Mi querida familia,
Thank you soooooooo much for the pictures and videos! They really brought a smile to my face today, and I actually got to watch the videos. It means so much to me to see that everyone is staying so united as family back home. You all look like the best the best of friends. And...I really miss that. I'm glad everything is going well. Happy Birthday to Matthew once again and I'm glad he got my letter. I am for sure going to be sending everyone a personal letter for their Birthdays.
This week has been very awesome with Elder Vance joining Elder Chapman and I. He's from Holiday Utah and has been out for about a transfer. He's a swimmer and is very interested in photogrpahy. He actually has this one photo of one the many lightening storms we've been experiencing out here in Oklahoma and it's AWESOME! He's been an incredible strength. He has a great attitude and he keeps things very lively. Su espanol es un poco feo pero pienso que eso es uno de sus fortalezas. This Sunday he gave a blessing in Spanish to one of the ward members, and I learned something very significant. Even though he didn't know a lot of words and he messed up on the grammer (instead of saying you will have health he said, you had health) the Spirit was just as strong as if from a someone who spoke the language fluently. I even saw the member wipe his eyes a little bit. It's incredible how even with our weaknesses, Our Father, Christ and the Holy Ghost qualify us for their work. We truly can make do with whatever intelligence we have. As long as we're trying our best and many times we feel our best isn't good enough, the Lord will make up the difference. I've witnessed that time and time again.
This past week has been incredibly wet and stormy. Lightening Storms in Oklahoma are the coolest! Saturday, we got to put our raincoats on and bike around our area for a full day! Despite the weather, I found it rather enjoyable. there is something about Oklahoma rain that is just very calming and soothing, and I don't know it makes it fun. We had an interesting finding experience. We had been knocking doors. I had felt the Spirit prompt me to knock on a few doors and none of them turned into anything special. They either said come back later or were'nt there.
But then I realized the purpose behind knocking on those doors. Right after we were finishing tracting in that area, a man suddenly walks out of his house and calls us over. He's from El Salvador (meaning his Spanish is incredibly difficult to understand) and he wanted to talk with us. He knew we were Mormons and mentioned that he had experience with the Mormons back in his country. He had to hurry off to work but he asked to exchange numbers and then we could come back in a few hours. We were shocked and so we complied. We actually didn't end up meeting with him that day, but we contacted him the next day which was Sunday.
Now Sunday, just happened to be this activity that our ward mission leader had been planning. Yesterday, we had an activity in the evening wherein we had a short devotional and watched "The Testaments". We invited our investigators;threee of them showed up: Carlos (the guy we met from El Salvador) and Juana and Tania who we've been teaching for the past month now.
Now the movie and the testimony were great...but more than that the members of the Spanish Branch are what touched me the most. With Juana, she only knew one member of the Branch before and that member didn't happen to be at the activity. But, our recent convert Maria (the mother of Alberto who Elder Black and I baptized my first transfer) jumped right in and fellowshipped Juana. Maria invited Juana to sit by her and then spent the rest of the night talking with her.
I often reflect on the experiences that bring me the most joy and one of them is watching the members of the branch fellowhship the investigators we had grown to love. I can't explain how happy I felt. It was simple, and felt very warm. This must be how our Heavenly Father feels about us and when we show charity to our fellow neighbors. The scripture "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." took on a deeper significance for me last night. We are all children of our Father in Heaven, and just as it fills me with joy to see our family staying united and having fun with each other, the same must betrue when our Father In Heaven sees us trying to be friends with our fellow neighbors. He loves each of his children.
And other members fellowhipped Carlos as well. Without us even asking! I like what Dad said in his last email. We are helping facilitate friendships between members and non-members. Not in a factory like way, but we are helping the Lord place people in the paths of others and give people the opportunity to develop lasting friendships. This work is so incredible! I am so greatful to be in the Branch for another transfer.
I am loving this gospel more and more every day. It's frustrating sometimes because it seems like we teach the same principles every day and they don't seem to sink in right away into the hearts of our investigators. But nonetheless, patience has become a virtue that I've come to treasure. We don't have to have miracle baptisms that occur three weeks after we meet someone. Sure that'd be great, but we have to remember that it's through "small and simple means are great things brought to pass".
Anyways, I'm glad I got to write you all today. WE actually just got a DVD of the Branch Talent show that happened a few weeks ago and I'm hoping to copy the numbers that I was in and then send them in a package our something back home. You get to see me sing in American-Gringo- Spanish! It's very fun.
Keep on being the awesome family that you are to me. I thank God every night that I've been placed in such a loving family. You've been such as strength to me, helping me remember the reason I'm out here--to help other famililes recieve the Gospel and feel the joy I've felt having you all as a family.
I love you all and keep on praying reading and going to Church!