Tuesday, November 5, 2013

a new Leader Misional and the story of J.

Another week of miracles. We are working with two brothers that have SO MUCH FAITH, they have a don to believe and their desire to follow Christ with exactness is incredible. They are both in their fifties and they are both preparing to get baptized together this Sunday. They were both contacts we had a couple weeks ago, one was in a bus and the other in the street. We found out they were brothers after the first couple lessons and now they are both preparing together. When we explained the Word of Wisdom, they both committed to never drink coffee ever again and I, the younger brother said, "I won't ever drink it again! And when Satan tempts me before, or after my baptism, I'm going to take my belt and give him chicote!" Every single thing we have taught them, they put it in practice immediately in their lives and we are very excited for this Sunday for them. I am SO grateful for the blessing that we were able to find them.

These last 5 months have been a little challenging with having such a small branch, it's often overwhelming because it feels like we receive little help. But with the new branch president, there have been many changes (new presidencies of all of the organizations!) Including.......A LEADER MISIONAL! We finally have a leader misional, which will really help with the work. And to make things even cooler, the leader misional is J! Being such a recent convert, he is so strong in the branch and is really leading it and helping it change. And he is super excited to help us work!

I haven't included many funny things in my letters recently, but I promise that we are having a lot of fun here! I thinks it's just because the things that I used to think are weird, are now normal (people cooking chicken heads, helping people make corn tortillas, the crazy buses and stories, the dogs sneaking into church, the funny things the members do, etc.) But I'll write something funny down and include it in my email next week 
 
I am including the story of J - I do not believe I posted it here and it is a beautiful story. These are Saras words - 

I first met J R C soon after arriving to S P. He is a single 40 year old man, with a Catholic family and a strong belief in God. He had recently quit drinking and received the pair of missionaries before me when they knocked on his door. He continued on with their lessons, preparing for his baptism and learning about the gospel. Unfortunately, two hours before his baptism, it was made known that he had been drinking alcohol the night before. When he found out he couldn't be baptized, he went into a very depressed state and fell heavily back into alcoholism. 
We passed by his house every day and even his own family didn't know where he had gone. About two weeks later, we saw a homeless man on the street, smelling heavily of alcohol, with eyes of depression. I turned around after we passed him, to recognize that is was our investigator, J. He was unrecognizable with loss of weight and with worn clothes, but he was still the child of God that had had the desire to follow Christ. It was July 17, 2013 when we found him on the street and, too intoxicated to understand words, we gave him a sticky note reminding him that "It's not the amount of times we fall, it's the amount of times we can get back up." 
 
Nine days later, we received a call from him and the following day, on July 27, we were able to visit with him again. He told us how he had never felt so alone during these weeks, but through it, he never wanted to be that far from Heavenly Father again. He acknowledged how Satan had attacked his weakest point and how only Christ was the way that he could return to the path of Heavenly Father. He started a dedicated study of the Book of Mormon, and regained his physical strength so he could fast for help to overcome his addiction to alcohol. Starting with this day, on July 27, he has stayed as far away from this temptation as he possibly could. He was nervous to attend church but quickly came back, despite the rumors in the small branch. He received a priesthood blessing on July 28 and also gained a testimony through the power of the priesthood. With the powerful stories in the Book of Mormon, he gained strength in his challenges and continued preparing to enter the waters of baptism.
 
I have never seen anyone trust in the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change their life so dramatically as he had. He realized who he was, and how he needed Christ in his life, and he gave up everything to make it through the process of repentance. He was dressed in baptism clothes 22 days later, on August 18, after going through the hard darkness and returning back to the path of Christ. He bore the most simple, sincere testimony, declaring how he had finally felt clean and forgiven through the Atonement of our Savior. When we went to his house the week after his baptism, I asked him how his study was with the Book of Mormon because of the questions he always has. He told us, “I actually haven’t read that much because I’ve been memorizing something…” When I asked what it was, he brought me his Book of Mormon and opened it up to Moroni, chapter 4 and 5; the Sacrament prayers. After receiving the Aaronic priesthood and after days of memorizing these scriptures, we were able to see him kneel down in our humble chapel and say the prayer to bless the sacrament. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so tall as when he was on his knees, with the priviledge and authority to bless the sacrament. I truly love being a missionary here. I love this g√≥spel and I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the only way through which we can truly repent and return with honor. J has attended every week since his baptism, and is also helping us in the mission work. He is preparing to receive the Melchizedek in November and is a great support to our small branch here. 
 
He feels like my brother and if he was the only person that was touched in my year and a half of service here, it was worth every sacrifice I have made to be here.

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