Well, I'm very tired and drained mentally especially with the San Juan family but I got 2 companions to helpme out.
We met with them on Tuesday and finished the lessons. Obey the law of the land... does that include speeding?... something to think about. Anyways it went welland they want to be baptized on the 2nd. Please pray for this family to be baptized specifically on that day.
As far as their spirituality, they are reading from the scriptures together and they each shared with us their favorite verses from the scriptures. Their faith is solid. Divine and Jessica came to the morning session and Florentino came to the evening sacrament. Norma and Dorothy had to work. Maybe the Lord knew they wouldn't be able to come on Sunday so He told them to get baptized next week? Norma is theonly one who hasn't been to church twice yet.
We met with Lorne on Saturday and taught the 2nd halfof lesson 2. We also showed him the movie Finding Faith in Christ. The Spirit was very strong and afterwards he said, "There's a lot of hope for me!" We invited him to be baptized on February 19th. He said he wants to still pray about it but he thinks baptism is "wierd". We toldhim about how it's a way the Savior showed us we need to follow him. I toldhim it was symbolic of how we wash our sins away and start a new life. It's now making more sense to him. His girlfriend (member) told him that we onlyinvite him to be baptized because we love him and she said," Everytime they come over, they're probably going ask youagain to be baptized but with a different date." I was so happy it came from her. So he's going to pray about it and we gave him another reading assignment.
Last time, we assigned him to read 2 Nephi 2 but he misread it and read 2 Nephi 12 instead. So, the first time Lorne readt he Book of Mormon was in Isaiah. He's going to be a solid member I tell you. Start them off strong!
There's a Bible Study going on Wednesday nights and we're doing our best to get people to go to that (Church is a higher priority though). The ward seems to begettingreally excited about missionary work. Elder Mercado's recent convert just got married to a guy she met online. He's a member and they want to get married in the temple sothat will be exciting... especially for Elder Mercado.
Well, I love you all and sorry these e-mails are shorter and there's not as much testimony but I want you to know that this gospel is true and I'm so honored to be able to share it.
So it turns out that Elder Mercado's lump was a cyst. We got it checked out on Tuesday and the doctor gave him some antibiotics and a cream. He's not having too much fun especially with all of the walking we have to do but it is getting better. Thank you for keeping him in your prayers.
Good things are happening in Banff. We met with the San Juan's on Tuesday and talked about following the prophet and the 10 commandments. So we emphasized the 4th commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy. We talked to them about ways they could attend church and we invited Florentino and Norma to take their lunch breaks. Florentino isn't able to leave the hotel during his lunch break and Norma hesitantly accepted. They still want to be baptized and really want to attend church. Wednesday evening, we had dinner with President Yawney and he said we're going to do the evening sacrament meeting. So last night was the first official Banff Branch evening sacrament meeting. Florentino and Norma came (their daughters attended the morning session) and really enjoyed it. President Yawney and I gave short talks and there were 4 other members who came to help out. We had a 20 minute Sunday school class afterwards and talked about the church organization. The Lord provided a way for them to go to church just like we promised. It's wonderful to be able to see the Lord's hand work with everybody here in Banff to make it possible for this family to attend church and for them to be able to gain access to the Atonement.
We met with Lorne on Saturday and taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation. Sister Ganter-Pomares (Relief Society President) said that the Spirit has never been stronger in her home. Lorne is a very special child of God. He's had a rough past and is very susceptible to the Spirit. As he read from the scriptures in the Book of Mormon, he said, "You know, I have no idea what this scripture means, but it feels good." That's the kind of spirit this man is. We talked about Jesus Christ and he feels like Christ has been a guide in his life but isn't sure if he was actually a person. It's very complex but as he reads the scripture assignments we gave him, he will come to know who his Savior is like the rest of us have done. We invited him to be baptized on February 5th and he said he wants to think about it. He said he feels an instant connection with us and the members. We had to leave because of our curfew but afterwards, Lorne and Sister Ganter-Pomares were talking and Lorne told her he wants to meet with us agin on Saturday.
We found 2 Jamaicans on the street to teach and there's a Insitute/Bible Study class that goes on Wednesday nights that we invited them to. They know one of the members who is also a Jamaican so that helps out a lot. We now can invite them to the evening sacrament meeting as well.
I feel really blessed to be in this area at this time. There are so many miracles and the Lord has kept us in the dark for quite a while. Faith is the key in those moments and I have seen that over and over in this area. Allowing the Spirit to be the senior companion is the only way to go.
Thanks for all the e-mails this week guys... really appreciate it. That's okay though because I don't want to even think abouthome after this week.
