Sorry I have been on such a weird email schedule. It has been a little busy. I couldn't be happier. I love my mission. It means everything to me. I know that this work is true and I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves us.
We have just been seeing miracle after miracle. The Lord is so merciful. Please pray for Celina. In your prayer please pray that her work schedule will be changed so that she can keep the Sabbath Day holy and receive those blessings. Please pray for Jimmy as well that he will gain a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon and be baptized.
I have so much to write about this week but it is late and we promised President Ashton we would be quick so we could go home and get some sleep. We (Elder Nottingham and I) had a baptism today. That is weird to say because we aren't really companions. There is a girl from his ward that has gone to seminary for the past 4 years and hasn't missed a day. She wasn't allowed to be baptized till she turned 18 though and that was last Sunday. So starting last Wednesday, Elder Nottingham and I have woken up at 5:00 AM to go teach all the missionary lessons at seminary at 6:00 AM. I don't know how you do it dad. I gained a whole new appreciation for seminary students and teachers this past week. That is an enormous sacrifice. But we taught all the lessons, she passed her interview today, and she was baptized tonight. It was the most powerful baptism I have ever been to. During intermission (or halftime as we call it) Elder Nottingham and I got up and preached. We really just bore testimony of the Savior. We then sat down and in the few minutes left we sung, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". That now familiar feeling came. The Holy Ghost just washed over me and bore witness to my soul that Jesus Christ really truly does live and because He lives, everything that I do as a missionary really does matter and no effort to save a soul is ever wasted. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of love and gratitude towards my Heavenly Father as I experienced this wonderful gift of testimony.
Last Thursday, we were at the mission home all day (from 10 AM till 9 PM) taking a commanded P-Day. We slept and emailed and just hung out with the Ashtons while Elder Nottingham was recovering. President Ashton and I were talking about the Colon's and he told me that his daughter, Elli, was going to be baptized the following Friday and that I should just invite Aicha (we have been spelling her name wrong) to be baptized with Elli. I thought it was a great idea. So on Sunday, Elli came out teaching with us and invited Aicha to be baptized. She said yes and everyone is so excited. Eduardo will baptize her tomorrow and then I will confirm her. I cannot even think about it without crying. I am literally overcome with joy. They are so special to me and love this Gospel. They teach their children and raise them to be righteous. Aicha even invited her two school teachers to come to her baptism and they both accepted the invitation. As we taught them on Tuesday night, little Eduardo, he is 6, was just dying to be baptized too. He cannot wait. He wanted to say the prayer and his dad, Eduardo, helped him to say it. It reminded me of David helping Andrew or Craig helping Miles or Parker and I just lost it. I couldn't believe that the Colons were beginning to experience all of the blessings that we have been so abundantly blessed with in our family.
I could go on and on with a list of miracles. It is amazing how merciful the Lord is. I feel like I am never in my area teaching, but Elder Nottingham is my best friend, so he makes it all worth it. When I am in my area, Elder Ayala and Elder Leavitt are such a blessing. They just work hard and teach and bear testimony. Elder Ayala loves speaking English to learn faster and is just hilarious. I love it all. David told me at the end of December to enjoy this year because it was the only calendar year of my entire life that I could spend as a full-time representative of Jesus Christ. I can honestly say that I enjoy every single second. I am either laughing, testifying, teaching, receiving revelation, or just working hard. This is the greatest work.
One last fun story. We went to Galveston on an exchange starting Sunday night to train a new companionship of Zone Leaders. Because of how things worked out, the two we were training had to leave the island and Elder Nottingham and I had about 2 1/2 hours alone on the island. We hit the streets walking and talked to everyone we could. We met some incredible people, enjoyed our Memorial Day on the island, and taught a restoration lesson to a man sitting outside. As we taught him, the Spirit was there so strongly. We extended a baptismal date but he declined. It was a neat experience for me though to see how much the Lord has helped me to grow in the past year. I used to be so afraid of inviting people to be baptized and especially extending dates, but now I do it in every lesson multiple times a day. And with that man we did it after only knowing him for about 10 minutes.
Oh so many stories and experiences. I love it. I really couldn't be happier. Just so you are all aware, I decided that I really want to extend my mission. It is kind of just a joke between President and I because the church won't let anyone extend (President Ashton just barely was able to receive an extension for one of our Viet missionaries and it was only the third extension that the church has allowed since the age change) but I always tell him that he has one year left to get me a two transfer extension. I don't know if it would be possible, but if it was, I would seriously consider it. I of course would pray about it and such and don't really think it is even possible, but I would love to.
I love you all. This Gospel is true. Nothing else matters. Thank you for your prayers and your love. I return them and I feel them.