Monday, January 30, 2012

Mission Miracles 1/23/12

Para la Familia,
Les amo mucho!!  Les amo tanto que no puedo decirles!  Hay muchas cosas que pasaron esta semana las cuales son milagros!  Milagros digo.  El Señor nos ama y esta cuidandonos y bendiciendonos.
I love you a lot!!  I love you so much that I can't tell you!  There are many things that happened this week that are miracles!  Miracles I say.  The Lord loves us and is caring for us and blessing us.
This last week marked the "first time" for a lot of things for me.  For the first time, I did my personal study entirely in Spanish (and surprisingly I understood most of it).  For the first time, I went on splits and taught a lesson almost entirely on my own (of course with the help of the Spirit).  For the first time, I witnessed baptism and confirmation in the mission.  For the first time, I baptized someone.  And for the first time, I gave someone a blessing in Spanish.
All the things, minus the study, happened with the same family.  They've been taught before but were never all that interested until a little while ago.  They got married about two months ago in the beginning of the last transfer (I think), at the gentle urging of previous missionaries, but they still weren't interested much.  Last transfer, with Elders Tidei and Burton, things began to really progress, because the Elders came by about twice a week to do service for them and taught while giving service.  The family could see that we didn't just preach about some wierd religion, we served, loved, and helped.  And I think they began to realize that that's what it's all about.  While I was on splits last week, I was finishing up most of the teaching required before baptism, teaching them about certain of the commandments.  I used the ones they were familiar with (the 10 commandments) and then from there talked about the Law of Chastity and the law of the Sabbath (or keeping the Sabbath day holy).  It was a miracle for me, because before hand I had no idea how I would be able to teach people when no one could understand one whit of English and with a member I knew nothing about.  But I prayed for strength and help, and it was given to me.  I understood almost everything said by them and they understood me, much due to the help of the member who is a convert of 13 years and had many questions about the commandments that he has come to understand through years of attendance.  He was able to answer some of the questions better than me, because he had experience in overcoming things that I hadn't, for instance, worship of the Virgin Mary.
While reviewing the baptismal interview questions with them, I could see that they knew the answers and that their testimonies were like the sprouts of seedlings, in connection with the parable of the seed of faith in Alma 32.  The family we baptized comprised of a couple and the woman's sister, who are both sisters of a convert from about a year ago.  The couple have a 4 year old boy and a baby boy one week younger than Annie (which is what, about 8/9 months old now?).  Their names are Gustavo and Yesica (pronounced almost exactly like Jessica) for the couple, and the sister is Florencia.  Gustavo asked me to be the one to baptize him and Florencia wanted me to do her confiramation.  This last weekend was the first time I had personally performed either ordinance at all, let alone in Spanish, so I was a little nervous, but I could definitely feel the Spirit with them during those occasions.  They're a wonderful family and I'm anxious to continue watching their growth for at least another four weeks here.
Another first time was that yesterday, I taught Sunday School.  The Gospel Principles (the class for recent converts or non members) teacher was sick, and when that happens, the Elders teach the class.  Then Elder Tidei had to do an emergency split to make some visits to other members, so I was left at the church, with another brother as my temporary companion, to teach the class.  I taught lesson four from the Gospel Principles book, which is about Agency, and with the intermittent help of the brother, and help from a recent convert with my Spanish vocabulary and conjugation, it went over very well.  One thing that I felt impressed to relate to them during the class is that there are really only two options: We can follow Christ, meaning to do the will of the Father, or we can follow Satan, which is in essence doing any will other than the Father.  We know that in the Pre-existence Jesus said, "Here am I, send me...and the glory be thine forever," while Satan said, "Here am I, send me...and I will save them all, that none shall be lost, wherefore, give me thine honor" (or at least the quote is really similar to that, that's the translation I'm getting from what I remember of the Spanish in the manual, since I don't know the reference).  In this Jesus sought to do the will of the Father, and Satan sought to do his own will.  So we can either do the will of the Father, or our own.  And when we do our own, we are in essence following Satan, for if we aren't doing the will of the Father, it is not of the Father.
I like to think of the other miracles we have as well.  Elder Foster of the Seventy came on a mission tour and spoke to us on Friday.  He showed us the clip of when the Hubble Space Telescope was pointed at "nothing" and a photo was taken, twice.  And how many galaxies were revealed in those pictures taken of absolute blackness.  He then showed us a Discovery channel clip of the Earth's gravity and Magnetic fields and how complex those concepts are.  He then told us that this is what Moses saw, in the story relate in the Book of Moses, chapter 1, when he was shown the works of God.  That really put into perspective the fact that man is nothing, and yet the whole work and glory, that is to say, the purpose, of God, is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life, which is to say, our happiness as His sons and daughters.  Something else that I noticed in Abraham 3:28 is that the reason Lucifer was cast out was because of anger.  The thing with this anger is that it was anger at having someone else be chosen over him.  Christ was chosen over Lucifer, which made him angry, so he chose to rebel and thereby became Satan.  The things that I learn day to day in studies and/or conferences are truly amazing.
I hope I didn't confuse anybody and I'm sorry that all my emails are more or less preachy in nature.  Everything I do is centered around preachyness; such is missionary work.  I love you all and, as always, I love questions, they give me a direction in which to go when I write.
The Lord bless you and keep you,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup

The first one is Elder Tidei cleaning the font, the others are the family.  Again, I baptized Gustavo, and I confirmed the woman I'm standing next to in the other picture.

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