Family and Friends,
This was a very intense and busy week for my companion and I but very rewarding too. We had a ton of investigators with baptismal dates this week so we had to run all over the place in interchanges helping out the Elders making sure everyone got baptized and doing the baptismal interviews and what not. I really like doing interchanges its a great way to build unity in the zone and help out your missionaries :) Its fun to see their growth! Baptismal interviews are also very great experiences :) The Spirit is always very strong and I always leave the room feeling more uplifted and more converted than when I entered. This week I had a particularly special interview with a sister from Bahia... obviously I won't go into detail in the slightest because whats said in a baptismal interview is completely confidential only between she and I and God but I'll just say that it was a very uplifting experience because that poor sister has gone through some very very tough trials and walked into the room with huge burdens and deep scars from years of physical and emotional pain... after a very long interview with many tears, confessions, and many testimonies of the redeeming power and love of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ, she left that room feeling completely relieved and invigorated :) The most special part of it all was when I felt prompted to share with her a little metaphor and example. She had explained that she felt like after all the heartache and pain that she had passed through her life would never be the same again because the scars and memories would always remain... I then felt prompted to share a little example and bear my testimony. I pulled out a little post it and shared that sometimes we are like this post it and when tough times and trials come its as if those trials and pain just wrinkle us up (I then wrinkled up the post it big time). Many people think that after so many trials and pain that theres nothing we can do to change it and that we will never be the same, we can fix it up a little bit (straightening out the post it but it still had a bunch of wrinkles) but we'll never go back to how we used to be the scars and memories will always remain... but dear sister that is a false idea. God teaches us and I testify to you that through the Atonement of Christ and through baptism we can wash our sins away and become new people. When we are baptized and enter the water, the old person of sin and pain dies (holding up the wrinkled post it and then throwing it away) and then we come out of the water a completely new person is born (pulled out a new, clean, flawless post it) and all of our sins, pains, and heartaches are washed away as if they had never happened and the Lord will no longer remember them... we have the great blessing of starting over with a clean slate and a new life.. pure and clean of all our sins :) I then testified of the redeeming power of the Atonement and that the next day she would be making the best decision of her life :) It was a very uplifting experience and she told me at the end that she had never felt comfortable to share with anyone what she had shared with me and that it was the first time she had told anyone... she thanked me sincerely for being a good listener and helping her and being there for her :) I love being a missionary and love all the wonderful opportunities that we have on a daily basis to be the instruments in God's hands to serve and build up His children and see the blessings and changes that the gospel Christ always brings into their lives :) A truly special experience that I'll never forget.
We also had a great baptism this Saturday for Jean Carlos and Kenia. Jean Carlos is a great kid with lots of good friends in the church who always invited him to activities and to go to church and through their example he decided to get baptized. Kenia was also a referral from the a great family in the ward :) She is the older sister of a few members in our ward who had gone to church a few times before and liked it but never got baptized and stopped going to church because she has very severe back problems and was scared of having to lean back into the water cause it could hurt her back and she felt like she didn't have any friends in the ward so she stopped going. When we visited her we gained her confidence quick and helped her make lots of friends and feel comfortable in church. We also made plans with her for the way we could baptize her without hurting her back. My companion said the baptismal prayer and then he carried her legs and I carried her back and we both gently and slowly lowered her below the water together :) It was a very unique and special experience she is an elect of God for sure :) Her sister tells us that she's seen a ton of changes in Kenia since we started teaching her in that she's more patient and happy now :) more pleasant to be around :) The gospel always brings blessings thats a fact! I invite all of you to involve yourselves more actively in the missionary work in your ward. All of the baptisms we've had here in Andres de Vera have been through ward referrals :) trust me its the way to go but it only works if the members do their part! So everybody do your part and help!
Love you all very much,