Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 33 TWO Baptisms and ONE Conference to Rule Them All

Hey there ravid readers and rabid fans!

This week was certainly one that will go down in not only my own personal history, but the family history of two families, and the world!

I say the world, because on Wednesday we had a worldwide missionary training broadcast from Salt Lake city to every missionary! Over 75,000 of us! It was the first time that they had ever done this, and it was amazing to see it and realize that we were all there as a huge army of God, learning to help our fellow brothers and sisters know that Jesus lived and died just for them. It was a great experience. 

Then we came home that night, making out trip total to see the conference over 9 hours in a bus....

But the next day was amazing! We started filing the font at 5:00PM so that it would be ready. And setting everything up in the church. Practicing the specail musical number, making programs, etc... It was a very full day. We almost didnt have time to eat anything. WE eventually had lunch with Karen and Mauricio (one of the men who was going to be baptized that night). Karen, his wife had as a surprise flown in two of thier best friends fro Santiago, and they are both members, Hugo, the husband flew in so that he could baptize Mauricio. It was a really cool experience for both of them.

Everyone started arriving at about 8:15PM, and that is when we knew all the stress was worth it. It was a beautiful little moment. We took a mountain of photos (the best three are attatched, and I will send another email with the ¨after¨ photos), and the the baptism began. 

The wives of José and Mauricio, (Viviana and Karen) gave beautiful talks about the principle of baptism and the Holy Ghost that made everyone cry, including the Branch President. And then we did our special musical number. Karen couldnt even sing through some of it because she was crying so hard. But after that moment, we all adjorned to the teeny room where the font was and prepared to watch baptisms.

Mauricio went first and he was super nervous. But as soon as he was in the font, all of that seemed to melt away. Hugo said the prayer, and he went under the water and back up without a hiccup. We quickly ran to meet him as he came out of the font, and he was just smiling from ear to ear. He didnt really know what he was feeling though. When we asked him how he felt, he just looked kind of dumbfounded, and said, ¨Wet¨. It was pretty funny. 

And then it was José´s turn. President Santelices is sort of short, and José is pretty tall. So the image at first was a teeny bit funny. But when he started praying, you could almost see the authority that he held. And then José went down as well. And when he came out he was smiling more than I had ever seen him smile before (and he is a smiley person). President only told him one thinge before they got out of the font, ¨Now is the time to be happy¨. And boy did he tak that to heart. I couldnt even get a good picture of him because he was moving around so much and crying and kissing his wife and crying some more. It was also very special. 

And when everyone was dried off and the font was draining, we went back and listened to them bear a quick testimony. Mauricio spoke of how he was very skeptical about everything church related before one of the lessons that we had with him. We had gone over and watched the Joseph Smith movie. The full length one. And then right after the dramatic ending with his death in Carthage, we watched Jeffery R. Holland bear his testimony of Joseph and Hyrum. We stopped after that, and we gave two very simple testimonies that we knew all of this was true, and we left. He said that after that moment he knew that it must be true. Because two men would not blaspheme before God in the very hour of thier deaths. It was a very humble telling of how a man of science and logic, learned to trust his own feelings a little more. 

José also bore a beautiful testimony about how his whole world was his wife. How she was not only someone that he loved deeply. But how she was the person who brought him the gospel.  He was crying, and his wife was crying, and we were just all crying. It looked like we all had been baptized. 

The confirmations yesterday were just as beautiful. THey both showed up a little early and they were wearing white shirts, ties, slacks, and dress shoes. And then after songs and prayer, they both were confirmed members of the church, recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost, and were also given beautiful blessings. They both walked away from church yesterday as the newest members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I am so blessed and privledged to be a missionary. To be a part of the lifes of these wonderful people. I know that I am right where I am supposed to be doing what I need to be doing. Life if beautiful, and i am so glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of José and Mauricio´s lives. 

I love you all. I know that this church is the only church that has all of the restored gospel and I know that God loves each and every one of his children. That´s right. Even you. 

Thanks for everything!

Hermana Randall

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Week 32 Interviews, Smiles, and a Whole lot of Faith

Hello there World and Beyond! 

I hope that things are just going well with all of you, because things are heading uphill here. It means, yes we are working hard to wak all the way up to the top. But up here the sight really is something beautiful to behold.

We are seeing a lot of miracles in El Salvador right now. It really just goes to show that as long as you have faith and are working hard, you really can find prepared people in any sector of the world. Even if they tell us that we will never baptize in this sector. Fatih and hard work really bring miracles!

Because we are going to have TWO baptisms on Thursday! Our Mission President, President Dalton, came on Sunday, and he interviewed our investigator Mauricio. They talked for over two hours. And when they both left the room, the Spirit was incredibly strong. Mauricio told us that he knows that he is making the right decsion and cant wait to be baptized. José is basically a member at this point too. He offered the prayer in Sunday School and it was just a really great experience for both of our investigators to meet the Mission President. He even addressed them directly in his talk and then in the Sunday School class that he was teaching. His testimony and instruction were amazing and the Spirit was there the whole time. 
Long story short, this week was an amazing week of miracles and love. We are excited for this next week. Wednesday we are traveling to Copiapó for a world-wide missionary training that will be broadcast all over the world. And then on Thursday two baptisms. The first baptisms here in El Salvador for over 2 years. Miracles really do happen. 

