I hope that you are all doing well! We had a really great week and the work is progressing! Ezekiel Dominguez was baptized on Saturday and it was a really beautiful baptism. I have loved seeing the progress of this family, especially with the reactivation of the Grandma. Like I said, I have been blessed to see mostly baptisms of children, but the beautiful thing is that we find them by reactivating the adults in their lives. It is really special. Their grandma is so happy to be back in the church and enjoying all of the blessings of church membership after more than 20 years inactive. It truly is neat to see. I think of past families that have been reactivated and through that, finding baptisms and helping the family…
Augustin´s dad was reactivated and Augustin baptized. Familia Díaz was reactivated and Karen, Danisa, and David baptized. Familia Barroso was reactivated and Yenifer, Milagros, Marina, and Javier baptized. How special to see the families come back to church and their children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews join them in the work. Wow. The gospel really does change lives.
Anyways, back on track now… Ezekiel was baptized on Saturday. He and Florencia were to be confirmed on Sunday and the whole family woke up in the night throwing up and with fevers… that has really been going around. So the confirmations are still yet to happen, but we know that they will be better in time for this coming Sunday.
This week, we have our first “normal” week in over a month! We don´t have to travel anywhere, which will be really nice, because we have SOOOOO much work to do! It has been really amazing participating in the Temple Open House, but now we don´t have a ton of investigators. We have had very limited time, so we have focused on those we had and not found a lot of new investigators, but we have a lot of faith and a full week now to get to finding! The Lord is preparing His children and we know that we will find those who are truly prepared to receive the restored gospel. Yesterday, a brother in the ward called us and told us that he has a friend who wants to listen to the lessons and we have an appointment to go today at 7 with him, a young man of about 25. Then, our bishop´s wife called this morning to see if we can go to their family home evening where they invited some friends who aren´t members at 8! We didn´t even have to do anything... the investigators are coming to US! haha. The Lord really is preparing His children... we just have to work hard and have a lot of faith. He will prepare the way.
So this morning, during language study, the phone rang... Hermana Gulbrandsen! She only calls when there is something important to say... so I answered it wondering what it might be. She said "Hermana Shelley, I am calling you because President asked me to." A MILLION things raced through my mind in the 2 second pause... I had NO idea what it could be. Then she started explaining that we would be having a special conference with Presiden Eyring on the 7th of September and that President Gulbrandsen had invited me to lead the music! WOW! I am so excited! I of course accepted and she explained how it would work. Hermana Smith, whom I love, with be playing the piano, and the two of us will be invited to sit on the stand! So great! With us, the West, and South missions, we will be about 700 missionaries, and who knows where we would be sitting... but now I will be able to be right there so close! What an amazing blessing! I am really excited and truly grateful... now I just have to figure out what to wear! hahahaha.
We are definitely getting excited for all that will be happening next week. Next Friday, the 7th is the special conference with President Eyring. The 8th (Saturday) we will be in the cultural event, and the 9th is the rededication of the Temple. Wow. What a powerful weekend it will be. We are working hard to get all of our converts their interviews so that they can be in the rededication of the Temple. What a neat thing to see that these new members and the recently reactivated members who have put things in order are going to be present when a prophet of God dedicates the Temple. I love it! All those who are confirmed this Sunday will be able to be present in the rededication, so we are working hard to get those who are prepared to their baptisms and confirmations so that they can enjoy this unique opportunity.
Two weeks ago, we had an amazing zone conference, and I forgot to mention it in last week´s crazy fast letter. President talked all about what it means to be totally dedicated. He said that our success is not measured by numbers, rather by our DEDICATION to baptize and confirm weekly, find, teach, help progress, etc. He taught us that dedication is "sacrificed devotion" (sorry if that is a bad translation... devoción sacrificada...) Basically, it is giving EVERYTHING that we have over to the Lord. Spending EVERY moment thinking of others. Spending ALL of my strength in the work. Thinking only of the work. Sacrificing even the little things. Making it sacred. Making it what the Lord would have it be. We have to accept the agency of others, but we must do everything we can, fully relying on the Lord, and He will be pleased with what we do. In the conference, President invited me to give a 5 min talk on the Temple and our vision as missionaries... seriously, in every Zone Conference where he has invited someone to give a talk, he has called me up. I guess I really need the blessings. But it was actually a really neat experience. I felt the Spirit teaching me much more than what I said and it was what I needed.
The investigators are doing well.
Familia Dominguez is still progressing well. I love them so much and am so happy with all of their progress! They are really applying the gospel by having family prayers and such. Neat!
Familia Díaz is also doing well. Hugo told us that he is actually thinking about being baptized, which he has NEVER done... he is about 55 and was sort of stuck in his ways, but is really coming around. He ended up going to the Temple 3 times and it had a really powerful effect on him.
Rodolfo (remember him? He is Vilma´s husband who didn´t get baptized with her because he can´t stop smoking) also went to the Temple open house and had a great experience. More than anything, he just doesn´t WANT to stop smoking... he likes it. We are teaching about sacrifice and eternal families... he is starting to come around more. We aren´t with him too often because he isn´s progressing a lot, but now with the Temple experience, he is doing a bit better. He never misses a Sunday.
Matías is a new investigator. He is 23 and really a good person. We passed him outside of his house on the way to see our Bishop and felt to stop. As we talked, he told us that he has been looking for a church! Really neat. He works a ton and it is hard to find him at home, but we will keep at it.
Stela is a new investigator who is about 55 and the mother of TEN! Wow! We have an appointment to meet her whole family on Wednesday. Our ward mission leader gave us the reference.
Hermana Montecinos is really doing well. She is growing each day and becoming more and more comfortable. I am having her take the lead in all of the lessons, which really stretches her, but she has risen to the challenge. I know that in three more weeks when her training ends (weird!) she will be ready for whatever comes her way. I have seen so much growth in her in these last 2 months and am very proud of all that she is doing.
The work is progressing. I love it so much! It is weird that the transfer is at the half way mark! I feel like we just started... with all this Temple stuff, it just totally got away from us. But we have seen a lot of miracles and we are happy. I know that this is truly the work of the Lord. I know that this is His church and that we are preparing ourselves for the second coming of the Savior. I know that when He comes, we can be prepared by living the gospel and applying the Atonement. I had a really special experience with my patriarchal blessing this morning. I made three columns... in one, I wrote all of the gifts that the Lord has given me, in the middle, I wrote how I am currently applying these gifts, and on the right side I wrote what I feel that the Lord wants me to do now to develop those gifts and become who He wants me to be. It was really special and I received a lot of revelation. It´s embarrassing, but their were a couple of spots in the middle blank because I am not really applying some of the gifts. I have been so blessed by the Lord, but I know that I haven´t used all of my gifts to the fullest. It is like the parable of the talents... a gift from the Lord does us no good if we don´t use it! We have to not only use it, but DOUBLE it, like in the story. I have much to do... But I know that the Lord will help me to use and magnify the gifts He has given me. I know that He expects a lot of me, but I will go and do all that He asks, and in His strength, I know that I can do it!
I love you all so much! I pray for you daily!
pictures: 1. Kailei at the Temple
3. Florencia and grandma
4. Dominguez family
5. Birthday wish to Kadon
Hermana Montecinos also has a brother that has a birthday next week, so we had a little party!