Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009 -- The Best Christmas Ever

Yesterday was a great day. It was wonderful to be able to talk to family. . . .

As I mentioned in our conversation, yesterday was my best Christmas ever. Not because of the gifts I got, or because of the parties or food. It was great for two reasons -- one, because I got to talk to my family, and two, because of the baptism of Ranulfo.

I consider Ranulfo as my gift to the Lord, as well as His gift to me. My companion and I have worked hard with Brother Villegas to help him be ready for this great day. Like I’ve said, Ranulfo is a great person. He is a learned and well educated man, who thinks a lot. Yet he is humble and listens to the counsel of God.

As I mentioned, the temple played an important part in Ranulfo’s decision to be baptized. Several times a week, Ranulfo visits Montemorelos for part of his work as a lawyer. The highway to Montemorelos passes right in front of the temple. He told us that every time he passes the temple he thinks to himself, “I’ll soon be able to enter.”

It was a great baptismal service. The water was freezing (the boiler doesn’t work in our chapel), and Ranulfo is a big man and didn’t go all the way under the first time, but the warmth of the Spirit made up for the water. I love hearing new converts pray at the end of their baptismal service (something which President Mendoza has invited us to have them do.) Ranulfo said a powerful prayer thanking the Lord for sending him the missionaries and pledging to keep his baptismal covenants.

This was also a good Christmas because it was the first in which I got to be Santa. I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night to set out gifts, but I did spend Christmas eve delivering Christmas packages. This past week the office has been filled with packages that have arrived through local mail and shipping services and that Preisdent Mendoza had picked up in McAllen.

President Mendoza wanted all the missionaries to get their packages before or on Christmas. So Thursday we toured the border. First we went to Reynosa, where we met President Mendoza with another load of packages from the P.O. Box, then we traveled to the different zones delivering packages to Reynosa, Rio Bravo, Matamoros, and Valle Hermoso. Friday we did the same thing, visiting the city zones, which include five zones in Monterrey and the suburbs, and an independent distrtict about an hour and a half to the east, including the cities of Linares, Allende, and Montemorelos.

I enjoyed the time with my companion, listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and talks from general authorities, seeing the beautiful scenery, and seeing the happy looks on the missionaries’ faces.

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