Thursday, April 18, 2013

¿Porqué Buscáis a los Vivos Entre los Muertos?

Hey Guys!
We have enjoyed our preparation/april fools day today.  We decided to do quite a few pranks on some elders and also on President Kusch.  When he and his wife went to go shopping this morning, we snuck into their house and messed with his change board a little bit.  We printed out pictures of famous athletes, movie stars, music stars, cartoons characters, etc. and put those pictures over the pictures of all the leaders in the mission.  When he got back home it took him a while to notice but finally did and got quite a kick out of it.  So its been a fun day!  Last week we had our specialized leadership mission-wide training.  The training was intended to help the district leaders be better trained concerning their duties and to get all of the leaders more excited and dedicated in the mission.  So we had the zone leaders teach the district leaders in several workshops on how to have successful baptismal interviews, district meetings, companionship exchanges, etc.  Elder Azueta and I did some case studies afterwards with all the leaders of the mission to help them share their experiences and ideas when they are faced with tough situations.  It was a very successful training because we did a lot more hands-on learning which helps the leaders learn and grow quicker.  Several leaders mentioned that they really enjoyed the training so we are happy about how it turned out.  Last week, most of the time we had in our area was spent helping the Duque family.  We had a lesson with them at the beginning of the week to help them make the sure decision to be baptized on Saturday.  The only member of the family that was doubting a little bit was the mom.  She has been the most faithful with reading, praying, and understanding the importance of the Gospel, but the adversary was working hard on her, trying to get her to think that she still wasnt ready.  Elder Azueta shared an inspired scripture with her in D&C 6:21-24.  As Guillermina read those verses she began to cry and admitted that she owed it to Christ.  She confessed that the last couple months she had been praying for help in her marriage.  She and her husband had been having some difficulties and she wanted him to change and be the kind, loving father and husband that she knew that he could be.  She admitted that listening to us, praying, reading as a family, and attending church had changed him completely and that her prayer had been answered.  With tears rolling down their cheeks, the four of them committed to be baptized on Saturday.  On Friday, we had another really spiritual lesson with them.  We invited the second counselor of the stake presidency so he came with us and brought his wife.  We almost didnt talk at all in the lesson.  President Nava and his wife shared their conversion stories and testified of the power of the priesthood.  We talked with the dad about receiving the priesthood very soon after his baptism so that he can start serving his family and others.  He is very excited to receive it.  Saturday turned out to be a very spiritual day.  Despite it being spring break and the members being in the temple on a ward trip, we were still able to organize a great baptismal service.  We figured out which members didnt attend the temple and we invited them ahead of time.  We also prepared a special musical number and I taught myself how to play two hymns on the piano.  We wanted everything to turn out perfect.  We even got gifts for each of them so that the members that welcomed them from each organization could give them that gift as they welcomed them into the ward and into the organizations.  Karla, the little daughter, and Jose Felipe asked me to baptize them and Guillermina and Estefania asked Elder Azueta to baptize them.  Jose Felipe went first and I felt the Spirit so strong as I helped him into the water.  Karla was next and as she entered the water before I could go help her, she slipped on the stairs and went sliding in.  Luckily she didnt get hurt and had a beaming smile as she left the water.  Elder Azueta baptized Estefania and then it was Guillerminas turn.  The whole week she had been feeling really strange.  She said she felt pain in her neck and just didnt feel happy at all.  Those feelings continued even during the baptismal service.  But when she entered the baptismal font, everything changed.  All of those strange, painful feelings disappeared and she felt joy.  This joy was so intense that she began to cry in the font.  She wasnt able to speak but indicated that she was ready to be baptized.  After the ordinance, Jose Felipe wanted to share a few words.  He expressed his gratitude to us, the missionaries, to the ward, and to the Lord.  He said that the Spirit and the teachings of the Savior had changed his heart.  It was an unforgettable night as I felt the Spirit testify once again to my heart that this is all true.  The next morning, we woke up extremely tired and annoyed.  The neighbors had had a party the night before.  They were playing electronic music that shook the house from 6:00PM Saturday to 11:00AM Sunday.  We didnt sleep at all so we were really anxious to get to church to experience a little bit of relief.  President and Sister Kusch were able to make it to the confirmation of the Duque family during sacrament meeting.  They were so happy as each of them had hands placed upon their heads to be confirmed members of the true church of Christ and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  After sacrament meeting, so many members came up to meet them and congratulate them.  It is really interesting how well they get along with the members and how much they are being fellowshipped.  I know that it is due to the love and the spirit that the Duque family has.  It just makes others love them and it is great to see them with so many friends from the ward already.  The bishop actually told us that he will be giving the priesthood to Jose Felipe in two weeks along with a calling that he already had picked out for him.  I love the Duque family so much and I feel like I will be possibly coming back in a year to be able to attend their temple sealing.   As I pondered yesterday about this Easter season, I realized something about happiness.  The title of my email comes from a scripture in the Bible.  It is when the angel is declaring that Christ has been resurrected.  He asks, "Why do ye seek the living among the dead?"  My mind manipulated this question a little bit to apply it to my life.  "Why do ye seek happiness among the things of this world?"  I could certainly picture Christ asking us a question like that.  We can get very distracted with all the current technology, work, schooling, and other activities.  We must not forget that true happiness will not be found in these things.  True happiness will only be achieved by living the Gospel and living it with our family.  The Duque family considered themselves to be a happy family before meeting the missionaries.  But after everything they have recently experienced, they have come to the realization that there was more happiness to be won, greater happiness that lasts longer to be enjoyed.  Let us not seek happiness in material things, let us seek happiness in our families and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Love you all!
Elder Stutz      

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