We had the baptism last Saturday (March 1, 2014), but I´ll get to that in a little bit. Saturday was such an amazing day. In the morning, we took 5 recent converts (Hermano Villanueva, hermano Ariza, hermana Pizarro, hermana and hermana Centeno) from our ward to the Temple here in Ciudad Juarez. We had been working with them and helping them get their family history started these last couple weeks, and now they have had the joyous experience of being baptised for their loved ones. The Ciudad Juarez temple is a beautiful temple, and I feel privileged to have been able to go. After the Temple, we rushed back to our area quickly and got everything ready for the baptism. Thankfully, the sister missionaries in our ward helped us get the font filled (it's HUGE, and it took 6 hours to fill up) so we didn't have to worry about that. The baptism started at, and we actually had a pretty good turnout. We had about 30 members there! This was pretty amazing because the last baptism this ward had, only 6 members attended. We also had 2 of our investigators (Fernando and his mother, Maria Rosa) in attendance! The baptism was conducted by our ward mission leader, Hermano Ramirez. Jonathan was baptized by his Institute teacher, Hermano Naum Hernandez. I have to admit, at first I was a little bummed out I wasn't going to baptise because I felt that my companion and I had worked and worked and should have been baptising. Nonetheless, I was later humbled as I remembered one of my favorite scriptures, Alma 29:9; "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." I know that I was an instrument in God's hands, and I know I brought Jonathan to repentance. That is my joy! , I had the privilege to confirm Jonathan a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, and to confirm to him the marvelous gift of the Holy Ghost. I know that the Holy Ghost will guide Jonathan, and help him continue to make righteous decisions.
Aside from Jonathan's baptism, I had another incredible experience this week. On Friday night, Elder Webster and I decided to visit an investigator we hadn't seen in a month and invite him to Jonathan's baptism. We visited Fernando and his mom. Fernando was an investigator who was so ready for baptism, but kept postponing his baptismal date. We had already dropped him, but he told us that if there was ever a baptism, he wanted to attend. So we stopped by on Friday night and talked to him for a little while. While we were talking to him, his mom started to talk to us. This was weird, because every time we had visited Fernando in the past, his mom would usually go to bed or go off into another room. Fernando's mom (Maria Rosa) is very catholic and very old. She is also VERY hard of hearing, and doesn't read very well. But something amazing happened that night. She told us that she wanted to get closer to God! She expressed how her son, Fernando, had been reading the Liahona, and parts of the Book of Mormon to her at night, and how she loved to hear it. She said that she wanted to change, and wanted to learn more about our church. I then asked her if she wanted to get closer to Jesus Christ. She said yes! So then I asked her if she would follow his example and be baptised. She said YES! She started to cry, and told us how she really wanted to be cleansed of her sins. This was so crazy, because all this time we had been so focused on Fernando getting baptised, that we would have never imagined that his mom would actually be the one who would comprise to be baptised. They came to Jonathan's baptism on Saturday, and they loved it. Maria Rosa said that she felt something very different at the baptism, and she wants to keep coming to our church!
I am so excited to keep working, and I am so eager to keep bringing more souls to repentence and closer to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. I am so happy.
Temple with (from left ro right) Me, Elder Cruz, Elder Bonilla, Elder Leifson, Elder Ellis, Elder Webster. (Elder Ellis and Cruz are the president's assistants)