Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dirty water, Clean soul........week 17

Hey family

Well I am sorry I didn't get a letter off to you yesterday. We had a somewhat crazy Pday and didn't get a chance to write.

So as always this week has passed quickly and I can hardly believe it. We are already in week three of the change and I feel like I am still getting used to my companion. We had many great experiences this week and I will inform you of a few of them.

We had a baptism this week. Laura Izaguirres was baptized Friday and it was quite the experience. We arrived at the rental house where the Ward has church in Las Colinas and to our dismay, the pool that we had planned to use for the baptism was dirty. There were Little creatures (tadpools) and it was a green. It was kind of gross. But we weren't deterred. We decided to start to clean it, and a few hours later, the wáter looked good enough to enter. We left and came back for the baptism later that day and the wáter had become dirty again. We cleaned it again and began setting up for the baptism. In the end, it all went well. Brother Robles performed the baptism which made it extra special. I think I will always remember the image of that day: Brother Robles, a recent convert in his White baptismal suit standing in a murky pool, ready to baptize a daughter of God who he had helped invite into the waters of Baptism. It was an unforgettable experience. How one can leave dirty waters cleaner than when she entered is truly a miracle!

We have also been working with many members this past week to try and help them become active. In Nicaragua, the retention is still very low and the President is working hard so that we can retain and reactivate those who have been lost in strange paths. Our Ward has unusually high percentage in attendance but the Branch has a lot of work. Working with less active members is really special. Upon talking and sharing experiences with less actives, I have realized that many have only left the church because they had no friends, they began to have commitments, they had a question, or were offended. These small challenges can many times be resolved and they can once more enjoy the blessings of active worship.

As member missionaries, we must not only think about inviting nonmembers to hear about the church but also work with those who have only retired for a time. We know that Christ is willing to leave 99 sheep to search for one. How willing are we to do the same?

Anyway, the mission is great! I am learning a ton every day and I feel so inadequate as a missionary still but I am trying my best. When I see the difference in one persons life, it makes it worthwhile for me to be here.

It sounds like the family is doing great! I thank you all for your prayers and thoughts. Joy and Josh, I am excited that your lives are moving forward and that Josh is starting to work again. When we have faith, it always Works out. I smiled thinking about the family gathered around for Landon's birthday. Two years old! How fast the time has gone! Troy, I am tired too. Not to the same extent, but tired. We can both be tired together. I love ya man! Tyler, I bet the party was SaWEET and that a ton of friends came. If not, well we know how that goes and we still have fun. I hope everything is well with you and enjoy this last Senior year. Sean, well done. In the library until closing the first week. It brings tears to my eyes to know that my brother is warming my library seat for me. Keep it warm all year. But relax too. I found that if I worked hard all week long, including a good portion of Friday and Saturday, that my Saturday nights and Sundays were so much better and relaxing.

Mom, I thought about you today and I wondered how you had been feeling with the change in your life. I really appreciate your years of service as a mother and everything you have taught me. One many times doesn't remember the lessons because they weren't one time discourses but year long study courses. I really can see the difference that your teaching (and Dads) has made in my life. I am truly a product of your hard work as parents. Thank you, and I hope that I am not a negative externality ha ha.

Dad, your hard work and dedication in all that you do is a great example to me. Many people here have the false impression that Americans have it easy, that they don't work, live like movie stars and are lazy. I can always testify to them that not all are that way because of your example. Thank you. And about the Nostalgia, I am passing through it a Little bit too. I will miss sitting next to you this year again.

Well the time has come again, and I will say my good byes. Always remember that God loves you and watches over you. He is ready to help us and has blessings ready. It depends in us if we are going to receive the blessings. May you feel the spirit guiding you every day is my prayer.
Elder Grant Russell

PS lay your hands off my brownies…

Laura Izaguirres' Baptism by Brother Robles