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Monday, April 2, 2012

Conference and Tania's Baptism

Hola Familia!

This has been the most amazing week ever!!

Conference was absolutely incredible!! We has our English room, which was in the Institute building just outside of the Chapel. It was me, Elder Thomson, and Elder DeFreese, (our district leader) because our zone was split up into two different chapels, and we were the only gringos in our half of the zone.

The best part (of the week and of the mission so far) was baptizing Tania in between the sessions on Sunday. It was INCREDIBLE!! She has been amazing to teach and watch grow and learn and gain a desire to follow her savior and repent of all her sins and be willing to change. To watch that all become completed (minus getting confirmed, we are going to do that next week) was the greatest feeling in the world. Elder Thomson baptized her, and to watch her face as she came out of the water, just with the biggest smile that she could muster was indescribable. Conference started at 11 in the morning, but we were there waiting at nine to get the keys and fill up the font, and Tania showed up at like 9:10, two hours early, because she was so excited for Conference and for her baptism.

She had a bunch of friends come from Tuxpan to watch the baptism, and it just made it that much more special because they are all members, and they were all hugging her and crying. We talked to her afterwards and asked her how she felt, she said that she couldnt put it into words how happy she was! She has yet to receive the Holy Ghost... cant wait to see how she feels after next week. This week had been really cool teaching her, because I guess she has really been feeling  guilty about some stuff that she has done in her past, so we had a really special lesson on repentance and how baptism was just going to take all of the burdens off of her shoulders, while we were talking about it her eyes just lit up. And after he baptism she was grinning ear to ear, because she was clean as can be, it is something I will never forget.

And then, there was the actual Conference talks, which were amazing. The theme to me (especially on Saturday) seemed to be service. Everybody talked about how the way to find true and lasting happiness is to serve others, and to serve God. When we are serving others, we forget about our own selfish needs and problems, and they just kind of take care of themselves or dont seem as big of a deal when we are helping other people.

I love when Dallin H. Oaks said, the symbol of the Catholic church is the cross... The symbol of our church is the lives of the people. So many people out here have their religions, but they dont really understand that a religion shoud be a way of life, not just calling yourself catholic or christian. I cant remember who said it, but someone said if your religion doesnt require you to sacrifice alot of you time efforts, and basically your life, is it really a true religion. Elder Bednars talk in priesthood session was incredible, that was one of my favorites. How men who hold the priesthood should be different than other men. I loved Elder Uchtdorfs talk about not judging other people. His bumper sticker quote was awesome: "Dont judge me because I sin differently than you." We were laughing pretty good about that one.

Another thing that I really noticed this time that I never really realized before was how simple all of the testimonies of the Apostles, the Prophet, and his counselors were. They never made their testimonies really wordy or complicated, they never do. But when you look at their eyes and listen to their testimonies, you can just feel the power and truth in their words, and when they say something like "I know that Jesus Christ lives, and loves every single one of us" you cant help but think to yourself, "yes, I know it too." It was so spiritually strengthening to be able to listen to the testimonies and words of all the servants of God this weekend. Pretty much every talk just felt like it was for me, Its pretty special to watch conference from a mission perspective.

We had a good number of investigators come to the conference, that was incredible to have them be able to feel that spirit and listen to the prophet. One family that came has been inactive for a while and they have a 9 year old girl named kasteny who hasnt been baptized, so we are worked with them right now, they have been coming to church again the last couple weeks and Kasteny (who cant read) is really excited everytime we come over to teach her. We give her home work to read with her little sister (who can read) so she can have the Book of Mormon help her build her testimony. She has a baptism date for the 14 of April.

We also found a really cool 21 year old named Gerardo last friday. The cool thing about it was that we prayed that morning that we could find someone really special and ready to take to conference with us (apart from our other investigators) that morning we went out, knocked 3 doors, and found him. He is married and has a one year old son, his wife wasnt home. We passed by his house to take him to Conference on Sunday and he wasnt there... we were kinda disapointed but it was a miracle that we found him and he is sooooo accepting and ready for this message. When we taught him on Friday, he kept telling us stuff like: I believe god has a plan for each one of us and wont ever give us any trials or challenges in this life that he wont help us overcome... Ya. Hes pretty ready to start taking the discussions, haha. We taught him the first lesson and comitted him to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, so I will keep you updated on his progress for this week next monday!

We also have a date for JalĂ­l this week, but he hasnt been able to get permission from his mom. We are praying for a miracle and trying to work with him and his mom to get permission.

I am loving life here, the mission is amazing! Its so hard but so much fun at the same time. I have never been so frustrated at times in my entire life, and at the same time I have never been so happy. I know with all of my heart that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, the only true church. I know that The prophet and apostles are called of God and are inspired to give us the direction that god wants us to hear. Jesus Christ lives, he suffered and died for us, and we only have to go to him for help when we need it!

I love you all so much!! Hope you enjoyed Conference weekend!!

Hasta Luego, con mucho amor!

Elder Eastmond

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