it's true! I don't have too much time to write, but I'll try to share a few neat experiences from this week.

First of all, we had an awesome baptism this week, the first family that I have ever helped receive a testimony and be baptized in the church. The brother is Manuel Segura, his wife is Mónica Ángel, and his daughter is Valeria. Their other daughter, Jerally, is really funny and wants to be baptized too, but she is only 7 years old and thus will have to wait a year. The baptismal service was incredible, the most spiritual baptism that I've had in the mission. We had 23 people go to the baptismal service, which is incredible attendance since we usually have around 20 people in all at Sacrament Meeting. The talks were done perfectly, and I played a short viola piece ("I need Thee every hour"). After the baptism, Elder Dinamarca, our district president, spoke. His words always touch the hearts of all who are present and listen.

Sunday was also incredible as I had the privilege of confirming the entire family members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After partaking of the Sacrament, I invited Manuel, Mónica and Valeria to share their testimony and feelings, and when they did, the spirit poured into our meeting. Manuel said that when he was baptized, he felt like the prodigal son who, after going wayward for some time, was back in the arms of a loving Father. He said that he felt the arms of the Father wrapping around him and telling him that he was pure. The other testimonies were just as heart-felt.

And what's more, a new investigator went to church after we invited her to go. We shared a message with Margaret just recently, and then we started teaching her husband as well. When we came by this week, Margaret's dad was at the house because he was going through a marital crisis and needed some time to think. We read in 2 Nephi 31 and Margaret's father felt the spirit and a great change in his heart. He left his daughter's house, went to his wife, and saved their relationship and their family. This great miracle really caught Margaret's attention and helped her feel the truthfulness of what we were sharing.

At church, Margaret felt a great peace enter her heart as she heard the testimonies born. Our district president's wife, Hermana Dinamarca, spoke, and it was just what Margaret needed to hear. As we visited with her after the meetings, Margaret told us that it was the first time she had ever attended a church other than the Catholic church. She was raised Catholic and was raising her children in the same church. They are actively involved in all of their church programs. Margaret told us, "This is going to be really difficult, because I've always been part of the Catholic church! But I can't deny what I have felt. I just need to ponder and pray." I am looking forward to keep working with her and her family because they are really amazing! I know that the Lord is working miracles in this work, and His hand is blessing His children one at a time. We are witnesses of this, and what a great blessing! I feel so humbled to see the Lord allowing us to be instruments in His hands, and it truly is the greatest experience I have ever had. It has brought such great satisfaction in my life.

Cesar, our other investigator who went to church, told us that he's more sure than ever that he wants to be baptized. He had really spiritual experiences at the Segura Ángel family's baptism and confirmation, and he has felt a great change in his life. He told us that he can't stop smiling now that he's made the determination to be baptized, and he has a very strong testimony. We have seen great changes in his life, as well as the life of many other investigators that we have, and I feel so blessed to be here and serve the Lord and my Chilean brothers and sisters. Cesar will be baptized this Saturday, July 3rd, and it should be great! I am very excited for the miracles that the Lord has granted in our little town, Diego de Almagro. I know that this is His great work! Just imagine it: the Lord has provided our branch with two future priesthood holders. Our goal is to have a local branch president in the little town, and we've almost reached our goal with these baptisms! We'll be working with and strengthening our new converts, and I know that they will be strong new members of the church.

I really love being here in the mission. Every day consists of little miracles just linked together. Many times, I feel like we're just here to help link the miracles that the Lord is already preparing. It's a wonderful yet humbling experience. I am really trying to take advantage of this final part of my mission as well, because I know that the Lord can now make use of the experience that He has granted me these last two years to be a more effective missionary and representative of Jesus Christ.

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