2011 April 11
Well, like the title says, I had a baptism! I say "I" because it was one of my investigators from Woodburn that got baptized haha. You remember Lupe G right? Well, for a long time I was teaching her son Angel's girlfriend Maggie. At one point, she had a really solid baptismal date, but then she broke up with Angel and fell off the map. Anyway, I came to find out a while back that Angel and her had gotten back together and that... well... she was pregnant. Because of that, they decided to man (and woman) up and tie the knot. Because of that (and a lot of pushing from Lupe G and counseling from Pres. Pister), they got married and Maggie got baptized! Ta-daaa! It made for an exciting weekend because Lupe G insisted that I be there for the wedding as well as the baptism, which were held on two different days. It. Was. Sweet! haha Mexican weddings are a total party. President Pister married them and afterward we enjoyed ourselves eating birria, rice, beans, and tortillas whilst everyone made comments about how freakishly skinny I look now compared to how chubby I was during my time in Woodburn originally haha.
Okay, so regressing to the beginning of the week to fill you in, here's what happened:
Monday, like I said in my last email, we had our combined zone activity where we played soccer in the rain for a good two or three hours. It was funny because first we played a good ol' civil-war status game of North zone versus the South, and just like history tells us, the North was triumphant :-). We beat them 4-2 and then decided to play old-farts versus the greenies.... the problem was that everyone was so young that in order to divide it evenly, we had to take from nine months and older to make the teams even! It was a blast and a super tight game. The best part? Yours truly scored the winning goal to finish the game 4-3... you can just call me Rooney instead of Mooney :-)
After that, we got home, emailed, and tried with a couple of appointments. They fell through, so we visited an inactive member that we had knocked into, and met his kids Marcos and Maira. Turns out that they're super sweet and want to learn about the gospel (they're unbaptized). So, we taught them the restoration and they ate it up and wanted to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it's true. It was definitely a good way to end the day because it was at like 8:45 at night and we were planning on going home, but something told us to go try with them. Hooray for the guidance of the Spirit.
Tuesday we had zone conference which wasn't anything exciting aside from the fact that I have come to the conclusion that being in Hispanic culture for so long has made me talk way too much. Now that I've learned to talk a lot, I'm gonna need to re-learn how to shut up after the mission haha. After zone conference, we had a lesson with Oscar and Franci where we talked about the 10 commandments and taught them to keep the Sabbath day holy and then the word of wisdom. Not because we had planned it, but because they asked questions about it, so we kinda burned their eyebrows off with all the information that we fed them. They liked it though, and they committed to live it, so we'll see what happens.
Wednesday, I went on exchange with Elder Ballard in the Aloha area. He's a super sweet kid! He's a farm boy from Benjamin, Utah up in the Logan area, and he is seriously a champ. He definitely knows how to work! One thing about being in his area is that I was really jealous of all of the Hispanics that are there... it gave me a good idea of what we're gonna be stealing from them in the future because our plans for making a branch includes a good chunk of their area... muahaha :-). One thing that was funny from that day was the food that we had. It was an awesome Mexican meal of just enchiladas and carne asada, but holy cow it about killed me! I'm not used to eating that much anymore, and I couldn't shovel it all in like in my other areas... I'm skinnier than I used to be, so I can't fit that much food in me haha.
Thursday, we decided to do some spring cleaning and oh how the apartment needed it haha! It was a total mess! I mean, we've cleaned it so it didn't like stink or anything, but it's just been hard to find the time (and the effort) to give it a thorough cleaning, so we decided to buckle down and clean 'er out for a good hour or so during weekly planning haha. After that we taught Marcos and Maira and gave them a baptismal date for the 8th of May. Yes!
Friday, we had a sweet lesson in the morning with a lady named Angelica as well as with her brother and sister that are all sharing an apartment. They accepted the challenge to read the book of Mormon and pray about it. One frustrating thing that happened was with a referral from sister Farbe in the ward. Their names are Estela and Cesar, and they were pretty sweet people. Unfortunately, before we went over for a second lesson with them, Cesar spent a good couple of hours poring over anti garbage and then read the first seven chapters of the book of Mormon. To be brief, it sucked and I was really upset at how idiotic he was being. He said "how can I believe that the book of Mormon is true without any proof of the gold plates even existing? If they were real, they should have them on display or something." I said, "you know what, you're absolutely right. We should have the resurrected Christ on display right next to them too so that you could just know instead of having to have faith... ya hypocrite." yeah, he got pretty fired up when I talked to him about that and said "no, that's not the same thing!" What he doesn't understand is that it's the EXACT SAME PRINCIPLE. Anyway, we ended up closing on a good note to where he wants to keep reading and have us back (mainly because I destroyed him), so hopefully he is humble enough to show some faith and real intent with what he's doing. I tell ya man, I can't handle people bashing the truth anymore it makes me SO MAD!
The thing that gets me about anti-Mormon reading is this: I'll put it into a sort of parable so we can understand this. If I'm looking into buying a Ducati motorcycle, I'm going to first hear about it from a friend or advertisement. From there, if you want to know more, who do you go to? You go to someone who specializes in building, riding, and selling them, then do your comparisons with other bike companies that claim to have similar bikes. Instead, those who I would liken to anti-readers would look up some nonsense like "why Ducatis are the worst bikes ever made" It doesn't make sense... ya know what I mean?
Anyway, enough ranting. Saturday we had another exchange and I went with elder Garland to the wedding down in Woodburn which was a blast. After the wedding, we went to a dinner (yeah, we were already full of Mexican food haha) with a lady who wanted us over to talk to one of her friends about the church. Turns out the guy was really sweet. He was someone who really "gets" it. He talked to us about how people would try to tell him anti crap about the church and he said "I don't care. If I want to learn about it, I'm gonna learn about it from those who live it, experience it, and believe it. He was open-minded about it, so it turned out to be awesome. We kinda chit-chatted for quite a while about a myriad of religious subjects, then talked about the suffering in the world today. He was saying, "ya know, I know that there's a purpose for it, and that God is obviously in control of everything that is happening and it will turn out okay... I just don't have the answers as to why he can let it happen. That's when I had the opportunity to explain to him the understanding we have of the atonement of Jesus Christ and how it covers not just sins, but pains, afflictions, sufferings, sadness, sickness, and all other negative aspects of human life if we will come to him. When I said that, he kinda sat with a pensive look on his face. Then I told him "ya gotta read the Book of Mormon man, it'll give you a deeper appreciation for what your Savior did for you." After saying that, he said "I really do want to read it... do you have a copy that I could borrow?" We gave him a copy and jotted down his number and told him to call us with any questions... I'm pretty stoked to have another opportunity to teach him. he's a sweet guy.
Sunday, we didn't have anyone in church unfortunately, but it was good in that afterwards we got to go to Woodburn for the baptism of Maggie :-) The only other exciting thing that happened was just something that I read in the Book of Mormon in 1Nephi 17:8-10 that talks about personal revelation. The thing that makes it interesting is that Nephi receives the revelation that he needs to build a boat. As soon as Nephi learns this, he heads up the mountain to talk to the Lord. When he gets there, he doesn't ask "okay, how do I do it?" rather he asks "Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?" It's pretty sweet in that he took the initiative after just receiving a little nudge from the Spirit as to what he was going to do. The same applies to us. If we want personal revelation, we have to be open to the Spirit. After we receive the initial nudge, we have to be willing to do all we can within our power to follow that prompting so that we receive further light and instruction. Sweet eh? That whole chapter is sweet. Check it out.
All right, I'm outta time, but I love you guys and I'll talk to ya next week.