Also we are getting a new Mission President in July. He is a member of the 70 right now, and he will be released in order to be my mission president! AND his wife actually served her mission here in Chile Antofagasta! How cool is that? :) He and his wife are also both Chilean, and I am super glad that I speak Spanish now. Haha. 

Many good things are happening here. I hope that these things are just as good for all of you where-ever you are. Love you all! 

Hermana Randall

PS. Go watch this video about the new Provo Temple. It is super gorgeous and a wonderful story. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 31 The Vision to Baptize

Hello there World!

This week has been one adveture after another.... I wish that I had time to tell every single detail... But I dont. So a rundown will have to do!

So first of all our investigator José finished taking all the lessons and is now married! He has overcome all of his trials and is ready to be baptized! We did have to change the date to next week though, because he suddenly was called into work this week (he is an EMT, we understand different situations). But is is more than ready! And we are so happy!

An investigator Mauricio, progressed leaps and bounds this last week. He went from being really sort of rational and scientific about invstigating the gospel, to having a fight with his wife (who is a faithful member) and realizing that there really are things in the universe that are more than you can actually measure in a test tube. So he took the plunge and read the Book of Mormon a little and prayed about it..... He told us, ¨I cant explain it. It isnt something logical or rational. But I know that it is true.¨ It was an amazing answer to so many prayers. 

He is set to be baptized on the same day as José! He has come to church a lot, and we are finishing the last lesson in the next few days. We are so happy to be here in El Salvador. Everyone was telling us that the work would be really slow over summer. And it really has. But it just proves that if you leave and work as hard as you can anyways. Even if all you do is walk in the sun, you are doing your job and the Lord is going to help you in your dedication. And as a reward for the years of hardwork by faithful sisters and elders here in El Salvador we are seeing the fruit. Next week we are planning on TWO baptisms. 

I love being a missionary and I know that the church is true. What I am sharing in the true doctine of Christ as a whole. Not only a couple parts. But the whole thing. I am so gratful as well that I have been called to serve in a Spanish speaking mission where I have to learn a lot more about myself, my faith, and my Heavenly Father, before I can ever communicate something clearly. 

I love this gospel. I have literally been a witness to the types of happiness and love that it brings into the hearts of the people. Seeing that change in their eyes make all of the ups and downs and heartaches worth it! Thank you all for supporting me. I love you so much. 

Until next week,

Hermana Randall

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 30 ¡¡¡¡¡2016!!!!

Here we are! Another year, another opportunity to make the world and our lives a little better. 

I hope that you all had a great time ringing in the New Year! Things here in El Salvador were a little boring. But I still got to experience some Chilean New years traditions!

One of the things that people love to do here is make scarecrows out of old clothes and newspapers from the last year, and then at midnight they drench it in alcohol and light it on fire. And then set off like confetti cannons and drink a lot. Seriously. There was a lot of drinking. When we went out in the morning, there were piles of ashes and stakes where the scarecrows were burned, confetti and glitter everywhere, empty beer bottles and wine bottles everywhere, the occasional vomit pile in the street, you know. The regular. Haha. 

When midnight hit, Hermana Handley and I were acutally already in bed with the lights off. But we heard the sirens, cannons, fires, people, and a whole BUNCH of dogs, go off at midnight. Then the conversation went something like this, 

¨Happy New Year Hermana.¨ 

¨Yeah, Happy New Year.¨

We really lived it up. 

The best thing about this week though, is that our investigator José finished all of the lessons and doenst have a problem with anything! He told us that he used to drink coffee all the time, and he still doesnt see how it is bad for him, but that he knows Joseph Smith is a prophet so he knows God told him to not drink coffee, so he doesnt. He carries an herbal tea packet with him so when his friends all are drinking coffee, he just asks for hot water and drinks his tea. It is a great way to resist temptation. He is so excited to be baptized! He is has his interview tomorrow, is getting married on Wednesday, and baptized on the 14th! And to top it all off, my Mission President is going to come and visit El Salvador on the 17th, which is when José gets confirmed! The second time my Mission President has ever visisted El Salvador, and there is going to be the first baptism and confirmation in 3 years! We are so happy!

This week really has been amazing. We are working harder than ever, Hermana Handley ends her mission the first week of February, so we are determined to send her off in a spectacular fashion. :) 

I love you all so much. Thank you all for your emails and your prayers. They all really make the difference. I wish you all the best of luck for this new year. There is a great little video that the church made about a New Year. Im not sure what it is called in English. Im gonna go look and post the link. One sec.....

Found it.

Happy New Year everyone. Remember, the future is what is ahead. That is what we can change, what we can shape. The past is past. We cant touch it. But we can give it to God, and he can use it to make something amazing. 

Hermana Randall