Hope all is well and that you are all ready for school to start. To explain the pictures:
The one at the map is with just some of my boys from Freshman year. There was 12 in the MTC but only those ones showed up for the picture.
The group outside was my MTC District with one of our teachers. He was the coolest guy.
The picture in a parking lot is my trainer and my mom (as they say in mission language). Elder Barajas, my trainer, is the Hispanic on the right.
The last photo is self explanitory. I quickly learned why they said to only wear dark pants. We call it sudo de pompis. Elder Barajas thought it was about the funniest thing ever that I sweat that much.
Anyways, this week has been wonderful. Last Monday night, President Ashton called us and asked if he could attend our weekly planning session the next day. On Tuesday I had my first District Meeting in which I played the piano and spoke. Then we went back to our apartment and planned for four hours with President Ashton sitting in. The whole thing was in Spanish and the best thing that I learned was from President Ashton. We told him about to different women that we are teaching that have some hard situations that make it difficult for them to get baptized. He said that they would just need to exercise their faith to which we responded that it still might not be possible. He then looked at me and said, "Elder Case, usted nesecita ejercer su fe tambien." That was a humbling experience. But I took it to heart.
We went to a lesson with Maggie (name changed) on Thursday night. She is working four jobs and one of them is at IHOP where she starts at 10:00 Saturday night and works till 7:00 Sunday morning. We got there with a senior missionary couple in our ward and she just went off in Spanish that I didn't understand. After about 30 minutes of tears and such, I felt that I should share Matthew 11:28-30 and Alma 7:11-12 with her. I did and then bore my testimony that the Savior understands and knows how to succor her. It then continued for another 30 minutes of incoherent Spanish. I couldn't follow but I received the strongest prompting of my life to promise her something. The words were given to me. I didn't want to because I didn't think my Spanish was good enough, but I finally decided that I would obey. There was a break in the conversation and I look at her and said, "Maggie, I know my Spanish isn't that good. I am still learning the language. But I know the language of the Holy Ghost and He has told me that I need to make you a promise from your Heavenly Father. I promise you that if you will go to church this week and then get baptized the following Saturday like you committed, that you will find another job, that your depression will leave, that the Spirit will come into your life, and that everything will be ok." As I said these words, I understood what it means in the scriptures to teach with power and authority and that it will be given to you in the very moment what to say. The Spirit seemed to fill my whole soul and I know that it penetrated hers. She looked back at me and simply said, "I will". She came to church yesterday and she is getting baptized. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost, for the love of God, and for His mercy which enables us to be better than we really are. It was an incredible experience.
The next morning we were knocking doors, and not having any success, Elder Barajas and I went to a hidden place, and he offered a prayer that we would know what to do. We both felt that we needed to go early to an appointment. On our way there we ran into a 23 year old man on his way to work. He didn't know his address but described his house. We found his house with his wife outside. We talked with her and found out that they had just moved from Mexico two months ago and were looking for a church to go to. We set up an appointment for Saturday and then went and taught them and they committed to be baptized next month. There are so many other experiences just like this. It is incredible. So many times this week we have been guided to those that have been prepared by the Lord. The Spirit has softened hearts of those we teach and carried our message unto their hearts.
I know this work is true. I see miracles daily. What a wonderful work to be involved in. The Gospel is true and Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world.
I love you all and pray for you often. Thank you for your prayers and support.