Monday, May 24, 2010

One Fine Day

Hola, una vez mas

I'm very glad to hear that all is well with the family. It sounds like you had a good time with the entire family gathered together. Once again I had a wonderful Saturday. Saturday can be a very tough day for finding and working because people tend to be "busy" with all of their relaxing.

We have decided that a way to make Saturday's better is through baptismal services and sealings. This last Saturday we began the day by attending a sealing in the Oakland Temple with some of Elder Tidwell's recent converts. It was the first sealing I had been too and really enjoyed the Spirit that was there. It was amazing to see and entire family sealed together.

We then concluded the day by having the Baptism of Dina and Ashley Pena. The baptism went very well and the Spirit was very strong. Dina's husband, Santiago, attended and told us that he felt something different at the Baptism. He even attended their confirmation the following day in church. We are hoping to begin teaching him. I would love to see them a year from now in the Temple when they get sealed together. It was the best day of my mission thus far.

I also have some good news about transfers. Elder Tidwell and I will be staying together, but will lose more than half of our area. Unfortunately, all of the area we have really been focusing on will go to some Spanish elders on bike. I really wish I was on bike so I could stay in that area. Most of our people who are progressing towards baptism are in that area. I didn't realize how attached I was to the people in that area. Also, I didn't realize how stressed I get around transfer times. We will also be turning over every single appointment in our planners. This leaves us with one appointment for the week. It is very frustrating. We also have the two elders staying in our apartment until the mission finds an apartment for them. We will make do, but feel as if we're really the ones white washing again. It takes a lot longer than I would have expected to bring an area up to speed. The new elders will be blessed with an area that should yield baptisms in the next transfer.

Anyways, all is well here. Mi espanol esta progresando bien. Con tiempo voy a hablar sin miedo. Espero que ustedes esten bien en Washington. La obra continuara. Tengan una buena semana

Con Amor,

Elder Badger

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As I went down to the river to pray, studying about that good 'ol way....

Querida Familia,

Tuvimos un bautismo. Estamos muy agradecimos por Oscar y Marisol Buendia. Su mama estuvo contenta cuando los dos fueron bautizado. Tuve la opurtunidad bautizar a Marisol y su amigo, Hermano Olsen, bautizo a oscar. (forgive me, but I can't figure out how to change the library keyboard to spanish, so some accents are missing). Vente cinco personas estuvieron ahi.

It was an amazing experience to have our first baptism. We were surprised when President Jackson showed up to watch our baptism. Luckily, there weren't any complication. Everything went the way it was supposed to. There mother, a recent convert, was especially happy that her family can be united in one church. They are all planning on performing baptisms for the dead in the Oakland Temple in three weeks when the ward takes all twenty-six of its recent converts.

We are also blessed to be able to witness the baptism of Dina and Ashley next week. Both are very excited and have adapted well to the ward. We began teaching Dina two weeks ago. Already she is in Alma 15. I won't be surprised if she has finished the Book of Mormon before her baptism. Her daughter Ashley is eight years old and is more eager to be baptized than her mother. She asked me if she could be baptized this weekend. We told her that it would be best to wait one more week just to make sure that we had taught her everything she needed to know.

It's amazing how the Lord has helped us this transfer. Through prayer we set goals at the beggining of this transfer. We also sought the spirit as we decided how er were going to achieve these goals. As we did the things we promised to do to find these people the Lord put them in our path. In Dina's case, She called US. This rarely happens. We feel so blessed to have been worthy of witnessing these blessings. I realize how little I actually do as a missionary. We simply try to bring the Spirit so that the Lord can go to work. This seems to be the most effective way. Amazingly, it isn't something they teach in the MTC.

I hope all is well at home. Things are wonderful in Redwood City. We're in the sixth week of the transfer so we should find out about transfers next saturday (say a prayer that Elder Tidwell and I are still together).


Elder Badger

We had a baptism. We are very grateful for Oscar and Marisol Buendia. Their mother was very happy when they were baptized. I had the opportunity to baptize Marisol and her friend. Elder Olsen baptized Oscar. There were 25 people there.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Miracles Make my Day

Hola familia,

We have had an amazing week once again. We found an amazing new investigator this week. Her name is Dina Pena. The ironic thing about finding her is the fact that we did nothing; she found us.

We were in a teaching appointment a few nights ago when we received a phone call from her. She said that she had been reading the Book of Mormon over the last year and wanted to meet with missionaries. We set the appointment for the next day and were very excited to meet her. Our excitement grew when she called us back and told us that she wanted us to bring a Book of Mormon in English for her daughter.

We visited her the next day. She explained to us how missionaries had given her a Book of Mormon a year before and how she was unable to meet them because she was paralyzed. After much physical therapy she is now able to walk and function normally. She had been reading the Book of Mormon. Surprisingly, she is the type to read the last chapter first (Moroni 10). She then began reading from the beginning. She knew that what she had read was true. She also understood that because she knew the Book of Mormon was true that Jesus Christ is the savior, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that we had the true church. Shortly after this, she saw four advertisements for the church on her television in one day. She took this as a sign that she needed to call the number left in her book and meet with missionaries again. We were blessed to be those missionaries.

When we arrived we began talking about what she knew. We asked her what she thought she would feel like if the Book of Mormon was true. She described the peace, calmness, and assurance that accompanied her prayers. She then told us that because we were there she knew that she had received an answer. She told us that everything she read seemed familiar to her; although she had never read it before.

Interestingly, she was a practicing Jehovah's Witness for thirty years. She left the church when she received a blood transfusion that saved her life. A few of her questions were related to the questions she had about our beliefs. One of the things that helped assure her that we were the answer to her prayers was the fact that we believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as three separate beings. Our appointment got better as she used an analogy we often use as missionaries. She talked about how, like a family they work together to achieve the same thing, but are distinct and separate from each other.

As the lesson progressed we learned a great deal from her. We could feel the strength of her testimony, a testimony rooted on a conviction that the Book of Mormon is true. She did as Moroni says; she read in the Book of Mormon, pondered its words, and prayed. She knew everything she needed to accept a baptismal date. She will be baptised three weeks from that first lesson. We hope to teach her daughter and baptise her as well (she's eight). They both attended church yesterday and loved every minute of it. She has an amazing fellowshipper that has already befriended her. They talked about all aspects of their families and background. Her daughter loved primary and sang some of the songs to her mom afterwards.

It was interesting to hear President's response as we told him the news. She had been prepared and knew it. I feel blessed to witness this miracle. Elder Tidwell and I are reminded that we have no claim to a baptism. The Lord has prepared people to be baptized.


Elder Badger