Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 56! "This Spider Bites!"

From 2/2/15

Hola Family and Friends!!

Hope you all had a great week!!!

First things first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIFFANY!!!!!! Not every sister missionary can say she's celebrated two birthdays on the mission. :) I hope you have so so much fun on your birthday. Here we'll sing las mañanitas, break a piñata for you, and you have to get your face slammed into a cake. ¿sale?  Sounds good! Love you Tiffy!!

Otros asuntos.....

AO IS A MEMBER NOW! :D AHHH!! His baptism on Saturday was beautiful. Words to describe that day seem to escape me. Ao is just SO SPECIAL. (P.S. Beware...I feel like this email might have a few more capitalizations and exclamation points ahead. I'm just really excited!).

We've been in contact with Ao every day this week leading up to his baptism. Every appointment we saw just how much he was ready to be baptized. On Friday night, we passed by kind of unexpectedly with a member from our branch. Toward the end of our lesson, we talked to him about his family. He told us that his family was not too interested in coming to his baptism. He told us a little disappointedly that he invited his brother several times, but they weren't sure. We decided to invite them in that moment to come to his baptism. If they did not, they would regret missing this huge part of his life someday in the future.

We went downstairs and found his mom there, we sat down with her and invited her to come. As we talked with her and listened to how she has seen changes in Ao's life, a sweet spirit entered the room. We talked to her about the power of the Atonement and the Savior's invitation for all to come unto Him and find healing, and to begin to make changes. We shared a scripture from 3 Nephi, when the Savior came to the Americas and invited the people to follow Him:

"Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."

Her eyes welled up with tears as she spoke of how pleased she was to see these changes in her son. We felt the Spirit so strongly there.

The following morning, we were filled with joy when we saw Ao, O (his brother), and their mom all together. Dressed in their best and ready for the baptismal service.

His baptism was done by a member of our branch who had never baptized anyone before. He was humbled to baptize his friend. One of the best moments of the service was hearing Ao's testimony. It was probably one of the purest and most sincere testimonies I have heard during my time on the mission. It was incredible.

We felt so blessed to have been able to see his progress from the very beginning when we first met him, to now. There are few words that can describe how we felt!! I am excited to continue to see him grow and progress and serve in the gospel. He is a wonderful influence for good in his home and to those that surround him. :) He is a spiritual giant!

This week we've faced a lot of strong opposition. Opposition has been a blessing because it clears the fog of the day and helps us to see answered prayers, blessings and even miracles clearly. We are grateful for the spiritual experiences the Lord has given us, and also for the trials of faith we've had. I've realized and just want to share with you all that I know that it is SO necessary that we go through hard things! It's okay for outside circumstances to go a little crazy sometimes, even though we are doing things right--or at least the best we can! Life is a time of probation and trials and tests of our faith and obedience. In Abraham it says:

"And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them."
Imagine if the night never came! We would never be able to enjoy the light of the stars and the moon. So look for the good in hard times! Keep smiling! Keep hoping, keep praying, keep working! Promise that there is something fantastic right around the corner! :)
We were able to teach several less active members that we have recently come into contact with. We were blessed to have been able to teach a less active member named J who is about 20 years old. He has not come to church for quite a bit of time. He openly shared that he has had problems with the Word of Wisdom and that he feels uncomfortable being in church on Sunday morning after spending Saturday night with his friends. After talking for a little bit, he himself realized the blessings that he has been missing from not actively going to church and keeping the commandments.
We invited him to come back to church and once again begin the wonderful, purifying path called repentance. Sunday morning we were so happy to see J in church dressed his best and smiling.
It reminds me of something an investigator told us a couple of weeks ago. She said that she is embarrassed by her life of all the things that have happened. She tells her children now of her past so that they can hopefully learn from her example and not repeat the same mistakes. After telling them about her past she tells them--"Hijos...Fui; Ya no soy!" ["Children...I used to be that way; I am not now!"]. 
That's who she was, not who she is now. People can change! I know that is true--most especially because it's happened in my own personal life. I am so grateful for the forgiveness of the Savior. I know that He wants to forgive and He wants to help us change. :)
Hope you all have a great week!! :)
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Fernelius
Ao's baptism
Ao, his brother "O", and their mom at Ao's baptism.

I think something bit me this week. It hurt. I'm better now though. We're thinking that it was a spider bite. 

Hermana C (my companion) bought a Kinder Egg (chocolate egg with a toy inside) a few weeks ago that had a chubby pirate from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. She was a little distraught because the little guy is not very cute---especially not because the other option of a toy was a parrot, or Jake, or an alligator. But....she took it like a champ and kept the creepy little pirate toy.
THEN.....on Saturday we found a magical Barbie egg with the best surprise in it ever. When she put her mini Barbie on the table, it found a place right next to the creepy little pirate. It was perfect. This is a photo of Hermana C with the representation of the creepy men of the Barona. It makes me smile every time. 

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