I have felt particularly thankful this week and for good reason. Tis the season to be jolly…and thankful and happy and joyful…I love the holidays. I love the Christmas lights on the roundabouts all over the city. I love that Latin jingle as you walk into the super markets and the classic Christmas music in the mall. There is a special spirit about the holidays.
It was a pretty nice week. We had a simple, normal meal for Thanksgiving but we had a member invite us over for Turkey and it was great! We are also cooking a Turkey dinner for President and his family today. Hopefully it turns out okay. I thought I had more experience in this but it turns out I have only seen Turkeys made for all of these years ha ha. I would be a better taste tester than cook I think ha ha.
I got my package and the sweets are going fast. I love those brownies mom. They taste just like home…at least from what I can remember. The stockings are great, so great in fact that we have them hanging in the office and President put his up in his house. He is very thankful for that mom. He really feels special when people remember to do things like that for his family. I didn’t know how to take the thanks for something I hadn’t done but I told him that I would relay the message.
I am thankful for all of you. I am thankful for your prayers and thoughts on my behalf. My thoughts were turned home for a moment or two here and there this week. I care for you all and miss you but I am super excited to be here for this time of year. I feel that this is the best time of year to teach people about Jesus Christ. Their hearts are open because the season.
I continue to marvel at the change that can come into our lives when we let Jesus in. I have seen serious progress in the lives of many this week that has caused me to think about the infinite power of the atonement. Last Sunday I witnessed the division and official formation of the Borgona Branch in the University Stake. I saw many converts that I had either helped teach in their early months or had seen them get baptized too. It was wonderful to see their excitement as they smiled to me and said that they had now completed a year as members of the church, and still active and strong. I remember the first Sunday when they began to see if La Borgona would be able to be self sufficient. There were only 25 people the first Sunday but now there is a large Branch. It is amazing to see how much people and areas can change.
As of Saturday evening last week we were starting to be a little discouraged because after having worked with so hard with so many families, we still only had a few investigators in church…none of which we considered possibilities for baptism. We had gone three weeks without baptizing and our possibility of going without a baptism was looking like fate. We prayed Saturday night for a miracle. I guess it was a long shot. I don’t really know what we were asking for but God did. We said something like this, “Heavenly Father, we want to baptize and we have been working hard both in the office and in the field. After visiting the investigators tonight we don’t think anyone will come tomorrow to church. We need a family to come tomorrow so we can prepare more for baptism. Please let a family come, even if it means having a member bring their husband or wife whom isn’t a member. Please help us to find these people to teach.”
When we arrived at church, the man was there. Jose Danilo came with his wife that day. He came to see his step sons participate in the Primary program and ended up staying the whole time. He loved it all. He came again today. We gave him a priesthood blessing so that he can stop smoking and be baptized the 18th of December. God really does answer prayers.
On top of that tender mercy of the Lord, I thank Him for letting us find Pilar and her two kids. They had been going to church for some time but for some reason we had misunderstood her. She wasn’t living with her partner anymore and was completely willing to keep the Law of Chastity. She was baptized this week. Thanks to our Heavenly Father in this wonderful time of year that He continues to change people’s lives.
I bear witness of the divine mission of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that He answers our prayers. I am thankful that He permits me to bear His name daily and I strive to be worthy to bear it. I try to have it upon my chest and within my heart at all times. Tis the season to be jolly, thankful, loving, and trusting in our Father in Heaven. We believe in a living Christ who continues to bless our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Grant Russell