Hello Family (Note from Mary: This is from Monday, May 9th),
It was such a pleasure to be able to talk to you all yesterday even though it was only for a short while. I want you all to know that I love you all so very much and it is such a blessing to have all of you in my life.
Last week as I was waiting for my transfer in Villa, I was placed temporarily with Elder Strong, who had been hospitalized for a surgery that they performed. He is an awesome Elder from California and has only been in the mission for 12 weeks. I got to stay with him and be his personal nurse for almost an entire week. It was a lot of fun, but...we didn't ever get to leave the house, so that was a bummer.
This week has been pretty crazy. I am now in Las Mercedes, with Elder Velazquez. My new area is a bunch of little pueblos that stretch along the freeway in between Villahermosa and Macuspana Tabasco. It is really different from any other area that I have had before as it is not a city. It is such a great area though. Elder Velazquez is from North Carolina, and he is on of my best friends here in the mission. We lived together before in Frontera and in Agua Dulce. Him and I get along so well and when we found out that we were companions, we were so happy. We have seen the blessings of being able to get along as we are already, in like five days, finding a lot of success.
We had a baptism on Saturday of this young man named Victor. He came to church last week, and the other missionaries before me were teaching him, but he wasn´t really progressing. He had a baptismal date for the 21st but it was falling. On Thursday we had an appointment on Wednesday with him, and shared a church video ''Because of Him''. We talked about the blessings that he has in his life because of Jesus Christ. That led to talking and teaching about the Holy Ghost. This young man started crying, explaining to us why he needs the Holy Ghost in his life. We invited him to receive it through repentance and baptism, and he accepted. Then we felt inspired to invite him for that Saturday, and he accepted. Saturday he was baptized, and he was soooo happy. We have an appointment with him tonight to see how he is doing.
We are also teaching this other family of three. Hermana Lady is a single mom of two daughters. She works a lot to take care of them, and she has to take care of her dad that is in the hospital. On Friday we had an amazing lesson with them. They have accepted baptism, but have not yet come to church. We played a game with them the Elder Velazquez made up, that has to do with the Holy Ghost. It is a really good analogy to how the Holy Ghost works in our lives. We talked with Lady and her daughters about the Holy Ghost, and the blessings it brings to our lives. We then taught about repentance, and the sacrament as a part of that. In 3rd Nephi Jesus promises us that if we partake of the sacrament, remebering Him and His sacrifice, we will always have His Spirit with us. We talked about the blessings of partaking of the sacrament, and invited them to come with us on Sunday. Lady started crying, she told us that she really wanted to, but that she couldn't because she just got a new job, nad she has to work on Sunday mornings. She then shared with us everything she is going through trying to just take care of her daughters. We testified to her that her Heavenly Father was proud of the work that she has done so far, and that her being able to partake of the sacrament with her children is so important to Him, that He would provide a way. She promised us that she would pray for that help, and then ask for some hours off next Sunday in order to come to church with us. They have baptismal dates for the 21st of this month. It was a wonderful lesson.
We are also teaching the daughter of a less-active member named Celida. She is 11 years old, and should be getting baptized this Wednesday.
We have this really cool village in our area called Teapa. It is about an hour away from where we live but is really beautiful. It is at the base of a mountain. I didn't know there were mountains in Tabasco. On the way we pass thousands of banana trees. It's like cornfields at home, but banana trees. There we are teaching Fricia, who is the daughter in law of a family of members that live out there. She is also progressing, came to church on Sunday and now has a baptismal date for the 21st of this month.
Today we spent the day with this family in Teapa. We left at 8:00 this morning to get on the bus that traveles out there. When we got there, we ate breakfast and washed our clothes. Then the brother took us to the grutas (caves) where we went spulunking for a couple hours. At some points they didn't have lights and it was so dark. All you could see was what fell into the small beam of your flashlight. It was really cool. One part, Elder Velaqzquez and I were crawling on our hands and knees to pass through this small passagway for like 10 min. It got really small and really scary because on either side of us was pitch black. When we came out on the other side, there was a huge room, full of bats, with a giant lake in the middle. It was really cool. The pictures didn't come out super good because of the lighting, but it was so beautiful. Always in life we have to pass through something hard or scary. But if we keep going, and don't turn back, at the end we will be given blessings, and we will have learned a lot.
We are working really hard, and being obedient and seeing the blessings. I am so grateful to be able to be here in the mission. It has taken a completely new meaning in my life, and I am determined not to waste any moment that I have left.
I Love you all, and will talk to you again next week.
P.S. Happy Graduation Jenna!!!!
Pictures: Banana trees without end
Baptism of Victor