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Monday, December 17, 2012

Mud, cookies, soap and hand sanitizer

This week was amazing!!!

We have been teaching George´s mom, her name is Raquel. She has always been super friendly and supportive of George getting baptized so we invited her to listen to us a couple weeks ago. She denied the first time and told us bluntly that "she was going to die catholic." We were kinda disappointed because we really thougt that she was going to want to listen. Then a week letter we felt like we should invite her again. She had come to church two weeks in a row and we could tell that she liked it alot. So we invited her again and this time she accepted, and we taught her the Restoration. She actually already knew alot about the church because her husband is a member but he passed away 3 years ago. We taught her and she said that she had actually wanted to start getting closer to god for a long time, but the catholic church hadnt ever helped her do that. (she never even went to church there.) But she said that she wanted lots of time to think about making the change. We invited her to be baptized on the 22 of december and she declined. We passed by later and she told us that she was starting to drink less coffee in the morning and she had read the book of mormon and prayed. She said that she had felt really peacfull but that she had a ton of doubts. So we answered alot of questions and that helped her alot. We continued teaching her and invited her to join the church several times, but she never accepted, but we felt like she was getting closer and closer every time. So this week on wednesday, we decided to use an object lesson to just kinda drive the nail home and help her have the desire to be a member of the church. Its something that I had done in district class before and we decided to use it with Raquel.

We brought mud, cookies, soap, and hand sanitizer to her house and taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ. (George was there too so we had him do the activity too) We told her to put mud all over her hands, and the mud represented sin. then we opened the package of cookies and told her that it was eternal life, but she couldnt "partake" of it because her hands were covered in mud. So we took her throught the steps of the gospel so she could clean her hands from the mud (or her life from the sins) With each step of the gospel, we read a scripture that explained the step and we testified and asked her lots of questions to get her thinking. We invited her to repent, or to starte to clean her hands, and we gave her a squirt of dish soap so she could start to wash. Then we invited her to be "baptized" in the sink, and we told her that as she washed her hands she had to think of all the sins that she had ever comitted, and how it felt to wash everything away. She washed everything off and after we gave her a few drops of hand sanitizer, (the holy ghost) because the holy ghost purifies us of sin. Then we invited her to eat a cookie, or partake of eternal life. The spirit was incredibly strong and the activity really helped her see the need to get baptized and clean our lives of sin. We sat down after that and talked a little bit about how she had felt, and she told us that she felt it was time that she needed to make the decision to be baptized. We were almost surprised when she told us, we tried not to show it too much or let our jaws hang open, haha. We invited her for the 22nd but she said she was going to be out of we invited her for the 15th, which was in 3 days... She said "the 15!!?" and then sat there for a second thinking about it. After a little pause, she accepted!!!! We could not believe our ears. We all just started crying. We told her that because of this decision, she was going to be able to see her husband again, and live with her family forever. She is such a special lady, and has had a ton of trials in her life. After getting to know her and so well, I was crying inthe lesson because I was so grateful for the chance that I have to see a change so drastic in the life of someone I have come to know and love, and to be able to work with the spirit to watch the change in her heart.

That morning, I had read a scripture that talks about how the Lord promises his misionaries that " the spirit and angels will be on your right hand and your left to bear you up". That morning we prayed so hard that we could have angels and the spirit to help us teach she we could touch Raquel´s heart. We didnt do anything, we just presented the message,but I know that the room was absolutely full of angels and of the spirit so Raquel could accept the gospel. I´m sure her husband was there, rooting for her the whole time.

We baptized her satuday, in a baptismal service together with the sisters from the district, it was amazing to watch her face as she came out the water crying. She was confirmed sunday and says that shes a little nervous to be a member of the church because its a big change but shes willing and shes sooo excited and happy. What and amazing experience. I cant even believe it, we were so grateful and so happy to be apart of her conversion.

Its pretty hot here, It doesnt feel like Christmas at all, haha. I got all of your packages, thank you so much, I will open them on christmas!! I will scype you guys on christmas at 6:00 pm!! (in your time, here it will be 7:00 but wait for my call at 6:00 over there! I cant wait to talk to you guys its gonna be fun!! I love you all so much!! thank you for all that you do!

Mucho amor y feliz navidad,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pictures Dec 10, 2012

El templo

Que tal familia!!!

Wow what a great week!! We went to the temple and had the Christmas conference on wednesday, and it was incredible!

We had the temple trip on Thursday at 8 in the morning, so we traveled to Veracruz wednesday night and stayed in the offices. The temple was amazing!! After a whole year without going it was nice to be able to feel the powerful spirit of the temple again. I dont think i have enver felt the spirit so strong before. To be right in the middle of this wonderful work and be able to go to the Lords house during Christmas time was an experience that I will never forget! The temple is truly the lords house, he visits there and you can feel it. :) It was cool to go through the temple in spanish too!

