January went by so quickly. It was a month of many lessons and experiences but overall a really great one. I hope everyone had a great start to 2016. It is already February! Happy birthday to my mamma tomorrow (February 2). Everyone wish her a Happy Birthday!
I finished training this week and am grateful for all I learned in these 12 weeks and also very happy to be completed. I feel more prepared and understand my purpose and role as a missionary. My trainer has been really amazing. We have changes tomorrow, so we will see if I stay in Las Flores or move onto another area. Only the Lord knows where we are needed.
We had a goal in the mission to baptize 200 people this month aaand..203. people entered the waters of baptism in The Retalhuleu Mission!!! We spent a lot of time finding, teaching, fasting, praying, studying and working. It was a month of many miracles. I wish I could tell all of them, but I can´t so I am just going to tell about a very special experience.
On December 4, Irma and Rafa Muy got married and baptized. They have a 10 year old son named Daniel who did not want to get baptized with them that day. Since November, Hermana Mendoza and I have been teaching Daniel. Every time we went to the house to teach him, he would listen to us but then when we talked to him about baptism, he would run away. The thing is that he has always loved church and loved to be a part of activities and learn about Jesus Christ. He just never wanted to get baptized.
We knew there had to be a reason, so we have continued to visit him. A while ago, he told us that he did not want to get baptized alone and that he did not feel like he had any friends his age in primary, so we started some boys groups to reactivate and teach nonmembers. He made a lot of friends. A few weeks after that when we invited him to baptize, he told us he was afraid of the water. So, we took him to the font and let him walk around and see how it worked and everything.
We tried and tried, but continued to feel like we just were not coming to the actual reason why Daniel did not want to get baptized. We decided to leave him alone for a couple of weeks and give him some time. In a meeting last week, we talked about finding one more person, about inviting one more person to come unto Christ and how great our joy would be.
Hermana Mendoza and I fasted and prayed about who we could teach or invite. Daniel kept coming to mind. Hermana Mendoza had this brilliant idea to make a video for Daniel with kids in the ward. We went around and made a video of kids telling Daniel that they loved him and wanted to come to his baptism.
We went to his house and showed him the video. His dad was there too. It really made an impact on him. As we talked with Daniel and his dad, Daniel told us that he felt betrayed by his dad because his dad used to drink a lot and stopped drinking and got baptized but he still remembered his dad drinking and the experiences he had with his dad. It turned out that Daniel had a lot of anger towards his dad and as we talked about forgiveness and the atonement, something really changed. That night, after 3 months of teaching, Daniel decided to get baptized. He went with us to the church that night to fill the baptismal font. Everything was completely different.
Daniel was baptised on Sunday, January 31 at 8 am.. the last day of the month. It was such an amazing experience. The spirit was so strong. Dani told us that he saw angels all around him in the font. I do not doubt that. This stubborn boy who never wanted to talk to us is smiling all the time (even in photos) and I have never seen so many changes in one person. The Muy Family is completely different than when we met them. Happiness oozes out of them and their house is filled with the spirit. It is incredible.
Attached is a photo of the family and us with Dani at the baptism. The other photo is a picture on the wall in the family's house. The Muy Family has a photo on their wall of their baptismal date (put on the wall before their baptism to remember their goal) and the temple and their goal as they prepare to enter next year. Next to the photo is our photo.
There are more details and I am writing this quickly, so I hope it makes sense. But, the point is that things need to happen in the Lord´s time. I learned that this month. We were trying to force things upon Daniel, but there was more to it. There was more in his heart. We had to ask the Lord and really seek His help. This is the Lord´s work, not ours. We cannot do anything alone.
Also, PEOPLE CAN CHANGE. Sometimes, I can forgive others, but I find it hard to forgive myself or to believe that we can change. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can change, no matter if it is a large issue or a small one. We can forgive others, the Lord forgives us and we need to forgive ourselves as well. The gospel is so beautiful. I have seen Irma, Rafa and Dani change tremendously. It has really touched me. I have the hope that because of my Savior, I can change and I can forgive myself. Also, others can change. We are made to be happy, to be free, to love and to give. The Lord is with us every step and all the tools are here to help us.
With love and good intentions,