The highlight of this past week is this picture. She was finally baptized! President Toone came to teach her with us a few weeks ago and they hit it right off. It was only natural that she ask him to do it. That in and of itself was pretty special.
The service was powerful. President Toone's voice is as deep as he is tall and it made the baptismal prayer super intense. Our baptismal talk cancelled since her husband had to go to the ER so Sister Toone filled in and did a wonderful job. One of the local members gave the talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost and did the best talk I've ever heard.
He had served in the military for some time and was a paratrooper. He spoke about how sitting in that plane waiting to jump is a nerve racking experience and it is very loud. He said that as soon as you jump, you are surrounded by comparative silence. Everything just fades away and "for a brief moment you have the view of the angels." Ah, it was so great.
There was a great turnout at the baptism, including several missionaries who had originally taught her.
That was a powerful powerful baptismal service and one I'll never forget. Her conversion is so deep, I wish everyone could have seen and felt her smile. I've never seen anyone so happy.
I confirmed her yesterday in church and, to our surprise, President and Sister Toone showed up for that as well! Pretty cool.
The church is trying to decide whether or not to equip these "hastening devices" with mobile phones that have hotspots. In our area we have an iPhone and an iPad, but the rest of the mission outside of Mesa zone uses just the wifi iPads. For my 4 months here we have been making the case for getting hotspot enabled phones in every area.
We had a miracle happen that hopefully helps the Brethren make the decision. On Tuesday morning, I think, during our breakfast, we were able to teach four different lessons to people in four different countries. These were people we had been struggling to make contact with due to time zones. Well, we decided to forward that experience on to our contact in SLC. He texted us back an hour later,
"Your experience has been well received. Will you text me your mission, area, and names so I can copy and paste the info in an email message that will get forwarded to department leaders and the Brethren. Thanks!"
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?! They're sending OUR experience to the Apostles?! With OUR names?! That shocked me, I thought someone would just summarize the story for them! How cool is that?!?!?!?
We went to the temple this past week. Always a very uplifting experience. There were lots of missionaries there and it was nice to see everyone again.
I got super stressed this past week while thinking about the future. A lot of wards in the area are way too unorganized. I was sitting there thinking about who was going to take care of the people we were baptizing into the area... We aren't going to be here in Mesa forever...
So the next day I took Elder Gaspar out to a Chinese buffet for lunch to relax. I stumbled upon some money I had hidden from myself from last Christmas. Miracle! That meal was just perfect and it did the trick.
I have the best brothers in the world.
We went to the visitors center this past weekend with the woman who got baptized. A year ago, she walked in there and was taught by the sister missionaries. She frequently tells us of her first experience seeing the picture of the First Vision (the one with Joseph Smith facing away from us and Jesus Christ and God the Father facing towards us) for the first time. She said she couldn't sleep that night because she felt the spirit so strongly. She didn't want to sleep.
It is "the picture that started it all" for her so we managed to find a copy of it from a member and gave it to her in a frame at her baptism. It is hanging in her home.
But we went back to the visitors center with her and she had another amazing experience. We went the day before her baptism and, again, she couldn't and wouldn't sleep at all that night! She is so excited to go inside the temple. This is a deep deep conversion that will bless the lives of her family forever. She has already referred her friends and family to missionaries. I wish all members had that kind of enthusiasm...
Apparently Elder Gaspar and I are famous in the Mesa Alma stake. News that we both play violin has gotten everywhere and people keep commenting about it. We played in church yesterday with the choir and the high counselors that were there mentioned before hand that they had already heard about us haha. Hopefully we don't get split up at transfers - playing together is way fun.
Yesterday after church Bishop told President Toone that he should leave us in the area. "As of now there aren't any plans of moving," he said. Five or so minutes later as we were talking to Bishop, President Toone walked by and said, laughing, "He told me to transfer you too!" hahaha
SLC sent a researcher to our mission last week to interview missionaries on how they're using the "hastening devices" and whether or not it is working. We had a nice two hour interview with him right before he left. He summarized some of the feelings that some missionaries had and asked for our views, as well as advice, on certain issues. It was a neat experience. It is a really unique place to be in here. This program is rolling out to 6,000 missionaries now and they're asking us how to do it since this has never ever been done before.
This was a good week. Every week is a good week. I've never felt so optimistic before. Life is good. Bad things happen but life is good.
(I'm not going to be able to write anyone today - P-day ends at 1PM since we'll be staying in most of Thanksgiving day.)
Thanks for the letters family!
Love you all!