Buenas Dias Familia!
I was on exchanges with the fantastic Sister Lakin and we had planned to go see Xochitl (pronounced so - chill). Sister Clark and I haven't been seeing her that often because she wasn't progressing towards baptism and was still saying she's not ready. We knew one problem was the whole marriage ordeal and that she has to convince her long-term boyfriend to get married first. So we decided to buckle down, get firm, and teach the law of chastity and get her to set a date and make plans. We are sitting in her trailer and I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to get tell her this, so I decide to start simple and say, "Hermana, do you remember the law of chastity?" Her response was as follows...or something like this, "Yes, and I've decided I'm going to talk to Eduardo about getting married again, because I've decided I'm getting baptized." "WHAT?!?!?!?!" My grin was as wide as a football field and I had to ask her repeatedly if she was serious. She basically told us that she realized she's gotten all the answers she needs, she knows this is right, and this is what she wants, so she's going to get married and get baptized. She said she and Daniel will get baptized together since he was the first one to start this whole thing :) I was in paradise. I could barely even speak because I was in shock. She told us some neat stories that happened throughout that week that furthered her decision. Apparently after she made the decision, she was looking online at Valentine's Day cakes and a video about the "false mormon doctrine" popped up, and it just happened to be in Spanish. She told us that she began to wonder if it was a sign from God that baptism was not the right thing. So she pressed play on the video. As soon as she did she had this overwhelming realization that it wasn't God, but Satan trying to dissuade her from following through with her decision. She turned off the video and didn't look back. Her "husband" has also been trying to feed her things. He tried telling her the Book of Mormon was false and made up. Our fantastic Xochitl though told him "No! They didn't make this up! Joseph Smith translated it." She said he still tried to tell her otherwise, but she knows it's not true. at church she told us he gave her some things to read, and she read them, but she wants to ask us her questions before she believes them. I just can't believe what a miracle this is. She took FOREVER. But all this working and waiting was worth it when I heard her tell me she wants to get baptized. Apparently she'd been planning ways to tell me all week :) I'm in heaven!
This week we had a lot of meetings, but luckily we also did a lot of work and saw a lot of miracles! Let's start with my absolute favorite miracle of the week.
Our second miracle was just as grand, ok this one might actually be my favorite, but our two baptisms went through!! I'll talk about them each separately.
|Concepcion's Baptism day!|
Concepcion has been ready since day 1, and so we didn't have many concerns this week with her. We taught her about temples, and she asked us how long she had to wait to go in. We taught her family history work and she started naming people she could find and do baptisms for. She invited her son, sister, and friends from counseling classes to her baptism. She planned out what she was going to wear a week ahead, she cried when we talked about it, man she was just so ready. day we couldn't get a hold of her for a while, but she finally returned our call about an hour before and said she was getting ready to go. Besides Sister Clark and I, she was the first one at the chapel! She changed into white clothes and came out of the bathroom just grinning and laughing, then crying. Oh how we love her :) We took some pictures then she went back to the bathroom to try to call her sister to come. Her sister wouldn't answer or respond :/ And her son Doug refused to come because he "had no interest." We begged and begged him, but he was stubborn and refused. Finally Concepcion gave up and walked out to the room to sit down. When she opened the door she saw one of the friends she invited, and the friend's whole family! Concepcion just cried and cried. The friend was a member and helped her after her baptism just like a mom would help her daughter. It was so perfect, and it meant the world to Concepcion. The whole relief society presidency came and gave her a welcome gift, and she just radiated happiness. I couldn't have asked for better for her. Well maybe it would have been better if she only had to be dunked once, but twice was good enough :) She didn't go all the way under the first time. :p
Her confirmation was yesterday and again she just cried and cried. She received a really neat blessing that talked a lot about the missionary work she would help us with. And that is all ready coming true! Yesterday in Relief Society, a random lady walks in and Concepcion whispers to me, "That's my friend!" We still don't know if Concepcion invited her, or if she just knew her, but still. This friend, Lupe, looked like she lives a rough life. Her face was straight and cold. After the meeting, I tried to talk to her, and she wasn't very friendly. She also told me that Concepcion wasn't a friend, just an acquaintance! I felt a little awkward now. Meanwhile, the teacher was handing out framed Salt Lake Temple pictures, and there weren't very many left. Concepcion grabbed one, but didn't keep it for herself. She took it straight to Lupe. I watched Lupe's cold, hard face, turn into a soft smile I hadn't seen yet. Concepcion just hugged her. In the second hour of church, Lupe left early. After the meeting, Concepcion called her to check on her. We were so amazed at her outreach. She's all ready an incredible fellow-shipper and member missionary.
