Thursday, January 23, 2014

Emily couldn't email on Monday because the libraries were closed due to the Martin Luther King holiday.  But she sent us the following email Wednesday evening, Jan. 22, 2014:

Thank goodness I'm finally getting to write to you!  I got your letter Monday, so that was lucky that we emailed after that.  The mail just takes a little longer to get here than we'd thought. 

I have some great people to tell you about:

Erick is Robert's best friend and we have been teaching Erick and he is ready for baptism.  His baptism is supposed to be this Saturday.  As sure and set as baptisms are, I'm always scared that things will fall through, and I don't stop being nervous until they have actually gone under the water.  Erick is a really neat kid.  He is 20 years old, mostly speaks Spanish, is very smart and gentle, and has so much faith.  Robert was Hna. Calderon's convert and that's how we found Erick.  It's really neat because Robert got the priesthood just last Sunday so he will be able to do the baptism on Saturday. 

Robert’s background is so crazy.  His parents brought him here from Mexico and for some reason they went back and he was left here.  He was living on the streets for a while when someone took him in and then another man took him in and officially adopted him.  This man that he is living with, we just call him his dad even though it isn't biological, is white and doesn't speak any Spanish, but loves Erick so much.  He's about 60 years old, so more like a grandpa.  He is quite anti-Mormon so Erick hasn't filled him in on what's going to happen Saturday.  I'm hoping that Erick will be able to come to church and not have this be an obstacle for him after baptism.  Hopefully his papa will see that there is a difference about him and notice that it is good so when he learns what it is he can be more accepting. 

Adrian continues to be a champ.  He heard mention of the Pearl of Great Price during a class on Sunday and found it on his iphone and has been reading it and he really likes it.  From that first chapter he learned about how there are many other worlds that are all populated with people that look just like us, and that is something that has just always made sense to him, so when he read it it felt really right to him.  He made a comment that showed his progression as a member of the church: it was something like how he knew that he would always be learning and there were always going to be things that he wouldn't quite understand and that he would have questions.  I almost needed to pick myself off the floor and make sure it was really Adrian speaking.  Just kidding, I have so much confidence in Adrian and by this point, I knew that his faith would've taken him to this level.  He was the investigator that wondered why there weren't ruins on this continent left over from these ancient civilizations because there were ruins from the Mayans and Aztecs.  The mention of horses in..must have been Jacob..threw him off because he didn't think horses were originally here.  He had to read the whole book of Mormon before he could know if he thought it was true.  I saw his mindset and his faith change 100 fold.  He had many doubts and finally those doubts have been replaced with faith.  This showed me that something characteristic about Mormons is their faithfulness.  Now when we talk to Adrian, it feels just like we are talking to a Mormon and that is how I came to realize that being reasonable and faithful is a mark of someone that will make it into the church of Jesus Christ. 

I think that might be why I like James so much.  James is very reasonable and he does have faith even though he also has a lot of doubts.  He has been reading in the Book of Mormon, but he doesn't feel like he feels anything.  In general his life is good and so feeling good when he reads in the book doesn't feel like convincing evidence for him.  I remember that when I was in college, you gave me that talk by Elder Christensen that talked about how he received an answer about the Book of Mormon.  I remember that he decided that he was going to pray to know if it was true and read for an hour every night until he found out.  He did this for many many nights without having anything special happen, though he did feel good.  It was a ways into his study of the book that one night he said a different spirit entered his room and it was such a sweet feeling that was different than just feeling good.  Some of the things I feel I learn from this is that receiving an answer takes diligent effort.  Also, it doesn't come immediately.  The spirit is also very delicate. 

I have some really good friends in my district right now and it is the coolest thing.  On our break day we played soccer.  Our zone leaders and district leader take really good care of us.  The other elders are really kind to me too so I love that there is so much trust and love between us and that we are feeling like a family.  I'll try to send you picture of them :)

I love you very much!  I am doing well!  Thanks for everything you do to support me.  

Hermana Villar and her family have been like a family to me :)

Elder Stark and Oakey are great missionaries.

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