[Editor's Note: The other photos mentioned are forthcoming].
Family and Friends,
We had a lovely baptism this weekend with 5 investigators from our sector and 2 from San Camilo 1. The first picture is of Alexandra and her daughter Daniela. When we first got transferred here the missionaries that had been here before told us about her and gave us a general description of where she lived and wished us the best of luck in finding her saying that she was a great person and super interested but... they hadn't updated the area book and hadn't made a teaching record for her so it was very difficult to find her and for the first week we searched and searched and searched but we couldn't find her. On Saturday we spent a good long while looking for her and asking people nearby where she lived and finally we found her. Hallelujah!! It was awesome when we found her because, after so many times of asking for an Alexandra Cortes and not having any luck, she opened her door with a big smile and when we asked her name she said ¨Alexandra Cortes¨ Wooohooo!! We taught her and put a baptismal date in that same day and she accepted and progressed very well the whole time. She reads the Book of Mormon like crazy and she absolutely loves it. She's already finishing off 2 Nephi and she says every time she reads she feels like she gets taken away from all her worries and feels great peace inside. Her testimony is super strong and she's already sharing the gospel with her family and friends. One of her nieces will soon be baptized and when she shares her testimony it really invites the Spirit because she talks about how her heart was full of anger and sadness because of a lot of trials she had gone through but that ever since we started teaching her and she's been praying, reading, and going to church that everything has changed and her heart is full of happiness and gratitude. I'm sure this sounds cliche and exaggerated but literally that is exactly what she says and you can feel the truthfulness of her words and you can see a light in her eyes. She is awesome and is already making lots of friends in the ward and will be a great member missionary and leader in the church.
The second picture is of Carlos Romero and the third is with his wife Cristina Romero and his brother Ricardo Romero. Ricardo Romero is the first counselor in the bishopric and is a very happy and positive man. We shared a message with his family after lunch and motivated them to introduce us to one of their friends to share the gospel with and he mentioned his brother and sister-in-law Carlos and Cristina. He said they had already listened to tons of missionaries before for years and that they always would listen for a bit, go to some church activities, but then stop listening and never wanted to get baptized at all. We encouraged him to introduce us anyway and set a date to do so. We went to their house on the same day that just so happened to be the birthday of Carlos and they received us very well, we taught the Restoration, and put a baptismal date and they accepted. They are super smart and they read and mark up and think about the pamphlets and the chapters in the Book of Mormon like crazy its awesome! They learn super well and prayed and know that the Book of Mormon is true and that the church is true. They are such good students that sometimes we show up and they've already read everything and they basically just teach themselves sharing everything that they learned and then we focus on some key points, share a scripture, testify, and commit them to live those principles. They are a joy to teach and its a privilege to know them.
Carlos shared with us the other day an awesome experience he had a few weeks ago. He said that on the morning of his birthday he was feeling like he was missing something in his life and that he needed to do something different and have some change because he was turning 33 and he felt something was missing. He said that for the first time in years he knelt down in private and prayed out loud asking God to help him know what he needed to do differently and show him the way and he would follow... that same day later in the afternoon guess who showed up at his door? His brother with the missionaries. He said that the answer from God was very clear to him and that when we taught him it just motivate him even more and so he was baptized. It was great to see his brother baptize him and we're excited to see Carlos baptize his wife next week!
Cristina has a baptismal date for next Saturday and is still a little indecisive but we have faith that she will do it! She knows it true she just has to be brave and do it!
The fourth picture is of Maria Monserrate. She had all the lessons taught and everything ready to be baptized when we got here a month ago but then she got discouraged by some of her friends from other churches and we hadn't seen anything of her since then all the sudden this week out of nowhere she decided she wanted to get baptized so we reviewed what she had learned, had her interview, and she was baptized!
The fifth and sixth picture are of Maela Espinosa and her family. She had always gone to church and was nine years old and still not baptized because all the men in her family were less active. We were fortunate enough to be eating lunch with them and find out about her situation and were very happy to help. She is a great kid and super smart and now her family is going to church again its great!
I am out of time but I love you all very much and hope you have a great week!