Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13, 2013

Dear Family,
Beatriz got baptized!! Basically I´m super happy right now. I have been so excited since Saturday to tell you guys about it! But I´m getting ahead of myself.
Thursday one of the zone leaders came with us as a trio all day and interviewed Beatriz at the end of the day. She passed without any trouble and he said that she was really great and totally ready for baptism. I told him I already knew she was really great and she has been ready since before I got here. :) Beatriz said she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible so Friday we called as many members and investigators as we could and made a program (which was actually one of the best I´ve seen so far in the mission, if I do say so myself). Then Saturday at 1:00 was the baptism. It was amazing! There were more people there than I've ever seen at a baptism in this ward. Everyone was so excited that she was finally getting baptized (half of them thought she was a member already). I was pretty stressed trying to get everything ready in the morning and make sure it turned out well (I think every baptism is a little hectic), but in the end it was all worth it and it turned out great! Elder Berthon and the old bishop who just got changed gave talks about baptism and the Spirit. After that I preformed the baptism, which was an awesome experience (and I didn´t even say anything wrong). It happens so fast but it´s so important and so powerful. I´ve gained a greater appreciation of the symbolism of baptism in the mission and it was so wonderful to be able to be a part of washing away the past and starting a new life for Beatriz. After the ordinance José Luis (also a recent convert and Bea and Kancho´s closet friend in the ward) bore his testimony about the incredible feeling of baptism. He talked about how we are completely washed clean to start again and how he tries everyday to stay as clean as he was the day of baptism and to keep that feeling alive. It was really touching. Then Beatriz bore her testimony. She has such a strong testimony and so much faith! She thanked everyone who helped to reach this point, talked about how excited she was to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost the next day and that she will strive everyday to stay worthy of it. She really brought the Spirit. Elder Berthon told me afterwords that Daniela (she and Paula came to the baptism, yay!) teared up a little during her testimony. How cool is that?Afterwords everyone hung out for awhile congratulating Beatriz and eating (Ely and Beatriz brought a TON of food). Basically the whole thing was amazing and I´m so happy and so thankful. There have been so many missionaries that have taught her and I am just grateful to have had the honor of baptizing her. What an awesome day!
So that was obviously the most important news from the week. Other than that we have been continuing with our other investigators. Eduardo and Paula are slowing understanding more and more. We need to help them recognize the Spirit more. We taught Daniela the Restoration and she was very interested and said she would read and look for her answer. She also said that this past Sunday she really wanted to come to church. She had an interview or something but she said that normally something like that wouldn´t bother her, but all day she felt like she wanted to be in church. That's super cool and I had the thought come into my head while she was talking that God is on our side. He is providing our investigators with the experiences they need and sending the Spirit to touch them, we just have to open their hearts and minds to what God already has prepared for them. I was able to testify that that feeling came from the Spirit and that by following feelings like that she will be able receive and recognize an answer from God about what we teach. It was a really good experience.
Other than that we are continuing with patience in working with people and looking for more people who are prepared. Kancho is gone for a couple of weeks for vacation, but when he gets back we´re going to ask him where he is at with baptism and if we need to continue working with him. I feel like he will be baptized soon as well.
Thanks for telling me about Kylee's and Addi´s mission calls. Ohio and Florida, how cool is that! I´m excited for them, next time you see them tell them they rock for going on a mission and that it´s going to be an awesome experience!
I never wrote Cheri, sorry I totally forgot. I don´t know if there is still time, but something I would have done to prepare more is study Preach My Gospel, especially the basic doctrine in the lessons in chapter 3. Strengthening your testimony of those basic doctrines and making each one meaningful to you will help you teach better. Also, loving people is hugely important in the mission. Try to be more loving and to see everyone as a child of God. That would be my advice.
Mom, I would encourage you and the whole family to participate fully in the media blackout. I think Dad told me it´s only a week, which is not a very long time. I think it would an awesome example to the girls if you were to do it. Also, try replacing the time you would normally spend with some sort of media doing something that brings the spirit, such as reading the scriptures or conference talks or just pondering how God has blessed us. I know that if the Stake Presidency asked you do this blackout, it´s for a reason and as you participate you will see blessings.
Well that´s all I have time for for today. You already know, but I don´t get tired of saying it: I love you all soooo much! Thank you so much for supporting me from the other side of the world and praying for me and for the people I teach. I know that your prayers had a lot to do with Beatriz being baptized. I know there is power in prayer. Thanks for all you do and for loving me. Have an amazing week!
Elder Cousins

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