Monday, February 13, 2012

Somos Los Pastores

Happy Valentines Day everyone!
We had a great week here in Tamarindos. To start off, we baptized one of my favorite converts, Otilia, on Saturday and was confirmed on Sunday. We met her 4 days before her baptism! She is the mom of Brother Oscar in our ward who is the dad of Yemir, the girl that got baptized last week. She was living in Mexico City and just barely came to live with Oscars family here in Iguala. She had been to church a few times before and had read the Book of Mormon 3 times in the last few months!!!!!! She is also 77 years old!!!! She is amazing to say the least. Our lessons with her during the week were the funniest and most enjoyable lessons of my whole mission. We actually challenged her to be baptized on Feburary 18th and she accepted, but when we visited her the next day she told us she couldnt wait and that she needed to be baptized this saturday!!! I was amazed by her faith and determination to follow her Savior. She really likes to talk so she would always crack funny jokes in the middle of the lessons about the Book of Mormon or her family members so it really was a great joy to send a lot of the week working with her. She also has a huge testimony of us being authorized servants of the Lord. She would always check and make sure if it was okay if she made a comment or asked a question and would always call us 'the authorized ones'. I could not believe the faith and the humility of this old woman, she has changed my life for the better. Her baptism service went perfect. We sung her her favorite song, Más Cerca Dios de Ti, during the service and tears were streaming down her face as she tried to hold in the great emotions she was feeling at her baptism. Her son baptized her (thats two baptisms for someone who has been a member for 2 months!!!) and she came out of the water so happy. She was beaming the next day at her confirmation and thanked us from the bottom of her heart for allowing her to be baptized by someone having the authority of God. Her son continues to try to spread the Gospel to his 8 other brothers and sisters that live in various parts of the country and we have felt the Spirit so strong in the home of that family. Yemir, our baptism from two weeks ago, acutally left to Mexico City yesterday with her mom to go through some surgeries. They found out a day before Otilias baptism that the tumores that Yemir has in her body are cancerous. With that news recieved, this young girl, recently baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost, has kept a smile on her face ever since her baptism. She told us that everything will turn out fine because she has changed her life around to follow Christ and is on the road to eternal life. We are going to be praying for her all week as she goes through those surgeries.
I also want to talk a little bit about a rockstar member missionary in our ward. It is this older lady who has more enthusiasm for missionary work than anyone that I have ever seen. Her name is Veronica and is taking us to meet many inactive members and their non member friends. She constantly has a smile on her face and challenges the people to be baptized before we can even enter into the house!!! Every Sunday, she goes and picks up some of our investigators so they can get to church. She is one of the happiest people I have ever met and I know it is becuase she constantly shares the Gospel, without any fear. She is an example for me!
On Sunday, we had the opportunity to speak in Chruch again. The Bishop told us late Saturday night so we didnt really prepare, just spoke. But the Holy Ghost worked through us and Elder Pearson spoke powerfully about service and I talked about Sheperds. I talked about how Christ is the Good Sheperd and that he has challenged us to join Him and be sheperds as well to find those lost sheep and bring them back to Christ. Elder Pearson and I came up with an idea to animate the members to continue working with us in this great work so that we can continue to find people to come unto Christ. Our project is called 'Somos Los Pastores' or We are the Sheperds. I sent a picture of it but it is something we made with one of the sisters in the ward. The sheep are our investgators and the sheperds are the members that are fellowshipping the investigators. When the people get baptized, we put their sheep next to Christ with a picture of their baptism. The point is to give recognition to those that have helped us, show which investigators still dont have sheperds to take care of them (come to the lessons, pick them up for church, etc.), and motivate the members to become sheperds and invite their family members and friends to learn more about the Gospel. We have high hopes for it and we think it will really unite this ward in this marvelous work. We also taught our usual Gospel Principles class and taught the Primary as well which was really fun and exciting to say the least. I love being able to help the Good Sheperd by being a sheperd myself and helping these people come unto Christ so they can find rest and peace in this life and the life to come. I know that as we share the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us, we will be happy and rejoice with those that chose to take that step of faith by being baptized by someone with the priesthood authority of God. I love this work and we are ready for another great week here in Iguala! Love you all!!
Elder Stutz

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