This week waschalk full of miracles. On Tuesday, the San Juan family told us they wanted tobe baptized on Januray 17. We talked to thebranch and most of the families would not be able to make it to the baptism so they decided to push the date back to the 22nd. The 3 daughters attended church and loved it. Divine and Jessica have been to church twice now and Dorothy has been once. Florentino and Norma (the parents) have had work and it's been difficult for them to get Sunday's off. The branch was not supportive of the evening sacrament meeting idea so it looks like it's up to prayers and faith now.
As for the lessons, Tuesday was lesson 3 and it went awesome. We also taught about the Sabbath day and how we keep it holy. Divine said she wanted to go to church "again and again and again". There's a very powerful spirit to that girl. Thursday, we felt prompted to teach the word of wisdom, tithing andthe law of chastity. We were all very nervous because they're a very poor family and Florentino said he is a "coffee lover". Were also really apprehensive because at the end of our last appointment, they brought out Nestea and orange juice for us...We chose the orange juice. So we fasted and prayed that the Spirit would bear truth to this family about these commandments. We role played each principle and did our best to figure out how to resolve their concerns. We went in to the lesson and the Spirit was very powerful. We asked them "Who is Joseph Smith to you?" and Florentino blew my mind away. He read through the introduction of the Book of Mormon prior to meeting with us and talked about the Restoration andthe 3 witnesses. It was incredible. Elder Nielsen taught the word of wisdom and they said, "No coffee then... All right!" We then taught the law of chastity and modest dress. The parents were smiling. We then taught the law of tithing. We were concerned about how they were going to take this lesson but Norma said, "With God, all things are possible." They accepted 3 commandments without a doubt in their mind.
Afterwards, we brought up January 22nd. Norma may have a tough time getting that day off. For the closing prayer, Divine asked God to let her mom have the 22nd off because "we really want to be baptized as a family." You cannot tell me that there wasn't a divine power in that room that evening. This is a family whom God has prepared to come to the knowledge of the Restoration. Everyone in that room felt God's love because truth was being taught. The best part is that they recognized those things. They feel and know that this is God's truth.
Saturday night, we met with a less active girl and her non member boyfriend. Prior to the dinner, we asked Tiffany if she would be comfortable with us inviting her boyfriend, Lorne, to takethe discussions. She said she would wait but that if we felt an overpowering impression ofthe Spirit, we should. Well, we felt that Spirit right after she hung up. We went over and had a great dinner and we all really bonded well with each other. After dinner, before we even said anything, Lorne basically opened up his entire personal life to us. He told us about his rough past and how he came to know that God is real and how it's been a blessing. Each one of us were able to relate to him in different ways. He knows a lot about the church and even told us his body is like a temple. My eyebrows went straight up. This man has been prepared to meet us. We talked to Tiffany afterwards and she said that Lorne wished we could stay longer. She said he wouldn't stoptalking about us and there is something about us that he enjoys. So Saturday at 6 PM, we will be having a dinner and a lesson.
The Lord is working his hand in Banff. That is truth. I know that as we continue to work hard and be obedient and let the Lord lead us through the dark, God's prepared children will be placed in our paths.
Well transfers were only 5 weeks this time but it looks like Elder Mercado and Elder Nielsen and I are staying together for another one. This will be pretty exciting staying together especially with Elder Mercado's expertise with the Filipino community.
This week was pretty awesome! We met with the San Juan family and taught them the 2nd half of the plan of salvation. We asked them where they wanted to be at the end of this life and they all said the celestial kingdom. We then invited them to be baptized on January 8th and they said they would call us on Thursday. Before we ended we asked them why they wanted to be baptized and they each gave a different reason: to be born again, to come closer as a family, to have a peace of mind, to find out what their religion is and also because it's a commandment. We then asked what their concerns were and they just said they want to be sure that this is something they want to do. We then invited Florentino to offer the closing prayer and to ask Heavenly Father if this is something they want to do. He gave the prayer and the Spirit was way strong. We also reminded them that after the prayer, to listen to the answers that Heavenly Father is giving them. After doing that, we waited until Thursday.
After fasting and going through some physical struggles (Elder Nielsen got frostnip), we finally got the phone call we were waiting for! Florentino and his family want to be baptized together on the same day!!! The only thing is that they want to decide on a day tomorrow when we met again. Our prayers, your prayers and definitely their prayers were heard and answered. So tomorrow, we will set a date and continue to teach them.
We haven't been able to get a hold of Chris for these past 2 weeks. His job has changed and his phone doesn't work anymore. We're also figuring he's probably getting some outside pressure at the moment. Prayers for him to fight against Satan and to recognize the feelings of the Spirit he had with meeting with us will definitely help.
This is so awesome to be able to see the San Juan family's prayer answered and I am so excited to continue to work with them and see them progress and watch their faith increase along the way.