Good morning, good morning!!! Wow, what a rewarding weekend, and what blessings God has bestowed upon us this week!!! My heart is so full and bursting with gratitude, so much that I have "not room enough to receive it"!
Enrique's baptism. Okay. That was seriously one of the happiest days of my mission. I can't fully express the pure JOY I felt when I watched Enrique enter those waters and take part in the sacred ordinance of baptism. By far the most beautiful baptismal ordinance I've ever seen and witnessed. Nobody could have denied the immense Spirit that filled that room and had me in tears as Enrique took his first step towards following his Lord and Savior. Each of these baptisms that I have the blessing to have been a part of reminds me why am am on a mission, and why I am in the ARIZONA TUCSON mission. Enrique and his family is why I am here. There is nothing better and no feeling sweeter than to see the fruits of your labor of love and faith. There is nothing that brings me greater joy as a missionary than to know that I was chosen at that time to be an instrument in God's hands at that time, and to see the power of God work through me to perform miracles.
I echo the words found in Alma 26, as Ammon is praising his God:
"And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
"Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
"Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are [we], for [we] did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with [our] might, yea, all the day long did [we] labor; and behold the number of [our] sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.
"But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
Enrique was prepared by the Lord. There are so many of those around us who are in preparation to hear the word of God, and sometimes it is their circumstances that humble them enough to receive it. I am so grateful to have been a part of his conversion, and to have been able to see him grow from the very beginning to this first step. I can't wait to see their family all joining and be sealed in the temple.
Enrique! His wife Grisel, and son, Nathaniel, along with 4 of the 5 missionaries that got to work with him! In order from right to left, too!
Enrique and his friend Joel, who got to baptize him! Joel worked with him, and had simple conversations about the church and gospel with him. It stuck. And here we are! Simple missionary work! :)
Nathaniel! He's my buddy. I used to give him stickers at our lessons. :) (he went outside and picked some "floras!", hence the ones in his shirt pocket)
Okay. And now about the rabbits. So apparently the people down here eat rabbit! So......... I tried rabbit enchiladas a couple nights ago, and it actually tasted really good! probably because it was drowned in enchiladas and other things like cheese and green chiles, etc. But it tastes a lot like chicken. Pretty much the same. However, I have to admit that I felt pretty uneasy the whole time haha. I had to psych myself out the whole time, like "I'm eating chicken, I'm eating chicken..." or "it's okay, you'll be okay!" I probably won't ever eat rabbit again... I felt wayyyy too guilty haha. I ate Thumper :( A couple weeks ago, I ate elk meat mixed with pork, and that was pretty good too. One thing about the boonies is that you get to try new foods and lots of people hunt or kill their own food out here! The people in Saint David are generally pretty self-reliant, which is awesome!
Gifts from strangers. So on our way back from the baptism, we stopped at In-n-Out for lunch, as it's not too expensive, and Sister Graff from California was craving it her whole mission haha. Well, when we got there, we saw an older man and his dog. He pointed out my tag, and seemed like he was curious as to who we were! So we said hello, and I said "we're missionaries!". So we ended up talking to this man for quite a while, and it just came naturally! It wasn't weird, and it turns out that he has had contact with missionaries in the past!
He had an experience with a Mormon who helped him when his car was broken down. The member asked him if he would be interested in learning more, and if he would allow the missionaries over. So Wayne, (the name of the man we talked to) said sure! You were so kind to me, and I'll show them the same kindness you showed me. So he sent the missionaries over there, and they taught him a little bit. He was very kind to them, and listened to them, but was already involved in a church. But he did tell us over and over again how much he admired us and the work we were doing, and how "if he were to shop for a religion, he'd choose the Mormon one" (he even told his minister that who wasn't too happy hahaha). But it was just a wonderful conversation that we had with him about service and how we should go about doing good and showing kindness to all of those around us, and how that's what Christ did his whole life. Anyway, so we had gone in after awhile and gotten some food, and he invited us to come back and sit with him to talk. So we did! And it was so neat. Wayne was from New York, but he sometimes moves down to Prescott. (Snowbird?) But he traveled a lot and was in Tucson for the Rock and Gem Show. Apparently it's really big here. But he makes jewelry and showed us some of the things he got there! He had some Mexican Opal, that are very beautiful and all unique! he showed us a couple of things he had made, and said that he would make us custom Mexican Opal rings for our kindness and our "bright countenance" or something similar. He appreciated how genuine we were. And so he let us hand pick out which stone we wanted, and told him our ring size. And he said "okay, when you graduate from your mission, send me a letter. And I will send you your ring as a graduation gift for a job well done." He was a sweet man, and he said "you know, I don't think our meeting was a coincidence. I think we were supposed to cross paths. Thank you for touching my life and making my day today." Great experience.
A couple of other things that showed us how much God loves us was how we had FIVE investigators at church on Sunday!!! :) Three of them were not even official investigators yet!! But because they are potentials, and are coming to church, their investigation begins. :) So you know how we had been praying and fasting for new investigators? Well we got a couple new referrals, and we should hopefully be meeting with them soon! :) We should officially have 2 or 3 new ones this week. God is so loving and wonderful!
An official alien from Area 51 in New Mexico!
Weekly planning in the digital age
We had a wicked sweet storm last night, we had a lightning strike right next to us! Less than a mile away... shook our car. But it's BEAUTIFUL!
Yesterday was my 16 month mark. Woo!
Well, we're going to be headed to Tombstone for P-day today! I'm so excited to hit some museums and take lots of pictures! But that's all the time I have today. I love you and pray for you often!
Have a fantastic week! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
Looking for service! We got two takers from widows in the ward!
the things you find
Sister Merrill showed us how to make homemade noodles, and we also made bowtie pasta!!! :)