Monday, May 23, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Hola Familia,
We had an awesome week!  It is so amazing the things we have seen the past few weeks!  To start off I thought I would let you all know just how awe-inspiring and slightly unreal it was to look Elder Oaks in the eyes and to hear an Apostle ask me how I was doing!  Elder Oaks came to our mission this last week and we all had the opportunity to shake his hand and share a quick few words.  He is so full of love and I don´t think there was anyone in the whole room and mission that didn´t have a huge smile on their face.  After the personally greeting everyone, he then gave a wonderful talk in which I learned so much and feel so much more pumped to work so much harder.  President asked that we all go fasting to the meeting because Elder Oaks told him that the words he says are dictated by the Spirit and that if we all came fasting he would be forced to say exactly what we needed to hear.  What a cool experience it was to see and feel the things the Lord needed me to hear and know from the words Elder Oaks said and the thoughts that have sprung into my mind during and after the meeting.  He seemed so normal just greeting us but the whole room felt different as he entered and when he spoke there was nothing that could have demanded more of my attention.  I am so thankful for the leaders of the church and all they do to help us complete our individual purposes here on the earth and return to live with God again.
Elder Lubiano and I had a pretty cool experience this last week with prayer.  We had baptisms this week and the days before the service are always so stressful.  However, I have realized and have seen that when I do everything I can in every moment God has given me in the mission field, I have the confidence that He will do the rest.  Every prayer that I offer, personally or in the companionship, is a plea that the opposition doesn't get the best of people preparing for baptism.  Everyday when we leave to work, I leave with confidence that God will grant us this help.
To expound a little more on this I will relate to you the experience one of the people we baptized had a couple days before her baptism.  She is the same lady that was robbed of 16,000 pesos.  The night before her baptism she told us flat out that she wanted to wait until the next week.  We asked her why and hoping that I would have the words to help her make the right decision, I almost laughed when she told us why she wanted to delay.  She wanted to buy a special new skirt to wear to church on her special day.  We helped her realize that she could buy the dress in the next week and have it for her confirmation.  This was a relief and pleasure to have her once again excited for her baptism.  However, the morning of the baptism is when we saw the miracles.  We stopped by her house on the way to the chapel to find her completely not ready to go to church.  She told us to just go ahead and go to the chapel and that she would meet us there.  She looked super exasperated and not in any state to meet us there.  We went to the church and while I stayed to prep the baptismal font Elder Lubiano went to pass by again.  He came back a little while later with her.  I went to see how she was doing and this is when she related her night before and the morning of the baptism.  She barely slept and when she woke up she had decided that she was not going to be baptized.  However, with a little bit of persistence from us and the power of prayer she somehow decided to come to church.  By the end of church she was so excited.
However, right before her turn to be baptized, a really tall man was baptized by my companion.  My companion had a hard time submerging him in the water completely and when he finally was under the water he starting flailing like crazy.  When he got control of himself he started coughing like crazy, accidentally swallowing some water.  Guadalupe, the lady with so much opposition, had huge eyes of worry and with reluctance followed me to the baptismal font.  I then had to spend the next 5 of so minutes telling her that everything would be alright and that she would feel so good afterwards.  Thankfully, her baptism went super smoothly and she came out of the water beaming.
I am so thankful for the power of prayer and that we have a kind Father in Heaven that cares, hears, and answers our prayers.  I will never forget these moments when prayers were answered, the experiences of the past, and experiences I will yet have.  I love the mission field and am so excited to start another week!!!!  Love you all!
Elder Janis