|Jairo and Hermana Short|
Jairo's testimony is what amazed me this week. We met with him almost every day to teach a lesson or check up.Sister Lakin and I weeded his and Ernie's front yard for 3 hours. Don't worry mom, I knew you wouldn't believe that, so I had Sister Lakin write you a note of verification and sign it. It will come in the mail this week :) But seriously, that thing was a jungle. The weeds were ginormous, and after 3 hours, there were still more, but we had to leave. They fed us brunch while we worked, and we had a good talk about why we do service :) They didn't like watching two girls do their work. When baptism day came, Jairo wasn't returning our texts either, but I didn't have the panic feeling I usually do. Finally he sent us a message 30 minutes before the baptism. We were waiting in the church when Jairo walked in with a shirt and TIE! :) He looked so adorable! He changed, we begged him to take a nice picture, and then he sat and waited for it to start. Ernie didn't come because of work, so Jairo had no family or friends there :( Luckily the men he knows from sports night were there though to support him. He only had to get dunked once, but the Hermano messed up the prayer three times. Seriously, one time he said the wrong name! I was exerting all effort not to laugh out loud. After he changed and came out he just grinned, then asked me what time it is. Hahaha typical Jairo. He too was confirmed yesterday. He even wore a button-up white shirt and suit jacket :) He told me he was too tired to put a tie on. :p
|Hermana Short, Jairo, Heramana Clark|
Both Concepcion and Jario bore their testimonies after the baptisms and they were incredible testimonies. Concepcion talked about her testimony in the Book of Mormon, how she came to know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that today "Thomas" is a prophet too. It was very powerful. Jairo stood up there and I could tell he was really nervous. He made a joke, we laughed, and then he started to talk about how he knows this is the right thing. I almost cried when he started to choke up! He talked about how he didn't pray or read when we asked him, because he didn't really want to find out it was true. But that he now knows this is the church of Jesus Christ. He ended by saying he's going to need help on this new journey, but he knows the members are going to help him, and he's ready to work. That was probably my favorite part :)
One terrible thing that happened at Jairo's house this week was when he fed us one night. He brought me out (because we eat outside on TV trays) this delicious looking guarache (navajo taco, but with carne asada instead of chili) and I was super excited. Then he brought out Sister Clark's plate. A fish. The whole stinking fish. Fins, tail, eye balls, everything!! I was physically sick. They just fried the whole fish and stuck it on a plate, and she was so excited! Gross! Well you know me and fish, it's kind of a phobia thing, so of course I started wigging out. They made me pray and so I prayed for the poor fish's family. Then Jairo told me it had no family because he and Ernie were going to eat it! So mean! I couldn't eat without imagining the fish, so they had to help me turn my table to face the wall, and I ate facing the wall. At one point I turned around and almost died. Jairo was holding the fin, and sucking meat off of it! aghhhh. They thought it was hilarious, but I was scarred. I'm still scarred. Luckily the next time we went over, they went safe and bought us Sonoran bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Much better!
Other good lessons this week were with Octavio and Nereyda, the Orozco's helped us with a family home evening and it went really well. Hermano Orozco was able to help Octavio understand the Holy Ghost better which was a huge thing for him.
We taught Octavio's parents this week too. His dad is really interested, and his mom loves us, but she dozed off in our lesson :) They have a parrot that yells "MA" constantly. It will also occasionally say "Ven por aca!" (Come here) and "Buenas". Spanish speaking parrot...what more could you ask for? :)
Wow, it's been a more eventful week than I thought! I am running out of time, but I'll have plenty to write in my weekly letter today :) I hope you all have a great Valentines Day! I love you and I miss you, and I'll see you in 10 months now :) Hey look we're almost in single digits. :)
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU!!!!