Wednesday, May 7, 2014

April 28, 2014, Brunswick

Brenda's baptism

Saturday evening. We drive to the church. The font is being filled by our valiant and cheery Ward Mission Leader, Carlos Ibarra. We spend our time laughing and joking with him as we watch the font being filled. Javier walks in. He tells us he has just got off work but he wants to be in the chapel. "Here in the church is the Spirit, is you guys, the Elders. Outside there is temptation, evil, and difficulty." What he says has a strong impact on me. We leave the care of the slowly-filling font in their hands to drive to South River to teach a lesson. It begins to gently rain outside. We are happy as we walk in the dusk and knock a white door looking for a woman we contacted on the street the day before. No one answers. We need to return to the chapel.

Brenda arrives in a white blouse and a skirt. She has made so much progress in the last 3 weeks and we are smiling with her. She is nervous but ready. Members of the church begin arriving. I dress myself in white. I have forgotten my tie, so I put on a used one, probably worn by a worthy Priesthood leader years ago. The baptism starts. We sing, we pray, we listen to a well-prepared talk by Brenda's dear friend and fellowshipper, Karla. Time. We step into the baptismal font. Brenda is baptized and is clean.

EVERYONE. It's a wonderful life.

This week has been one of the most spiritual weeks of my entire mission. We had zone conference on Wednesday and I wept like when I was a little child when it came to a close. It gave me strength and desire. I want to serve God for the rest of my life. President and Sister Jeppson sang their hit song (not really, it's just the song they sing to close every zone conference) to close it up and Sister Jeppson began crying and couldn't finish but President just kept singing his harmony as he stared at her with the biggest loving smile on his face. I was a wreck during the song as well as into the closing prayer. I felt the most intense spirit of power, unity, and love. Another testimony to me that we are supposed to spend time and grow with one another. God lives. Even if others say he doesn't, truth it truth. He lives.


I put too much ceviche on my tostada. It broke in half and exploded.
Brenda after passing her baptismal interview
Language study in the park
Elder Bennett attempting to play the guitar 
Elder Bennett and I cruising

April 21, 2014, East Brunswick


Yes, Elder L. Tom Perry is in the mission RIGHT NOW. So in 15 minutes, we're driving to Morristown to see him. It's the second Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ that I will be seeing on my mission. I never would have thought. I have been studying up on him recently, you know, reading his profile on and whatnot so I'm beyond excited.

This week was great, we taught a fair amount of lessons and went on 2 exchanges. Elder Perez and I listened to "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens and I wanted to die I was so happy. Also, we listened to songs from Son's of Provo (Yeah I know, I'm a nerd) and they were hilarious, especially because I actually GET IT now. 

Elder Bennett's Spanish is getting soooo gooooood and he's always so humble, asking me for advice and tips and he actually WANTS to role'play because he just UNDERSTANDS. I couldn't have asked for a better companion. This week we were role-playing for Eulogio, our new Mexican investigator, and obviously, his name is a little difficult to say say he said, "So Eulogio.......... just pretend that I said your name right, ok" and I busted up laughing and we had to restart. 

I'm still going strong. It's great how focused I've been, I actually really can't believe it. I thought I would be a trunky piece of garbage by this time. By trainer, Carson Storey (Grandpa Storey to Elder Bennett), who is home now, sent me an email that just said *Trumpet playing taps*. Made me a little depressed but I laughed too. 

I love you all. 
I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. John 11: 25-26


April 14, 2014, Brunswick

Week 2 is now over. Lots of miracles and work done. But there's so much more to be done, it can be frustrating sometimes.

We started out our week teaching Maria, out 16-year-old Guatemalan investigator. SHE IS AWESOME. She literally listens and does everything we throw at her so she's pretty golden. The funny thing is we met at her... Guess where? DUNKIN DONUTS. AGAAAAIIIN. I swear, we should just go into Dunkin Donuts at 6 pm every day and teach/contact. She happened to be there with her friend Sam and we invited them both to come and sit by us and chat with us (OBVIOUSLY our intention was to TEACH THEM) but Sam kind of felt awkward so she slinked away into the rainy evening. It's nice not having fear and being immune to the word "awkward" and everything that it entails. Because inviting someone to sit down in a Dunkin Donuts, pray, and listen to a message about Jesus Christ and Prophets is PROBABLY A LITTLE STRANGE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC BUT IT'S TOTALLY COOL AND NORMAL TO US. So Maria came and sat down next to us and listened as we taught her about the Restoration. This is the best part: As we stand up to leave she asked us if we were allowed to party. We said "define party" and she then INVITED US TO A RAVE NEXT WEEK AT A LOCAL STARLAND BALLROOM VENUE. We said SORRY NO. But she still loves us.

Later on we set Brenda with a baptismal date for the 27th of APRIL. Go Brenda! She's been reading, she came to church AGAIN this Sunday, and she's been TELLING people about her baptismal date, which is a HUGE sign that she's confident and happy about it.

Ate posole with tacos dorados for lunch yesterday with Hermana Puon, my favorite Primary President. PARENTS: We should make posole and tocos dorados for my homecoming. Call RITA, DAD, and have her invite her amigas over. I WILL PERSONALLY PAY THEM. Actually can you shoot me Rita's email?

Found a new investigator named Eulogio (EH-OOH-LO-HEE-OH) from Mexico! He's a BOSS. We contacted him several weeks ago and I felt dumb because I called him a set up an appointment and didn't even remember who he was. But we walked about an HOUR in the sun (not complaining, SPRING IS INCREDIBLE) and finally knocked on a larger house that we didn't really think was his. A younger tattooed up Mexican guy answered and let us right in. We entered the house which was filled with Catholic trinkets, shrines, baby Jesuses, Marys, and crosses, complete with brightly colored paint on the walls. He said some words that I've never really heard in my mission before. We said hello, introduced ourselves, and asked him how he was doing. He responded "Bien bien hermanos, aqui ESPERANDOLOS". That means "Good good, [I've been] waiting for you." We taught him about prayer and he was super kind and anxious to listen (by the way, the younger mexican guy was Eulogio's son) and learn. Eulogio is Catholic, has 6 kids, works as a cook at a restaurant and LOVES praying and talking about Christ. He's a great guy, hopefully we see some good progression with him.

Gotta run. The Church is true. Love youuuuuuus