Family and Friends,
|Jose, Elder Ayala, Johnathan, Luis, Elder Remington|
We had a very special baptism this weekend :) Here we are in the picture (in order from left to right) Jose Andres, Elder Ayala, Johnathan, Luis Angel, and the funny lookin tall guy there. The spirit was so strong when Jonathan shared his simple but powerful testimony after the baptism. He said he felt great joy inside, that he knew God had now forgiven him for all his sins, and that he will stay strong in this church for the rest of his life :) I am very thankful that my Heavenly Father blessed me to be there and be able to baptize and support my three great friends; Johnathan, Luis Angel, and Jose Andres. Last weekend was the weekend of transfers where it is very possible that you'll be called to serve in another area. I had already been in this area Albonor for three transfers and usually President Amaya moves you after 2-3 transfers... therefore last Sunday night I was very nervous and thought for sure that I was going to get transferred so I said good-byes to everyone but everyone (especially Roberto and Johnathan's family) said no we don't want you to leave don't worry we're going to pray that you stay. Haha. I tried to explain that it doesn't work like that and that the Lord knows best where we need to go and that this is all part of the mission life but they said no no just have faith Elder you've gotta stay here haha. Especially Jonathan he was joking around and said Sunday night, ¨Hey man are you kidding me you can't leave me we gotta finish this race together you're going be the one to baptize me we're going to finish what we started.¨ This made me laugh but honestly it made me even more nervous cause I was thinking shoot man if they're all having faith and praying that I don't leave but then I get called to leave anyways I don't want them to lose faith or be sad... oh man I hope I stay here just one more transfer... and sure enough our prayers were answered and I stayed :) I was completely willing to do what the Lord wanted me to do and submit to His will but I'm very glad that what the Lord wanted corresponded with what I wanted :)
I sure love this area its great! I've really made a lot of good friends here with nearly all the members and luckily we have really gained the trust of the members. I remember before leaving on the mission my uncle Matt Hawkins gave me some great advice that a key to having success is being able to inspire confidence in the members. It's very true! I have seen some missionaries who have a light about them, their smile just says ¨You can trust me¨, they are confident in themselves but not prideful, they look people in the eye, they say hi to everyone, they are happy, they're someone people want to be around, and people naturally follow them. At the beginning of my mission I set the goal to always and to have an attitude of ¨how can I serve¨ and fortunately it has worked well. The little things really do make a big difference. The way you give reports in ward council, the way you welcome everyone in the chapel on Sunday, and the way you are friendly and respectful when the members serve you food, and more than anything else how many converts you have all help gain the confidence of the members. Hard work, obedience, and sincere love for the people luckily have brought us lots of success and the members recognize that. After the baptism various members said wow congratulations Elders, good job, or wow you two are doing good work here. We just smile say thanks and say that its not us its the Lord we're just the instruments in his hands. When we said that one of the Bishop's counselors said, ¨Well I sure hope the Lord keeps using you two as His instruments in our ward¨ likewise tons of members in these past few weeks have invited us over for dinner on Christmas and Christmas eve also many have given us various gifts and said ¨Here you go you two have earned it¨ :) It's good to know that the ward is pleased with our labors but more importantly its good to know that the Lord is pleased with our labors and I really have felt that a lot recently and honestly I think that its one of the best feelings in the world. To me personally, the knowledge that the Lord is pleased with what you are doing is true happiness. So let's all be obedient and make good choices so that we can all be truly happy :)
Merry Christmas to all :) Enjoy being together with family and remember that we will have a better CHRISTmas if we focus our thoughts on Christ.
I'm happy to be a representative of Jesus the Christ in this happy time of celebrating His birth :)