Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter and a Very Merry April Fool´s Day!

Sadly, I do not have the time to pull a prank on all you readers. I´ve got a lot to say and the minutes are ticking down. 

This week was very successful, ending with two more baptisms after a lot of work. The first of these was Gustavo. Gustavo has been coming to church for more than three months now, but is extremely timid. We´ve met with him pretty frequently, but he was impossible to nail down to a date. He wanted a year to think to begin with, and last week we had a date set for the 30th of March, but he was extremely doubtful and it wasn´t particularly firm. But this week went swimmingly. We had a fast on Monday with him, and our prayers were extremely focused on helping him overcome his fear of family and any other doubts. The fast looked pretty immediately answered on Monday, when we managed to contact his aunt (Gustavo´s mom died and he lives with his aunt now). We have been to the house nearly ten times before and never found her, and this time we got extremely lucky (luck doesn´t exist) as we arrived just as she pulled up in a car to grab something from home before driving off again. We set up a good relationship and figured we´d settled any big fears she had about the Church. Then, on Wednesday, we had a lesson with Gustavo. It was the best lesson we´ve ever taught. Both of us worked together, asked questions, used the member there, bore testimony, and in the end Gustavo said very firmly that he would be baptized this Saturday. And he was!

The second baptism took a lot of work during the week to work out, but the reward was great. We met Emílio, the brother of Delmir (my first baptism), last week. He seemed excited for baptism, but after church last week he was experiencing some doubts. We went to his house on Tuesday to get him ready for baptism, only to hear from him that he wanted an indeterminate amount of extra time to prepare. It was a little scary, because his sisters had said the same thing before beginning to ignore us altogether. We found out, through careful questions and a clear explanation about baptism, that he hadn´t prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. He said he wanted to receive his answer in a different way. We hastily explained that answers came through sincere prayer, and he agreed to read and pray that night. As we left he asked us sincerely to pray for him to receive his answer. I left that lesson praying harder than I ever have before for another person to receive an answer. He clearly was searching and I couldn´t bear to think of him falling away. We returned on Thursday, started talking a bit, and he came right out and told us (without being asked) that he´d received his answer. That he read, prayed, and felt something in his heart that couldn´t be explained. He wanted to be baptized. We got him ready, he enjoyed church more the second time, and was baptized Sunday night. He had the amazing blessing of being baptized on Easter, a holiday all about rebirth. Another great part of this was getting to see Delmir baptize his brother. We´re really doing our best to help this family.

So those are the big stories of this week. It was an exhausting week, physically and spiritually, but also oh so rewarding.

I want to finish this post with a bit of an Easter message. I want to bear my testimony to you all of Christ. That I know He lives! He is my Savior, my Redeemer, and my best friend. It is only because of Him that any of us have any hope of returning to live with our Father in Heaven, any hope for happiness after this life, and our best chance at happiness and peace here in mortality. I am constantly striving to try to understand Him more personally, to understand the sacrifice that He made for me. I know all of this beyond a shadow of a doubt, and it is because of this knowledge and faith that I am giving my absolute best here on the mission to serve Him. To help others turn their lives to follow Him. It´s true, people. It really is, and I hope that each of you put a little thought on Him as well.

I love you all, keep up the good fight back on the home front. Try a little harder, be a little better, and I´ll see you all on the flippety-flip!

Elder Alex Burt

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