Thanks for the letters and photos and emails! Thank you for your prayers. Prayer has taken on a new meaning for me recently as President Ashton has taught us what it means to pray always. He is incredible. I wish I could just take notes of him talking about the Gospel all day long.
The meeting with Elder Callister, Elder Ellis, Elder Echo Hawk, and Elder Gifford Nelson was great! I was wrong on the time. Two hours and not five, but it was good. Elder Echo Hawk was the first to speak and he said that Elder Callister asked him to share his conversion story. He did so for about 30 minutes. He said that he got baptized with his family when he was about 14 but didn't ever become converted. He wanted to play football but only weighed 140 so his young men's president made a diet and workout plan for him and in between his Junior and Senior year he gained 25 pounds and became the quarterback, but before he could ever play he had a fluke accident where he got hit in the eye with a football. The doctors told him he would probably never see again and they bandaged both of his eyes and sent him home to lay on his bed. He said after some time he decided to pray. He said it was the first time he had ever prayed on his own. he knelt down and told Heavenly Father that if he could regain his eyesight that he would accept his young men's president's challenge to read the Book of Mormon. He got his eyesight back, and the day he could read he began. Ten pages a night until he finished and then prayed and God answered him and he was converted. He also finally played in a football game. His first pass was a 65 yard touchdown. He then got a full scholarship to play for BYU where he said he played in every game for four years (it was funny to have him talk about a BYU football career with Elder Gifford Nelson sitting behind him). The thing that touched me most was that this young men's president saw the potential in Elder Echo Hawk that no one else did. I have been trying to do that with every single person I meet or see. Just like the story that President Monson told from Conference about the missionary that was so successful because he imagined the people he met dressed in white, each of those I meet have the potential to become like God.
How wonderful is that? It doesn't matter that right now they smoke and drink and don't keep any of the commandments, through the Atonement of Christ even the vilest of sinners can have Eternal Life (just like Alma the Younger).
Elder Callister taught the Plan of Salvation for an hour. That was incredible. He would ask us to tell him a scripture about a particular part of the Plan and the he would quote it and ask for the next and then quote it. He taught about how people today claim that we are spirit creations of God and not spirit children. He then asked the questions, "Can a creation become like its creator? Can a painting ever become a painter? But can a child become like his father?" He is a master teacher. He taught us why we do baptisms for the dead. He said that there is two reasons. Those who we are baptized for don't have bodies and there isn't water in the Spirit World (Zechariah 9:11). I wish that I could bring him along to teaching appointments.
We had a neat experience on Friday that I thought I would share. We received a referral of a less active lady in our ward. She lived in the farthest corner of our area. We had already been reiding our bikes all day and everything had fallen through. We ran out of minutes on our phone, so we couldn't call her to confirm the appointment we had set the week before. We rode all the way to the edge of our area (about 30 or 40 minutes because Houston doesn't have sidewalks so you have to ride through the jungle on the side of the road) and then found out she was out of our area. So we tried to contact some other people out there and had no success. We road all the way back and then started making phone calls (minutes are free after 7). Nothing had worked out but we had half an hour left. We finally prayed. Elder Barajas said the prayer and told Heavenly Father we had done our best but needed his help and guidance. We both felt that we needed to go visit a certain contact. We got there and instead of contacting the person we thought, we had an increadible discussion with an 18 year-old that was extremely interested and has been prepared.
It was amazing to me that though we had failed all day (or so I thought) that because of where we had been we were in his path at exactly the right time. God doesn't require us to be perfect, but He does want us to continue in patience and prayer and then He promises that he will provide. I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord and for His guiding hand in my life.
I love you all and am grateful for your prayers!