Monday, February 21, 2011

Jamie's Letter Feb 21,2011

Dear familia-
Stake Conference was really good. Pres and Hna Chipman came out and spoke to us. Pres Chipman gave a wonderful talk about the Atonement of Christ and about the prayers that he offered on the cross. It was so good (And the best part-I understood his Spanish! I love listening to the Spanish of other Americans...I understand it so much better!) It was similar to ours, except rather than special musical numbers, we all just sang songs in the middle. I'm glad things are going well at home.

The big news of my life this week is that we had 2 baptisms yesterday! Remember how last week I told you we had a bunch of young women we were teaching? Well two of them, (sisters), decided to be baptized yesterday. It's actually a fun little story. So about 2 weeks ago, Hna Lopez and I went tracting, knocking doors in an area of Monsefu that we had never been before. We knocked on the door, and a young woman answered. We told her who we were, and she said that her parents weren't home then. So we made an appointment to come back and teach them when her family was home. Well, we went, and found her mom and dad, and all of her brothers and sisters. (Oh-her name is Laura. Isn't that awesome!?) She's the oldest of 7 children. Her dad had to leave for work, but we taught Laura, Rosa, and their mom Maria about the Restoration. They really liked what they heard. We made an appointment to return-and invited them to church. And they came!! When we came back to teach them, we talked about baptism (this appt was last Tuesday). We invited them to be baptized, and Laura and Rosa said yes. Maria said she needed to talk to her husband. So we planned to have family home evening in their home on Thursday, where we would ask for the permission of their dad, (their mom already gave us permission). When we got there on thursday, Maria said her husband was home, but he didn't want to talk to us, because he is Catholic. Hna Lopez asked if we could just talk to him for 5 minutes, and he agreed. He came out, and he started asking us questions about the need for his daughters to be baptized again. We started to explain the Restoration, and what was supposed to be 5 minutes turned into 90 as we taught this family about the restoration, and the need for baptism by proper authority. The Spirit was so strong, and I knew the dad (Luis) felt the Spirit. We knelt down (on a dirt floor) and asked him to pray. It was such a wonderful prayer. He said that he was confused, and that he wanted to be a good example and leader of his home. It was amazing. He also said (other miracle for the week) that he knew that working on Sundays wasn't good-that it is good to work for 6 days and have 1 day for the Lord!

After this, we asked if he would give permission to his daughters to be baptized. He asked them if this was what they wanted. Laura said yes, and then Rosa said yes. Laura is so good. She is so strong. Anyhow, he gave us permission, and we have another appointment to meet with him and his family tomorrow! Hopefully the family can be baptized (they have a little baby with the chubbiest cheeks I have ever seen. I definitely am going to try and get a picture to send to you. :)

Anywho, they had their interviews on Saturday, and they both passed, and we almost ready to be baptized-they just needed to come to Stake Conference the next day. But then I guess something happened to their mom (She was sick or something) and Rosa had to stay home, so we weren't sure if we were going to baptize her or not. Laura came to the conference though. She loves the hymns and had a good time. When we went to go pick up Laura, Rosa was at their grandma's house. We weren't sure if Rosa was going to be baptized or not. Eventually, Laura and Hna Lopez went to pick up Rosa from her grandma's, and they were ready to be baptized.

We had to have our district leaders and our zone leaders come out to the baptism, because we had no other priesthood there. The branch president was at a fireside with the YSA, and for some reason his counselors weren't there...Our district leader, Elder Torrez, baptized them, and 2 other elders were the witnesses. We only have 11 members of the branch with the Melchezidek priesthood that regularly attend church. It really is sad. This is another trial of this area-getting members to love the converts. But we're really going to try to work with the members more, to help the members understand that the converts need a friend, need to feel welcome and support. It's so frustrating sometimes (but, I love that I'm frustrated with missionary work...kind of weird, but true!)

Anywho, after the baptism, Laura told Rosa that it was a good thing she (Rosa) came, otherwise she would have been baptized alone! It really was a great experience. We have a lot of work to do, but we have the Lord with us, and things will be okay. I thought it was cool that I baptized my sister :) (And Hna Lopez has a sister named Rosa, so it worked out perfectly!) We baptized our sisters! :)

On another note, I finally got the letter from Laura (my sister in the US) that she wrote to me on Dearelder...Jan 29. I got a bunch of letters today. Another American elder in the district was "upset" when I got a bunch of letters and there was nothing for him. He told me to wait for 2 more months, and then nobody would send me anything :) Good thing I have awesome friends and family! I also finally got letters from Erin for the first time-it was great! One of them was a little eaten up though... :( And tell Ilarene that I'm getting her dearelders and I'm loving those too (She said she was a little paranoid that I wasn't getting them. Don't worry. I am! Just 3 weeks after you write them :)

I know the Gospel is true. I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and that the Gospel has been restored on the earth in this time through our prophet, Joseph Smith. I know Pres Monson is a prophet. Missionary work is awesome! I love you all! :)

Hermana Williams

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