Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baptisms of Carlos, Alfredo, Marlene, and Fernando

Hello to all!
Wow...what a special week. It was a jam-packed, intense one with a lot of work, trials, blessings, and miracles seen before my very eyes. Before I write you, I hope that everything sounds alright, given that I have a fever of 102 and am super dizzy, but I couldn't pass this opportunity to write you all about a truly special week.
First and foremost, the branch has 4 more members here, we had 4 baptisms and confirmations. On Tuesday, Elder Brammer came to do the baptismal interviews for Carlos, Alfredo, and Marlene.  They all went well, I was really proud of them, and all the preparations they made to be worthy of baptism. I realized that I had been teaching them since October, and they finally turned the corner. Even Silvia has came around and was really happy to see her family be completed as members of the church. The coolest part was that they wanted to do the baptisms in the river, which was always one of my dreams. So on .... morning, bright and early, we went down to the beach of Rio Parana.  It turned out perfect, even Alex came and gave a great talk on baptism, and shared some of his experiences. We were all so happy and left there super excited to keep working hard, to continue to have this same success!
Last week, I wrote about Fernando, who has become a really special person to me. He was progressing well, then some doubts came up about President Monson...they weren't real big doubts, just that he had never met him, and wanted to be sure of everything before baptism (and rightfully so). We had Branch Night on Thursday, so we decided to watch the movie "On the Lords Errand", which is a biography about the life of President Monson. Earlier that morning, we made a copy of his talk from last conference, titled "Stand in Holy Places", and committed him that very night, after watching the movie and reading the talk, to kneel and pray, asking God directly if Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God. We met with him on Friday in the chapel, and he came in with a smile on his face, and said that he had asked with faith, and that his answer was unmistakable. He went on to testify that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's seer and revelator. We felt relieved to see first hand the role that the Lord has played in his conversion. He chose me to baptize him, so Saturday night came around and he was baptized. The service had a huge turnout, way more than a normal Sunday sacrament meeting, because everyone in the branch knew him and loved him. While we were changing into the white clothes, he asked me if we could say a prayer before the service with just us two. We went into a quiet room and we both knelt to say a prayer. He said it first, then I did, and the Spirit testified to both of us that he was making the right decision. The service went well, his best friend Alex talked, which was really cool. At the end, we left it up to an "open pulpit", and he decided to go up and share his conversion story, which made just about everyone cry. I shared some experiences as well. We felt really great about the whole thing, it was a great privilege to be there.
Sunday came along, and they all were confirmed, even though there were some trials that Sunday morning for some of them. The branch is super excited about missionary work, and has become very missionary oriented.
Its looking like we will have another baptism this weekend. I will keep you posted, keep us all here in your prayers!
Until next week,
Elder Babcock

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