Mi querida familia,
What a crazy week!!! When I was writing my last email, I had no idea that later that afternoon an EF-5 torando would hit Moore, OK. I was in Clinton, and honestly is was bright, and sunny, calm, and the coulds were normal. Yet only and hor and 30 minutes away mass destruction was happening. They say this is the biggest tornado to ever hit Oklahoma...and it literally followed nearly the same path as a tornado back in 1990.
Needless to say, the missionaries were enlisted in the clean-up efforts. This last Saturday, our zone drove down to Moore where we met up at the Stake Center. As we drove to the Stake Center, we didn't see any damage, infact most of the surrounding neighborhoods were untouched. We got our yellow "Mormon Helping Hand" T-shirts and headed over to park like 5 blocks away.
And what we see blew our minds. It was as if we were looking at a town hit by a bombing raid. Trees were uprooted, refrigerators in trees, houses gone save a flat slab of concrete. Debris was everywhere. WE spent the day raking, carrying logs from fallen trees over to large piles (I'll includ pictures in a later email). It was a wonderful experience, that honeslty helped strengthen my testimony of the truthfulness of this Church. The Church was sooo organized. literally 1 or days later after the storm hit, their were organized teams out there helping people out. The Priesthood is real. It truly is what gives the leaders of the church the abilites to organize massive relief efforts like this.
So we helped clean the community park. correction, we helped transform the park. I wish I took before and after pictures but I'll send a picture of what it looked like after. We also went and helped clear the backyard of one of the citizens who wqas affected by the tornado. It's incredible what a few rakes and wheelbarrows can do.
Then just yesterday. we went down to help out again. this time we went to go help clean an 80 acre ranch. WE helped clear debris (mostly roof insulation, plastic and fiberglass) because this type of stuff can hurt the cattle. WE had a team of 40 missionaries, and few members from another church. We mingled and coordinated the service efforts and the outcome was wonderful. The man who owned the ranch was touched. Without us, it would have been just him and his wife clearing 80 acres of pasture. It was also rewarding to work with other faiths and see how service really softens people's hearts.
We even heard that Presdient Taylor sat in a meeting with the heads of other churches including the United Methodist church. They asked him how the Mormons were so organized and effective. They were just astounded. President Taylor then took time to share the Gospel specifically condcerning the Priesthood organization of the church.
Finally, inbetween all this tornado clean up, on Sunday we had a baptism:) We baptized Sade' and Xzaylia, the grandchildren of Sister LoneBear (who was our recent convert at the beginning of the transfer) it's incredible how the gospel brings families together. I had the privilage of peforming the baptism for Sade'. She's a cute, spunky 9 year old who calls the missionaris the "superheroes who teach people about Jesus". She's awesome and her enthusiasm infectuous! AFter I said the baptismal prayer, she literally leaped backwards as I submerged her under water. It was such a sweet, simple moment for me as I felt the Spirit and power of the Priesthood when I perfromed the saving ordinance for Sade'.
The Gospel is so true. I look forward to this next transfer. Elder Masters is still with me and I'll be gaining a new companion named Elder Hirshi (who came out with Elder Masters). He's spanish speaking too so I'll be training these two new missionaries in spanish mostly. I'm excited! They also assigned me to be the District leader. I'm a little daunted by this as well, but I know that its a blessed opportunity to develop leadership skills and greater love for those I serve. Dad, any leader ship advice would be much appreciated.
La vida es excellente! Tendremos otro bautismo este proximo semana. La mujer quien vamos a bautizar es un milagro. Hace 3 semanas cuando ella nos llamo y nos dijo que quisiera ser bautizado. Se llama Pat y ella es increible y muy chistosa. She's almost read the whole Book of Mormon and has such a strong testimony.
I look forward to see what else is in store. Every day I think about how blessed I am to be a missionary. I can't wait to keep learning and changing into the person God wants me to be.
Les Amo mucho!!! Sigan adelante!