Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weekly Letter: June 8-14

The highlight of this week definitely was the baptism this last Saturday. We definitely had to work hard to get everything organized for the baptism, but in the end everything was worth it! The one thing that we didn't have to get ready was the investigator....the Lord did that from the beginning. From the moment we found her, she was already ready to receive the gospel in her life. She still had problems, she still had to change, but she never faulted in her faith. It didn't matter what we taught her, whenever we left a commitment, we had no doubts that she would say yes, and she always did.

I had the grand experience of baptizing her this first baptism in the field. Because of this, I was more than a little concerned. Thanks to my potent imagination, I kept on worrying about things such as not being able to remember the prayer in Spanish, forgetting her full name(believe me, with Latin-American names, it´s pretty easy), and, of course, not being able to lift her up again out of the water.

Unfortunately, we were a little late arriving for the service....thanks to a special meeting we had on Saturday in the afternoon. So, as we were rushing to arrive there for the service, I had all these concerns swimming in my head, and, on top of that, we were late for the service! However, upon arriving, and seeing the joy on her face, everything was okay. I was still a little nervous about the ordinance, but I prayed during the service for the comfort and the ability to do the ordinance.

The water was cold...of course. But Irene told me as she entered the font that it didn't matter, that she had waited long enough. Upon realizing this ordinance, she came out of the water, basically crying with joy saying: ¨I´m baptized! I´m baptized!¨ At first, I wasn't sure if she was upset because the water was so cold, but when she said that, I realized how sacred this ordinance is. The next day, Sunday, in the sacrament meeting, she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My companion had the opportunity to pronounce the blessing while I and the members of the bishopric stood in the circle.

After the services yesterday, we were actually able to eat at her house. She had signed up to have us for the Comida last week, knowing that it would be after her confirmation. It was beautiful what she described about her feeling and thoughts about the service. Later, one of her daughters was able to join us for the Comida. Irene has two adult daughters, the younger doesn't want anything with God or Religion, and the other has had a lot of experiences with Religions and is a hardened also, but much more open than the other.

The last time we had seen this older daughter was about three weeks before the baptism, when we first found Irene. During that visit, she basically bashed us up and almost yelled at us. However, Irene invited her to the baptism and to the Comida with us on Sunday.....we were a little nervous to say the least about how she was going to react with both. However, in the baptism, she was more than polite and actually was receptive to the messages in the service. But that was in public, so we were a little concerned what was going to happen during the Comida.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that she couldn´t stop talking about how well-organized and spiritual the Baptismal Service was. That was news for us, after arriving about 15 minutes late to the service. Thankfully our Ward-mission leader Hermano. Zepeda had prepared a great program, we really need to thank him, because I think that was the reason why she had such a good experience. We talked with Irene and her daughter about the Liahona magazine and read the article by Thomas S. Monson to the two of them. Both had a good experience with the message. Irene was receptive as usual, but so was her daughter! The only problem she has right now is that her husband, although he is allowing her to listen to us, isn´t allowing her to receive the missionaries in her home, or be baptized. But we keep our faith and keep trying, but I really believe that we´ve seen a miracle with her.

Speaking of miracles, I think the biggest miracles are the ones of the heart. Along with Mari-Teri(the daughter of Irene), we have also seen a great miracle with Gabriela Zavaleta de Orea. She and her husband have been more than receptive to the lessons and our messages. She loves going to church, and went to the baptism service this Saturday and really enjoyed it. Due to questions of the health of his grandmother, her husband has not been able to go to church and wasn´t able to go to the baptism either. He still is receptive and willing to be baptized, but I think his wife is light-years ahead of him in her desires to be a member.

After not being able to go to church last week, Gabriela asked her boss to give her all the Sundays off of work indefinitely....and he gave her permission! She was more than a little excited about the baptismal service and had a great time. Unfortunately, she caught a cold due to the rain, and had to stay home from church yesterday, but we contacted her after church and we´re going to keep visiting her this week. Even though she hasn't been baptized yet, people at work are already telling her that there´s a big change in her. When asked about the change at work, she attributed it to her new religion, the Mormon religion. She also attributes the change in her oldest son, to the gospel in her life. When we contacted them, both of them were heavy smokers, sometimes as many as six a day. But in this last week, she smoke less than that the entire week, and had two days when she didn't smoke at all...including Saturday, when she told us that she´s done smoking, and is getting ready to be baptised in two weeks.

Uriel, her husband, also has lowered his cigarette intake, he had a goal to be clean by this Sunday, but because he wasn't at church and was asleep when we passed by their house on Sunday, we weren't able to verify how it went. He also has a lot of desire to be baptized, but I think the fact that he wasn't able to go to church these last three weeks has been his weakness. Even though the reason is very noble, to take care of his grandmother, I know that the chapel can really multiply his progress, as it has with Gabriela. Right now, our Ward-mission leader, Hermano. Zepeda is trying to obtain a wheelchair so that the entire family, including the grandmother can go to church together.

I don´t have like any time now to write about the other investigators, and I haven´t been able to justice to how good this week went. I´ll try to write more about the others next week. Including a new-old investigator that we found by what appears to be sheer circumstance (but wasn't), who has had trouble committing to baptism in the past, but we´re working on helping her and her daughter to be baptized, and both of them have desires to be baptized.

But, like I said, I don´t have any more time, so I will have to leave it from here and try to explain more next week. Thanks for your prayers and support. The Lord truly is working miracles in Mexico City!

Con Amor,

Elder Blackham

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