(I know there are people who receive this email who are not related to me by blood, but if you're still reading my news at this point, you're family!)
Hialeah is great! This week was somewhat less exciting than recent weeks have been, but we had lots of cool experiences and are looking forward to many more!
A couple of bullet point experiences first...
-We met a ginger Nicaraguan yesterday. What??
-Yesterday we also met a guy who had just gotten custody of his two sons from their mom in Dominican Republic. His friend was with him when we left the blessing, and was very excited to come to church and learn more - but the single dad didn't seem too interested. As we were about to leave he mentioned that his kids' mom had been baptized into our church. We asked the two boys if they had gone to Primary and their eyes lit up. What a blessing that the very interested friend was there; without that, who knows if we would have been able to help the other man to talk openly, and bring the kids back to church!
-We met a wonderful woman named L the other day. She told us right off the bat that her brother is a bishop of our church in New Orleans, and that her sister-in-law has been telling her that she needs to check out the church. We came back for a first lesson with her and found out that her husband is a member! He was very active when he lived in Honduras, but hasn't been to church in the 14 years he's been in the US. Now she wants to get baptized and he wants to come back to church! Wow how the Lord works.
In the Book of Mormon this week I was reading in 3 Nephi 3:8 and reflected on how nobody other than God has the power to guarantee promises. Somehow I thought of the ten commandments and "thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (Exodus 20:7), in terms of making promises. I saw in this commandment something that I had never noticed before. It's about covenant-keeping. We take the name of Jesus Christ upon us when we are baptized. So the commandment means more than respecting God and His name, although that's important. It means having true adoration and devotion, worship through covenant-keeping and at all times living worthy of the name of Christ, acting as He would have us act. I loved that realization, especially following the Relief Society General Broadcast :)
Another cool conversion experience. I've been telling you about J for a while now. And it just keeps on getting better! He went out with the elders to teach, and then came to church and shared his testimony in fast and testimony meeting. This is what he said (basic translation):
"My name is JB, and I've been a member of the Church for very little time. I was baptized three weeks ago and confirmed the next week. The change in my life has been radical. To those who aren't baptized yet, you need to get baptized. It has been the greatest blessing of my life. The Spirit is with me constantly. I am a Mormon, and I am sure (Yo soy Mormon, y estoy seguro.)"
A member gave him a tie to go with his white shirt, and he was interviewed to receive the priesthood for this next week. The first time we met J he told us he was going to be baptized Mormon, and he was going to stick with it; he just needed to change his life to get to that point. He has, and he is SO. happy. He is a different person.
I've been reflecting on that, actually, that during this mortal experience we are really learning to be different people. We work every day to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ, doing our best to live up to God's standards, and not the world's. We don't want to end up being good human beings. We want to end up like our Heavenly Father and His Son.
Missionary work is amazing! There truly are people whom the Lord has prepared to receive the Gospel, and if we rely on Him, they will be put in our path.
I love you all!
P.S. GENERAL CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND AND I AM THRILLED!!!
P.P.S. We are having a mission conference with Elder Oaks on !!
P.P.P.S. Sorry Mom, I'll tell you more about Sister Ware in a letter or next week. Forgot until the end... and we're going to play smashface, so who knows how many letters I'll write this week :)