Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Winning Their Hearts

Dear Family, Great news! I finally broke 200 lbs! On Wednesday, we had three meal appointments scheduled every two hours. Luckily the Lord is merciful and we changed the schedule just a little so that we had some more time. We weighed in before we left the apartment and when we got home I went from 193 to 201! It was a highlight for me. Anyways, we have had another wonderful week. People are becoming so converted. I spent the whole day Friday in the temple. We had the departing temple trip in the morning and that was an experience. It was a big group so instead of staying in the Celestial Room we went to the training room where President and Sister Crane (the Temple President and Matron) came in and spoke to us with the Ashtons and then did a question and answer session. It was very enlightening. On the way home from the temple, the Ashtons said they wanted to spend some with with Elder Johnson and I so we rode in their car (just us four). President used the time to talk with us about our future, tell us what he thinks are strengths and weaknesses are and give us advice about business. It was very kind of them. Just as a sidethought, I invited the Ashton kids to come spend a day at our house this summer and promised them a lake trip if they come. They generally pass through Arizona to stay with their grandparents for a couple weeks. Upon arrival at the Mission Office after the temple trip, la familia Ortega took us back to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. We have been helping them do their family history and so they were all set with both Blanca and Rene's fathers. I also brought William Case who was born in Kentucky in 1784. Rene Ortega was baptized for him. I love the temple and the many blessings we receive from being true and faithful and having a current temple recommend. Their are many less-active couples and families that are coming back right now and want to go to the temple. The Spirt of the Lord is being poured out upon this area and ward as it was poured out upon the Lamanites in Alma 19:14. It is incredible. The promise of the Lord in Jacob 5 is being fulfilled: 72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor withtheir mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them;and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyardin all things. I feel of the Lord laboring with us every single day. This is His work and it will go forward. Last night we were teaching la familia Martinez about tithing and it was going well until el hermano went off about how he didn't know where the funds went and how they were used and how we could just give them to the beggars on the street and how we don't need to build luxurious temples and so on. We testified to him that the temple is the House of the Lord. That he literally dwells there and that without the covenants that are made in the temple, we cannot be saved no matter how good of people we are or how much faith we have. Talking about and testifying of the temple changed his heart and at the end, they told us to tell the bishop to expect some letters with money (they still aren't coming back to church so we explained that they could mail their tithing in). It was special to see the change in his heart. We also taught Giselle and her husband yesterday. Giselle feels ready to be baptized and will either do it this weekend or next depending on whether or not her granddaughter receives permission to be baptized with her. We are talking to her granddaughter's (Madison) parents tonight. Please pray that it goes according to the Lord's will and that we say what we need to. Giselle's husband is named Gerrardo. He was an investigator about 8 months ago but after the second lesson he dropped us. We had been having a hard time reaching him so we decided to use a different approach. Last week we had Mission Leadership Council and received a training on winning over the hearts of the people. Ammon is a wonderful example of this when he cuts off the arms and saves the flocks. We had dinner with Giselle and Gerrardo on Saturday and spent the whole time talking to him about Costa Rica and his work and his interests. He had a change of heart and just loves us. He said he would join in the lessons whenever we come now and yesterday when we stopped by he said he was convinced and that he wanted to be baptized! It was amazing and the Spirit was so strong. The experiences that we are being blessed with are miraculous. I love this Gospel. I love the Lord. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I feel of His love every single day. As Oliver Cowdery wrote, "these were days never to be forgotten" (thanks Stevo for the email). I couldn't agree more. I fly home in exactly three months from today. I know that the Lord has a great work yet for me to accomplish. My only desire is to do His will and to please my Father. Love, Elder Case

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