Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009 [Twenty Years Old]

Wow! I'm 20 years old! I can't believe it. Never again will I be a teenager (unless the perfect age is 18, then I'll be a teenager forever once I resurrect.)

My birthday was wonderful. Thank you very much everyone who sent me a card or a letter or a package. I really do appreciate the letters I receive from family and friends. President Mendoza has taught us that unless we are fasting, we cannot feel the Spirit if we are very hungry. In the same way, regularly feasting on news from home helps me focus on the work during the week. (Of course if I overstuffed myself it would distract me too.)

Way back in December I had told the Montoya family that my birthday was February 10 and they remembered. That day we were signed up to eat with Johanna and Jorge, and it ended up being a party with all the Montoya Family. There were balloons, crowns, and food. They sang me "Las Mañanitas," the traditional Mexican birthday song. The Mexican tradition of shoving the birthday boy's face in the cake was also observed. It was a great day. For me, the best part was being with my converts and investigators. The truth is we are only supposed to be at dinner appointments for 45 minutes, and we were there for about 2 hours, for which I feel bad. But I talked to my zone leaders about it and I won't do it again.

Lucy and Toño's wedding was great. It was a very special day for them. And because they got married, Lucy was able to get baptized yesterday (and Toño is on his way.) Also baptized yesterday was Christian, a 15 year old who lives in the Montoya Ranchito. Christian's is an interesting story. His interest in the church started when the anti-Mormon sister of the Montoyas passed out a page of "facts" about the LDS church to all their neighbors. Nothing that that page said was true, but it sparked a lot of interest.

Christian began to ask questions to his recent-convert neighbors, who referred him to the missionaries. We answered his questions and taught him the message of the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. Christian has a difficult life because of his family situation and when we started to teach him he didn't believe in God, but in science. But he accepted our invitation to pray and he got his answer. We gave him a Book of Mormon that my friend Andrea sent me that included her testimony. It helped him.

In the few weeks that I have known Christian, he has changed a lot. He told us, for example, that in a situation where he would usually scream at his mom he frankly forgave her for losing his favorite outfit. I see in Christian a future missionary and righteous father in Zion.

Mom asked how I stay warm in a cold house without a heater. First of all, I don't think I'll have to worry much about a cold house again until next November. It is already starting to get hot here, and even though it is a rainy day today, it isn't cold. But when it is cold, thermals, sweats, a beanie, two pairs of socks and two blankets keep me comfy.

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I miss the temple dearly. It has been almost six months since last I went, and I don't think I'll get to go until I complete a year in June. That's OK; I'm focused on proclaiming the gospel and perfecting the saints. When I get back I can worry more about redeeming the dead. But I do miss Salt Lake, where we were able to go every Preparation Day.

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