Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baptisms last Saturday

Hey hey hey! ¿Qué tal todos? ¿Cómo les va este día? Les amo mucho y quiero que todos sepan de eso; además, quiero que todos estén bien de salud, ánimos, y el Espíritu. Les doy mi testimonio sincero que este Evangelio es poderoso. Jesucristo vive y nos ama muchísimo, de tal modo que sufrió y murió para salvarnos del pecado y la muerte. Les testifico que Él tiene el poder - y el deseo - de sanarnos, de quitarnos nuestros pecados y de ayudarnos al enfrentar las tentaciones y pruebas del mundo. Quiere que vengamos a Él porque tiene la manera de ayudarnos con tristeza, desesperación, y carga. Ruego que podamos recordarlo siempre y usar lo que nos dejó. Les testifico que José Smith restauró de nuevo la plenitud del Evangelio y la autoridad del sacerdocio, y que Thomas S. Monson es guiado por Dios hoy en día.

I like starting the letter in Spanish, and even more so with a testimony. Miranda, how much do you understand? Mom? Gabbie? Reagan? Nikka? :)

I do hope everyone is doing well and exciting about the week that's beginning. From the email, it sounds like that's the case.  First off, I forgot to mention this last week, which I was planning on doing, but - happy anniversary, Mom and Dad! :) How was it? What did you do? I hope it was a good day. 21 years of marriage. Happy Anniversary, and here's to another 21 years.
The highlight of the week was the baptism and confirmation of Victor, Sergio, and Diego Perez Trujeque. I had the opportunity to baptize all three of them and it was a really neat experience. We taught them almost every single day last week, making sure they were ready for baptism and trying to figure out a good way to teach them the Law of Chastity and things like that. We did up an awesome program and had a pretty good turnout. On Sunday the bishopric confirmed them, and they're now officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's an amazing feeling to have been a part of this change in their lives and to have helped them get to this point. They've taught me a lot as well, and I'm really grateful for the whole experience. We're going to keep teaching them and helping them learn and progress.  It made me think about the covenants I made eleven and a half years ago and want to keep them more completely from here on out.

Along with that is something cool we found out Tuesday or Wednesday when we were teaching them and talking to their mom. As you know, she cannot get baptized until she marries the man she's been living with for years.  They are a family, and so of course it would be wrong to break them up - but we need to help them get things in order first (sometimes it's difficult to get things legal down here with messy paperwork, past marriages, non-official divorces, etc).  Anyway - we were talking about how much their family is changing and how they're really taking the Gospel to heart, and she told us that we are angels sent to help her and to help her children.

Then she said more or less the following: "You two have been a literal answer to my prayers. Two weeks ago, I came home one day and found that everything was a mess and that they had done nothing to help out. Victor ran off to an arcade and the other two were playing soccer in the street and fighting. I started washing dishes and trying to clean up the enormous mess. I was very frustrated and angry; I felt like I couldn't take another minute of trying to deal with them. I prayed and asked God to send me something that would help me and them - something, anything, but that it come quick because I was at the end of my capabilities. I heard someone calling at the door and went out to see who it was, still feeling exhausted and desperate. I found you two at my door. You greeted me with a smile and told me that Jesus Christ had sent you to help me. You testified to me of a prophet on the earth who gives us revelation to help us in our lives. I knew at that moment that God had answered my prayers and called for my kids." By the end of the story, she was crying, and I felt like doing so as well; the Spirit was so powerful in that room. I felt it so strongly and truly rejoiced in the mercy and goodness of God, in the chance to be a messenger and a vessel for the truth, for the chance to be that answer and to help this family find their way in the world. This has been the most spiritual and powerful experience of my mission so far, and something that I'll remember forever. It's infused me with even more desire to work hard, testify, and be that missionary that God called me to be, so that I can have more experiences like that - for me and for my family, but also for the people whose lives I can influence and affect. Truly this has been something of a miracle, and my testimony was definitely strengthened by hearing these words. Very cool. :)

The husband drinks a ton, but I've never heard him talk about anything that wasn't related to Christ or God or the Bible, and he always encourages his kids to read the Book of Mormon and pray, so we might be able to work with him and get them married. He's quite an interesting character. Anyway, we'll just have to pray hard and see what happens.

Answers to some questions:

Do you knock doors / how does that go / does rejection bother you?
Most of the time when people don't want to listen they say, "Oh, but I already read the Bible" (to which I want to respond, and your point is? - but of course never do), or, "I would like to listen, but right now I'm about to leave" (when it's obvious that's not the case since the last ten people said the same thing, not one of them has left their house yet, and the person is in their pajamas watching tv), or "Well, I'm Catholic/Protestant/Evangelical/etc" (I want to tell them, yeah, that's the point - that's why we're here - but again, I never do).

Sometimes getting rejected a bunch is a drag, but I've found that I really enjoy contacting when it's done with a testimony and when I have the Spirit with me. If I think about it in the right light, it's a lot of fun. I've had some insults/comments shouted out at me in the streets (once about wearing glasses that day, but mostly about being American), but so far nothing serious. Sometimes, though, we're in the middle of a lesson and out of the blue they ask, "You're not from around here, are you?" It's kind of funny because it's happened not infrequently. It's like, hey, pay attention! :)

I'm fairly tall for here - 90% of the people are shorter than I am by at least four inches or so. There are a few tall ones, though, so I don't stand out too much for that. We have Domino's in our area (delicious!) and there's a Carl's, Jr. and a Dairy Queen nearby - and a McDonald's somewhere around here too. That's what I've seen so far.

Well, hey, I think the cyber's about to close. Have a good week and thanks for everything.
Love you all!
Elder Greer

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