After we went through the temple, we ate lunch with president and his wife and half of the mission (the other half had gone to the temple and eaten the day before.) The food was delicious, we had pasta, bread, something kinda like funeral potatoes (I was pretty happy about that, haha) and pork. Then we ate a cake that said "misión méxico veracruz" it was really fun to be all together as a mission, I got to see lots of my old companions and they are all doing great. After we ate we had the Christmas conference, President and his wife spoke along with his conselors. The messages were amazing and I feel so grateful to be able to be a missionary during christmas! They also gave us all key chains )i sent a picture of it) that have the mission name and year, and they are stars because they represent the star that appeared in the sky the night Jesus was born so the people could find him. They made a comparason (i tried 5 times to spell that word and I have no idea how...haha Im losin it) of how we as missionaries are like the star that appeared in the sky because we lead the people to Christ, it was neat. After the conference my companion and I had to stay in the offices for the night because Elder Serrano is from Honduras and had to go to some building to sign his visa so he isnt illegal. I woke up that day and realized that I had completed a year in the mission... So we took a picture of me in front of the Mission office sign, which I also sent. The time has just FLOWN by...I really cant even believe it. There has been so many ups and downs and great experiences in this first year. Like mom and dad told me, sometimes there are alot of trials and hardships, but I hardly even remember them. I only remember the amazing people and experiences Ive had, words cant express how greatful I am to have know so many amazing people, to have been able to help children of god be baptized and become members of the true church of Jesus Christ. I still have soooooo much work to do here in the mission, and soooo much to learn. The first year was perfect for me, I feel like I really am where I need to be.

Speaking of Christmas and everything, We are allowed to talk with the family for 45 minutes on the 24th or 25 of december. I can talk to you guys on Scype again, we just have to put a time and everything. I think around 6 or 7pm would be perfect, I dont know what day you want to do it. If you will let me know in your next emails it would be perfect!

We are teaching Georges mom, her name is Raquel. The first time we tried to teach her she told us she was going to die Catholic but we felt like we should talk to her again to we invited her to listen and she has just opened up completely. She has come to church 3 times, she has started to drink less coffee without us even asking her, and she is reading and praying. Her husband passed away three years ago so we have focused alot in the plan of salvacion. She says that seeing George change so much made her want to learn more. She hasnt accepted a date but we are getting her ready for the 22 of December. She is loving what she is learning and really has a desire to be baptized, just has some doubts and questions. We are excited to continue teaching her.

We have found some other great people this week, we worked a ton with the members, got lots of references, and did divisions with some priests to be able to teach more, it was a great week!!

I love you all soooo much!! Thank you for all of the emails, I am praying for you all and hope everything is going well!!

Mucho amor, Elder Eastmond

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pictures Dec. 3, 2012

Gloria and Blanca Esther

Wow this week was craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!!! But sooooooo good!!!

First of all, my companion was still a little sick this week, we checked his blood and he says he feels completely fine but the tests say that he had some problems... so he had to stay in the house all week long, poor thing. He has been dying to get out and work and see the sun and everything. He should be able to leave the house this week, he says he feels well rested and great. I was worried for him because he felt fine but supposedly he was really sick, but I gave him a blessing and we know that the lord protects his missionaries. The challange was that we had two baptism dates, Blanca Esther and Gloria. So we had to see them this week to help them be prepared and do their interviews and everthing. There are some recents converts in one of the other wards who we know really well and they are AMAZING!! They helped us sooo much this week. They have 3 priesthood holders in the family and so they did divisiones with us a ton this week. One of them stayed in the house with Elder Serrano and the other left with me. Some days we even brought my companion to their house with one of them and they put on church movies and church music and everything. We called their house "Hospital Moncada" (thats their last name) So turns out that we were able to visit everyone that we needed to and we had the most incredible baptismal service that Ive had in my mission!! Gloria, the lady who got married this last week, and Blanca Esther were able to get baptized and it was amazing! Soooo many people from the ward showed up and the members were so great to Blanca and Gloria, they made them feel so welcome and everything, it was awesome. The members helped us so much this week with divisions and stuff, we were really really blessed. I baptized both because Elder Serrano wasnt even supposed to leave the house but he had to come to the baptism, of course.

The baptismal service was amazing because I was sitting in the back and watching everthing and I noticed that there were a ton of converts there in the baptism. Some of them are ones that I had taught, others had know other missionaries but It was so cool to see and it really touched my heart that the Lord has given me the chance to be apart of this important work. To see everyone there that we had been able to find and teach and baptize, and that they were now there as members supporting the new converts was a special feeling that I will never forget.

Also, George was confirmed this sunday. His mom bought him a bunch of clip-on ties that he excited showed us when we went to his house this week, and he came to church with a white shirt and tie and shiny shoes, it was awesome! He is just happy as can be and already has a part in the primary program. His grandma continues to bring him to church, and is starting to be active again. And his mom has actually come two weeks in a row. She came the week of his baptism and also came this week. She is sooooo friendly but has told us serveral times that shes catholic and shes going to die catholic, but she doesnt even go to the catholic church. This week we are going to ask her what she likes about church and why she has been coming every week. :) I feel like something good is going to come from Georges example :)

This week we are going to the Temple!!! We are going to go on thursday and i am really excited. I am going to go with lots of questions and goals so I can receive answers to everything and receive lots of guidance for this coming year. Its been almost a full year since Ive been so I cant wait!

To answer a question from dad... a saying that I have picked up that I say without thinking now?? Like a frase in spanish? I always say, "no me diga" y "órdale pues" y "hijole!" and my companion is teaching me how to talk in "vos". It doesnt exist here but in honduras they use it all the time.

Stay off the sidewalks now that parker is driving!! I love you all and thank you for the prayers!!

Elder Eastmond