This week was lovely. It rained pretty hard. The rainy season is starting. I lost my umbrella and discovered that my rain jacket no longer keeps me dry. But loved it.
|"Miguel Angel. Love this old man."|
This week Miguel Angel got baptized. Things he has told us in these days is that when we first met him, he had been praying super hard that day for guidance and inspiration and to be healed and be better and lots of stuff and about an hour later we showed up. Miracle. He has diabetes and only one leg, so he has some health difficulties. But he told us that when he went to the temple in San Salvador, he felt like he was healed in that trip. He said he has never felt better since that day and he´s got energy and all is going well. He also told us that when he goes to church and comes home he feels energy and feels healthy in his body. Whereas in the past when he would attend other churches he said he would come home and feel sore all over with his knee swollen and everything from leaving the house and resting. Such a miracle! He really has so much faith and trust in God and it´s an inspiration.
This whole week before his baptism this old man received lots of criticism and persecution. He has 16 kids, and about 10 of them and his wife all called him and told him he was going to be condemned and that he was going to go to hell if he got baptized in the Mormon Church and all that jazz. His daughter Ana even was trying to convince him not to do it. But he didn´t care. He told us, "I´ll be the only one saved, but salvation is individual". And he went forward with faith because he knew he had received an answer from God that this was true. And after his baptism he was so happy and the light and joy filled his eyes. His daughter Ana told us Saturday that she has never seen her dad so happy and she feels really bad for how she was opposed and tried to tell him not to do it. We saw some HUGE changes in her as a result of her papa. This church really is true. Satan always tries to attack and put doubts and fears, but if we trust in God, He will always win.
Funny rumor for the week: Ana told us as we picked up her papa to go to his baptism, that some friends of her daughter told her that in the church we are baptized with cat pee. Yep, that´s right. Cat pee. When I thought I had heard all the rumors, that one might be one of the best I´ve heard. We laughed. Good times.
Yesterday we shared a message with Cristel, the daughter of a member, because she´s going to turn 8 year´s old this week and she´s going to be baptized. But she expressed to us her concern with being baptized so we told her we would teach her.
This poor little girl. She is scared to be baptized because of what her friends at school say to her. She said that all of her friends at school tell her that if she gets baptized in that church she´s going to be serving the devil and that that is the church of the devil and lots of cosas feos. She said one time her friends had a couple pamphlets from the church and they tore them up in front of her and threw them on the ground. Cristel asked them why they would do that to the things of God, and her friends said that it´s because the pamphlets talked about serving the devil and not God. Then Darlene was there (13 years old) and we asked her if she experiences the same thing and she said yes, that all of her companeros de su clase always say stuff like, "Darlene is a Mormon, she serves the devil" and lots of cosas feos with swear words and all that stuff.
As I sat there listening to these little girls talk about the bullying and the things they experience in school every single day, my heart went out to them. I never had to pass through any of that at that age. And who knows how I would have reacted if I had to pass through that. But after talking about prayer and their relationship with God they both explained to us how they have prayed and asked God and that they feel peace and joy and comfort and know that this is true. Cristel talked about how she asked God if she should be baptized and she felt peace and happiness and knows it´s what God wants.
It was amazing to listen to an 8 year old testify that she knows God lives. That she knows this church is true. And to talk about how she has a relationship with God where she knows He answers her prayers. It strengthened my testimony.
|"Stephen...this kid is HILARIOUS."|
Christ, the perfect son of God himself, was also rejected, mocked, scorned, spit upon, and crucified. He, being the perfect and literal son of God suffered. And sometimes we have to go through that ourselves. But He promises us, that if we serve Him, and we take up our cross and follow Him, we will be able to return to live with Him again someday.
I know this church is true. I know God lives. I know Christ loves us. And I only want to serve and follow Him. And I hope to do that as I finish the mission and with life after the mission. Because I know that is what brings true joy and happiness.
It truly is a privilege to be a part of this work. About 2 years ago I thought it was a big sacrifice. But now I have learned that it´s not a sacrifice...but rather an honor and a privilege.
I love you all lots and lots. Keep fighting the good fight.
|"Pancake! Giant and delicious."|