Now that La Semana Santa (I think it is called the Holy Week in English, I can't remember), is coming, our mission is giving out videos of The Lamb of God and Finding Faith in Christ. But unlike other campaigns, there are no TV commercials--it is purely by member reference.
Hermano Zavala went door to door in his neighborhood (all his neighbors call know him as “Hermano Zavala” even though they aren't members). Yesterday he gave us 21 references. Although he is a member of the high council, a temple worker, a volunteer in the family history center, a husband, father, and grandfather, and has a job, he is always willing (and excited) to accompany us in lessons with is neighbors. In fact, three of his neighbors are preparing to be baptized in two weeks. If all members were like unto Hermano Zavala, missionaries could truly be full-time teachers as Elder Bednar once taught in a General Conference.
Speaking of General Conference, it is only two weeks away! I'm excited.
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[My sister] Rebecca asked if it is getting hot. Yes. The hottest season doesn't come until around June, but the heat has begun. That's OK. Heat makes me tanner and thinner, and helps me appreciate it even more when people let me into their homes.
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[My sister] Rachel asked how many baptisms I have had on my mission. If you mean how many people I have baptized personally, the answer is five. If you mean how many investigators have been baptized while I was teaching them, the answer is 15. If you mean how many people that I have taught have been baptized, the answer is somewhere around 20.
[My brother] Benson asked what is my favorite Sunday song. That's a hard question. I think the answer is a hymn that doesn't exist in English, called “Placentero nos es trabajar.” I also like “Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy” and “I'm trying to be like Jesus.”
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We are currently going through a list of all the people who were baptized in our ward in the past year. Of more than 20, only the Montoyas have been ordained to the priesthood, received callings, and are still active. It made me sad to see that so many have fallen away so quickly. Callings and ordinations may not be something that you as members can help. But activity is. Be a freind to the new converts. help them feel at home. Help them gain a testimony. Help them want to come to church.
Yesterday Mauro Alfredo Montoya Perez was baptized. [He appears in the picture at left, flanked by Elder Hernandez and Elder Rowley.] It was a wonderful experience. Last week my companion and I went to the baptismal service of one of the Zone Leaders' investigators, and were impressed by how well planned and spiritual the baptismal program was. So we applied the same principles at Alfredo's baptism, and it was wonderful. Besides the baptism itself (which had to be preformed three times due to the low amount of water in the font), the most spiritual part was the closing hymn, a special musical number sung by Hermano Zavala, my companion, and myself.
Alfredo's is an incredible story. (It is Alfredo who quit smoking in three days.) When I first met him, he was always drunk and always smoking. He was always very nice, but he didn't want anything to do with us. But we were persistent. And little by little, he began to change. As his family began to convert to the gospel of Jesus Christ, they began to share their testimonies with him, and without us ever teaching the word of wisdom, he stopped drinking all by himself. When we taught him that smoking was also a sin, he stopped in just three days. He has a great desire to follow the Lord, and he is truly a new person.