The past couple of days since my 12-month mark, I have reflected a lot on what has happened these past 12 months and the struggles through which I have passed, the joy I have found, and the growth I have experienced. Your words also brought to mind my patriarchal blessing and things the Lord has told me and emphasized to me. It’s so hard for me, but like President Killpack says, sometimes we just focus on that black spot on the piece of paper and not all the white that is there as well. I need to be kind, and that includes being kind to myself. I’m still learning how to do that.
Saturday Norberto was baptized! In the beginning it was stressful because things weren’t getting done on time, and then we had the surprise of our lives — that President and Sister Killpack came to the baptism and stayed throughout it! And then Norberto and his family came and things started rolling smoothly. It was an absolutely beautiful experience! As Norberto entered the waters, my heart was jumping and singing with joy. And as he came up out of the waters, his countenance glowed. He stood there for a moment and just smiled. 🙂 After his baptism and while they were getting ready, Hermana Bonilla and I shared the message of the Restoration. We did a role play that morning, and when we spoke at the baptism, we could feel the spirit guiding us in the words to say and we felt power testifying. We then sang the rainbow song that Elizabeth sang at my baptism (this time in Spanish). Afterwards we enjoyed arrepas. I really like the chicken and avocado ones Hermana Chacon makes. 🙂
The next day (Sunday) after the morning correlation and ward council meetings, Sacrament began. And Norberto was confirmed a member of the Church! I could feel the spirit witness to my heart of the power of the priesthood that is upon the earth and of the joy that comes as people come into Christ (Alma 29:9-10). At the beginning of the Gospel Principles Class, Hermano Norberto shared his testimony. He shared his conversion story and the feelings he had during his baptism. He told us that after he had dressed in his baptismal clothes, walked into the relief society room and saw the baptismal font, he shared with us that he felt he had seen that font before (even though that was the first time in his life that he has stepped foot in that room and seen it). And he said that now he is felt with peace, energy, and happiness. And you should have heard him teaching in the class! His understanding is amazing and it seems that he has been a member for forever! 🙂
Later that afternoon we had dinner with the WML (Hermano Chacon) and his family. We then went over and visited Norberto with the Chacon family. We started asking him about his baptism, and he told that yesterday he felt better he said that he knows that he is in the truth. Then we read 3 Nephi 13:31-33, and Hermano Chacon, Hermana Chacon, and Hermana Rojas shared their testimonies of the blessings that come as we put God first in our life.
That night we saw many miracles. And I had my testimony strengthened of the power of talking with EVERYONE. As we left the Chacon home (they gave us a ride to the appointment and back to pick up our bikes), we saw an elderly man in his front yard. We decided to stop and talk with him. He is a member but has been going through some difficulties lately. He thanked us for our kindness to stop and visit for a moment.
There was no response at the first referral’s door, and then we spent a few minutes finding the second referral, who when we knocked wasn’t super kind to us…. Then we felt we should go talk to a certain family we saw sitting on the front porch as we had been looking for the referral, and after conversing with them and getting to know their background, we invited them to start reading from the Book of Mormon again. They were appreciative for our visit. Then we headed down and contacted another referral (and made a return appointment) and after that another referral (who ended up being an active
member). We invited her to share her testimony with a family nearby with which we are working and made a return appointment to follow up with her. Then we went and visited Juana with Hermana y Hermano Medrano. We read a few paragraphs from The Family: A Proclamation to the World with her and testified of her divinity as a daughter of God. We then shared story of Moses in Moses 1 and how knowing he was a son of God helped him overcome Satan’s temptations and lies. During my time here in this area, my heart has expanded. The Lord has blessed me with a part of His love for His children, and I feel great love for these families that we serve and meet here.
Later on we figured we needed to finish the lesson reports from the day before so we could synchronize and make our leaders happy. As we typed up those reports under the shade of a tree, the homeowner of that home in front of which we were sitting came home and we talked with him and asked him if he knew of anyone who could use an extra visit. We received a referral, and afterwards we felt that we should visit a certain sister that we haven’t seen for a few weeks. And she was home! And invited us to have some taquitos (which is the word for small tacos in Spanish). And as it turns out, she felt that she shouldn’t add cheese to them (even though she didn’t know we would drop by). We set an appointment for later in the week to come back, and then we headed out to contact some referrals.
Thanks for all your love and prayers! Miracles happen every day!