Monday, May 24, 2010

Disappointments before the Blessings........week 54

How´s life in Nicaragua? Just great, thanks for asking! A little wet for sure but that happens when it rains.

This week I had several experiences that have strengthened my faith. I am now going to share with the story of the Rocha family.

About 2 or 3 years ago, Igor Castro was baptized in the church and after a few years of dedicated service to the Lord he left on his mission. In December of last year he entered the Guatemala North mission. Little did he know that for his hard work and dedication, he would bring blessings to all of his family. When a member told us about Igor about a month ago and how his family wasn´t member, it struck a chord. I knew we had to visit them. I knew that the Lord had a way of blessing missionaries´ families while they serve and so I thought, "lets start there..."

So from the start of our visits they were positive. They received us with open arms and we pried the door open convincing them that it would be worthwhile to at least know what Igor was teaching. Alba, Kenia, Ablita, and Miguel were attentive and always quick to answer the questions we threw at them. When we put a goal for baptism in the first week, all were very doubtful but they accepted reluctantly knowing that if they weren't prepared, they would back out. But we kept on teaching. We started with the Restoration and the kids were super smart. They remembered everything and they even read the scriptures with us. Kenia always listened but I knew she would be a little harder to teach from the start. She was Catholic and liked it.

We taught about the Book of Mormon and we found it to be a huge help in their conversion. Day after day in our lessons we taught from it and they all began to gain a testimony of its precepts. I felt the spirit witness of the truthfulness of the book every time we taught.

As the baptismal date approached we began to see that Kenia and Albita weren´t willing. Albita wanted to do whatever Kenia did...but Kenia wanted more time. We watched the Restoration film. We read Alma 32 together and I felt the spirit teach me in the lessons. I felt like an instrument in His hands. Thursday arrived and the interviews were done. Only Alba the mom and the young son Miguel wanted to be baptized. I got a little disanimated. But I accepted the response.

But when we went Friday, we went with the intention that Kenia and Albita were going to be baptized. We went with a very strong member in the ward and when we arrived we could see the disappointment in Kenia´s eyes. she was a little sad. As he began to teach her, it felt as if I were seeing the very Savior convince His people. I realized the importance of having faith that the people can still accept the gospel even when it seems late. I had doubted. I realized that she could still do it. She accepted. She stood up and embraced her mother. I am going to be baptized. The spirit filled the room.

The next day brought great joy to me to see that family and many others enter the holy waters of baptism with joy on their faces to make covenants with the Lord. It was one of the happiest days of the mission for me. I think Igor will be very happy to see photos. The Lord is content. I can feel it.

We had the best attendance in Las Palmas this Sunday that the members have ever seen and I just feel this new energy in the members. It is amazing. I can just testify that the Lord helps us when we have faith in Him. He even surprises us.

I testify that this is His true church. He works miracle today and when we take a little time to realize how important a family is for Him, it brings a tear to my eye. We are only preparing these people dressed in white for other occasions to be dressed in white as well: the temple and the eternities.

May the Lord always bless you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your love and prayers. I always feel them. They lighten my burden and bear me up.

Elder Grant Russell

P.S. brownies in the package. and cookies. I bought contact solution but you can send more. I think I will need it in a few more months.

The Rocha Family...they are Great!