What a miracle week this was! With the help of our Heavenly Father, we were able to have an amazing white Christmas! Both Remington and Benny got baptized. They were both so excited and it was such a blessing to have been a part of it. I am especially excited to watch them continue to learn, grow, and progress....immediately after their baptism they came up to us and said, "So...when can you come by this week to teach me more?" They are AWESOME. It was a powerful baptismal service. I sang a musical number and Benny was just in tears as the Spirit touched his heart. President Anderson actually included something in his email last week that Sister Clayton had shared about Benny...
“A miracle I want to share with you is as we were walking, I saw this guy ... he had kind of been in the area around us where we were teaching ... As we were finished we walked by him and as always oym’ed [opened our mouths] him. After we had the prayer with him he was crying. He said he noticed us and could tell we were church people. He wanted to walk over to talk to us, but didn't know what to say. He explained that he has had a rough past and is now wanting to change and come to God for forgiveness. He came to church on Sunday. We taught him after church and had the greatest lesson on the Atonement and receiving forgiveness of our sins. He again was crying but this time our member was in tears with him. Our member put his arm around him and said. ‘I know God will forgive you.’ He said he is ready for baptism and is so excited. President I know this is the Lord's work and miracles will never cease. God knows his children, those who need and is ready for his gospel most.”
The day before his baptism, we met with Benny and he just told us again about the day he met us. He had been struggling with things and had just really been praying for help from God. That day, he felt like he needed to go outside and so he did. When he was standing there on his porch, his dog started jumping around and acting like she wanted to go for a run, and so he decided to take her out. It was while he was out with his dog that we contacted him and told him that Jesus Christ had sent us to him to leave a prayer. He said that after he met us that day, everything had just felt different. His family and friends have seen the changes in him and have commented. He told us that his brother told him what an example he is for the whole family. He is amazing, and most incredible is how humble he is. He is just so grateful for everything that has happened. After his baptism yesterday, he didn't want to leave just yet, so we decided to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon together. We turned to Mosiah 5, and we talked a little bit more about the covenant that he had just taken upon himself. When we asked him what it means to him to "take upon him the name of Christ," he said, "For me, it is an honor." What an amazing miracle, just in time for Christmas and the new year!
This week we will be taking a comp study to all of our sisters focused on internalizing our purpose and truly becoming selfless servants of Christ. I feel like one thing the sisters need most right now is just to re-focus on their purpose as representatives of Jesus Christ. As we put aside other purposes or focuses and just focus on Him, we will be better able to emulate Him.
Our focus on purification for this last month was AMAZING! Through the 40 day fast and their diligence and dedication, the sisters saw so many miracles and it was wonderful to be a part of it. Our baptismal goal for the month was 15 and we were able to achieve 14! We are so proud of and impressed with all of our sisters! What an incredible achievement.
I experienced my first (and probably only) Christmas in Miami! It was a blast. In Latin culture, the big celebration is actually on Christmas Eve...or Noche Buena, as they call it. So we had 2 families invite us over for Christmas Eve dinner. One was a Cuban dinner and the other one was more American food....let's just say by the end of the night, I couldn't fit another bite. On Christmas we went to a member from the family ward's home and had tamales with half the ward. It was cool to see that the tradition we have in our family of making tamales on Christmas Eve is a pretty legit Latin tradition! We just usually don't eat them for breakfast....
Walking through downtown Miami on Christmas Eve & Christmas was a little on the sketch side, because everyone and their dog was DRUNK. We were blessed to have a handful of appointments on Christmas day and then that night had dinner with our branch president and his family (the same family I ate with on Thanksgiving). Talking to all of you on Skype was, of course, great as well, even if you are all in agreeance that my face is quite a deal chubbier than when I left....gah. haha. It's all those beans and rice. I can't help it; I love the food here!
I can't believe Nathan goes into the MTC in 2 week! Wow! I am so excited for him. I can't wait to hear about all of his adventures in the Philippines.
Well, love you all, I honestly can't believe it's 2014 in just a couple of days. I don't want to talk about how old I'm going to be this year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Make some resolutions to DO MORE MISSIONARY WORK! :)