Sunday, 1 January 2012

FELIX NAVIDAD Y FELIZ ANO NEUVO - 26TH DECEMBER 2011

Family!!

It was so great to talk to you yesterday. It´s weird cause I hadn´t really thought about the phone call that much because we were too busy, and then before I knew it it was over!! It was great to see everyone and hear your voices. I´m happy that everyone´s good, and it seems like everyone´s having a good Christmas! Sounds like you´re having a pretty crazy time! 22 people crowded in one house must have been nuts.

It was pretty weird speaking English while the people around me in the house were all speaking Spanish. I realized too that my English is really bad now hahaha. I couldn´t remember a bunch of words and I think my grammar was really bad.

So this week was pretty good cause we had a baptism!! Ximena (pronounced hee-men-ah) got baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. We´re so happy for her. My first day in La Florida, Elder Navarrete asked me where I thought we should do contacts. I had no idea and pointed to one place on the map after he reassured me that I had been called and set apart as a missionary and was entitled to receive revelation for the work in this sector. Ximena was the first person that let us in the house in my first day of the mission. She has 10 dogs. 3 are always outside, and 7 are in the house. Two of them have been with us in pretty much every lesson and always fight for attention when we´re teaching. It´s pretty funny, and after every lesson we would leave the house covered with hair. Because of her work schedule she can´t go to church every week, and that´s why it took her so long to get baptized seeing as she needed to have attended 3 times minimum, and we had to wait to baptize her until the week when she could get confirmed on the Sunday. She h as been really good at reading the Book of Mormon, and last time we checked was in Enos. She´s just a really good person. We thought she was about 23 or 25 or something, but found out when we filled out her baptismal record that she´s 37. We were completely floored. She works in a HomeCenter store as a cashier. She studied in university to be some kind of administrator or something but has never had the chance to work in the career she studied for because of a problem she has. She has a problem with her foot so it´s really hard for her to walk. She can´t go to church alone, and in the winter she tells us that the cold hurts her foot. She´s single and lives with her mother, and despite the obvious difficulties that she´s had in her life I imagine in school as a child as well, she´s a really happy and positive person. I´m so happy to see that now she´s receiving the blessings of the gospel. She deserves it. Also, it´s pretty cool to say that I got to baptize my first investigator ever!

The baptismal service was really hard. Our ward mission leader was going to plan it but as usual he didn´t do anything. We had to plan the whole baptismal service and prepare everything within about 3 hours of the service. It was quite frustrating especially when just before the service a sister complained against us and called us disobedient because we forgot to invite the president of the relief society in the rush of things. It was frustrating because we basically had to take all of the blame for anything that didn´t go perfectly smooth because of someone else´s mistake. Also, we managed to have a meeting with the ward mission leader that the bishop attended too. We were really happy because with the bishop, who´s really good, we were actually able to get stuff done for once instead of talking and receiving "counsel" from the ward mission leader. It was a little bit frustrating with that too when he criticized us of not teaching to people´s hearts and criticized us for not motivating people. I think we understood a little bit in that moment how it feels to be a bishop sometimes when he works so hard to make sure everything goes perfectly, but the people complain and don´t do their part. Let´s just say that Elder Navarrete and I were biting our tongues a lot to try and keep things sweet. We decided that it´s better if someone has a problem with us than with their leaders or with other members of the ward. The most important thing is that the Lord is happy with us. If we receive criticism from some people in order to strengthen the ward, it´s ok.

Yesterday Ximena got confirmed which was awesome, and Elder Navarrete and I had talks. I talked about how God sees us, and about our potential to become like Him. Elder Navarrete talked about Jesus Christ and how we can give a gift to him this Christmas. I don´t think my talk was that great, especially as I was speaking in Spanish and I tried to do it without preparing it word for word, but I´m glad it´s done. Camila, my first baptism, also gave a talk. She had prepared so much and did great!!! We were so happy about that and a lot of the members were really surprised at how fast she progressed. She´s quite shy, and when we were teaching her I was a little bit worried that maybe she wasn´t really ready to be baptized and was just blindly accepting everything we said. I was mistaken! She talked as though she had years as a member of the church! The Bishop assigned her a 5 minute talk about baptism and how it´s been important for her. She talked for almost 15 minutes and touched like every subject of the restoration perfectly and bore a powerful testimony of how she knew that the church was true. I was so happy. One, because it meant I had to talk less in my talk, but more importantly because of how strong she is. She got baptized on December 3, and already gave a talk on December 25. Right now in her Book of Mormon reading she´s in Alma. We are so happy because she´s really going to be, and already has been, a huge pillar of strength for the members in the ward. She´s made Ximena feel more accepted, has integrated herself right into the programs of the church, and I think the Bishop will be thrilled to have someone as strong and willing to work as her. You feel incredible as a missionary when you see that in a convert.

I love being a missionary. Despite the fact that we have challenges, we always have blessings. The Lord always provides. I´ve been so blessed to have such an incredible companion. I think that´s really given me a great start to my mission.

I know the church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. Jesus Christ lives, and He died for us. This gospel is incredible. It´s so simple, but it´s so important.

There´s nothing better than being a missionary. If anyone that reads this has any doubts about going on a mission,  prepare yourself and go. It has strengthened my testimony, my understanding, my conviction, and my dependence on the Saviour so much. Nothing brings greater joy than serving the Lord.

¡Chao!

Elder Blomfield

P.S. thanks for the pictures I just got them!!