Monday, February 28, 2011

Baptisms in the Ocean!

Hello everyone.
I had another really great week here in la venta. i attached a few pictures so that you can see what ive been up to, but ive had some really amazing experiences. tuesday we had our interviews with the president. It was a great opportunity for me to learn more from him and to see more how i need to be as a missionary. We got there and waited for a little while for the president to get there. he showed up and shared a quick message with all of us that was really powerful in how we need to always have the spirit with us and see gods hand in all things. He talked about how things as mundane as laundry are important when we think about why we do the laundry. we wash the clothes we work in to serve the lord. he got choked up talking about laundry! he is a really great mission president and i have learned so much from him in the little time i have had to be around him. After his message i was the first one to go in to interview with him. We went into a room he had me say a prayer and then he asked me how my spanish was and then told me he could tell that it has gotten a lot better from my letters. he then said that he was going to sing a hymn and then i would bear my testimony about the atonement. It was interesting because the last interview with him, he had me sing for him ha. i asked the other missionaries and he doesnt sing with them or have them sing. he finished and then i bore my testimony. it was a really great experience and the spirit was very powerful in the room. i read my scripture in mosiah 14:3-6 and then bore my testimony. I teared up and so did he. He then told me to keep working hard, and if i kept doing so that my testimony in the atonement would be even more strong at the end of my mission. and that was my whole interview. it was very powerful and a great experience, but different than any other interview ive ever had. he didnt ask me any questions about my area hardly or investigators or worthiness or my companion hardly. it was interesting but great none the less.
after the interview he drove me and my companion back to our area and dropped the other elders in our district off in our area as well. and in the car ride back we practiced contacts. It was a great experience and i learned a lot and elder Sanchez and i have changed the way that we do contacts from this. we now ask a lot more questions and have them talk more. we try to have inspired questions so that the person can feel the spirit in the contact. before it was more of a presentation where we were the only ones who talked and then at the end asked if we could go to their house. it has been a better way of finding those that are prepared to accept the gospel, but takes a little longer as well.
this week i also had a really great experience in my studies in the morning. i hope that all of you are trying to read your scriptures for at least a little bit everyday. it is something that has helped me a lot, and i have been able to learn so much. this last week i finished the book of mormon another time. i hadnt had much time last week to do much chronological reading in my studies but i had two chapters left for a few days. Wednesday i had the chance to read the last two. at the beginning i said a prayer asking heavenly father to give me another witness that the Book of Mormon really is the word of god and is true. In my prayer i really tried to have what we need to receive an answer: sincere heart, real intent and faith in christ. Before the prayer i was a little worried about reading this last part and testing this promise of moroni. I was thinking, "what will happen if i dont receive an answer? i have received an answer before and have a testimony, but what happens if this time i test this promise and don´t feel anything. i am a missionary and am testifying everyday to many people that this book is true. this book is the keystone to our religion because if its true, this is the church of Christ in its fullness, but if its not true, this is just another church that teaches you to be good." i was very worried about this, but i tried to force out these thoughts and have more faith. i began to read and i read the first three words. "my beloved son..." When i read these words i felt the spirit. in this part of the book of mormon it is the prophet Mormon writing a letter to his son Moroni. I felt that it really was this letter, that it was something really, that actually happened, not just some story. I kept reading this chapter and felt good the whole time, but didnt feel anything really powerful. I then started reading chapter 10 (the final chapter in the book of mormon). i read verse 1, 2 and 3 and then i read verse 4. when i read this verse i felt the holy ghost powerfully through my whole body. I was almost surprised how direct the answer had been. i had doubts but i had faith that i could receive an answer and i received my answer from god that this book really is true. I felt it and i knew that it was an answer as clear as would have been words, that this is a book of god, a holy volume of scripture, and is the fullness of the gospel of jesus christ. This was a truly amazing experience for me and has helped me in my testimony and when testifying and challenging others to read and pray about this book. i have a strong testinmony that this book has the power to change lives for the better and bring people unto christ. anyone who has a real desire to know the truth and is willing to read and pray to find out, will receive and answer that the book is true and of god. i have seen it in my own life and real conversion and have seen it in the lives of many people here on my mission.
also this week was really amazing because we had two baptisms! and was very special for me because i got to baptize Cristal who i have taught from the beginning and was one of my first lessons when i got here to mexico. the other baptism was a boy named jesus who is a brother of the two girls who were baptized two weeks ago. It wouldnt be a true baptism though if there werent problems beforehand. this one had its fair share of problems. we showed up friday night to start filling the font because it takes abuot 12 hours to fill. we cleaned it out and then turned the knob for the water, and nothing came out. we left it turned on all night in hope that it would come on at some point, but when we came back in the morning there still was no water. the president showed up as well and we had been using another well trying to fill it in time, but we only had about 5 hours until the baptism and he told us the well would trun to muddy water soon. he said we could do it early in the morning sunday or we could go to sanchez magallanes and do it in the ocean. So obviously we chose to do it in the ocean. We all went in a van and the presidents car and when we arrived hna cristal sseemed a little sad. she then told us that her husband was mad with her and was saying things like she didnt know what she was doing and she had an argument with him. we then asked her if she was going to get baptized still and she said "well i wouldnt be here if i wasnt" she said she knows its the right thing to do and she has a rock solid testimony! it was such an amazing experience. We had the meeting on the beach and i gave a talk on baptism that went well nad elder sanchez on the Holy Ghost and then we had the baptisms. It went well. the water was warm, and it was still light out just before the sun was about to set. i said the prayer and then baptized her and a wave came and she fell a little bit, and i had to pull her up haha, but it was good the first time and everything. Elder sanchez baptized jesus and it went well too. It was an amazing experience to baptize the hna cristal. i have seen her testimony grow and have seen the power of the book of mormon in her life. she started out very unsure and then little by little gained her testimony. I felt the joy of this missionary work. i also got to hear her bear her testimony. she was nervous and it was simple, but she felt that it was true and i felt the spirit very powerfully and had a huge smile on my face the whole whole time.


Elder Smith

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