Sunday, October 6, 2013

Two Baptisms And How The Gospel of Jesus Christ Changes Lives

Hi Family!
It's so great to hear from all of you! This has seriously been one of the best weeks of the mission! We successfully had our first baptism! (First two if you count Manuel!) We saw so many miracles this week. It was great.

Miguel would always pray that his baptism would come faster.
So Miguel, Karen, and John have been progressing unbelievably well. This week we were really focusing on getting Miguel ready for his baptism. We met with them every day. Miguel would always pray that his baptism would come faster. We gave him the kid's version of the book of Mormon that Mom sent, and he read 60 pages in one day. He couldn't put it down. In the next lesson we had with him, he was showing us his favorite parts and what he learned from it. The Spirit was so strong in that home this week. John started talking about how great of an example that Miguel has been for him, and how he wants to start being a better parent and being the example for his son instead. He has been sitting in on all our lessons, and has been living commandments like the Word of Wisdom, and the Sabbath day. He came back to church this week for the first time in years! He is pretty committed to coming back to the gospel. They both have just been so proud of their son. I can't even explain it. Miguel has been such a missionary to everyone in his family. We talked with Karen and John about when Karen was going to get baptized, and Walter told her how he wanted work on having a temple sealing together. YAYYY! So many blessings this week! We are going to try and set a baptismal date for Karen this week! 
Me, Miguel and Hna. Maughan at Miguel's baptism.
 Miguel has been teaching his little cousin everything about the gospel.
Miguel had a very specific request Blue jello, in little cups, with blue spoons. How can you say no to that little boy!

I seriously have never met a child so receptive to the Holy Ghost.
Miguel and Manuel's baptism was absolutely beautiful. I can't even describe it. The branch really stepped up this week and helped fellowship them both a lot. Our branch mission leader worked really hard to help us prepare for the baptism. So many people came! The room was overflowing! Really the Spirit was just so strong. Hna. Maughan and I were able to sing a duet of I Need Thee Every Hour (Senor, Te Necesito) and it went really well. We got a lot of people crying :) Miguel (and his parents) and Manuel were both just SO HAPPY! After the baptism, I asked Miguel how he felt, and he said, "I feel like the Holy Ghost is already inside of me." After his confirmation on Sunday, (where he was blessed that he would be a great missionary & receive the blessings of the temple) he said, "I feel like I'm on God's path for me, like I am in His hands." I seriously have never met a child so receptive to the Holy Ghost before. He really has a testimony. He is so mature. He has been teaching his little cousin, Alexa everything. She came to the baptism and to church yesterday and she wants to start taking the lessons now! Her dad is John’s brother and he is less active, and her mom is not a member I think. We are hoping for another similar success story! 
Miguel read 60 pages the first day!

Manuel knew it was the path God wanted for him.
Manuel gave his testimony after his baptism about how happy this gospel has made him. He couldn't stop smiling. He said 2 days before his baptism, he was really looking for a firm answer if this was what he should do or not, and when he read 3 Nephi 9:14, it was his answer and he knew it was the path God wanted for him. When I asked him how he felt, he said that he has never been happier in his whole life. He is so great! He was blessed in his confirmation to be a light to our branch and to help it grow. He already has done that. He is so friendly and outgoing, and makes sure everyone feels loved and important. It has been such a huge blessing and privilege to have been such a big part of both of theirs conversion. As their lives have changed, mine has also. They are such an example to me. It is so crazy to think about how these people and families were when I first met them. Now they are completely different people. They are HAPPY people. The gospel has such a healing power. 
Me, Manuel and his daughter, and Hna. Maughan

Her grandma was overjoyed when she found out.
We set a baptismal date with Lupe this week! October 26th! She has been taking missionary lessons for so long, but it is really hard to teach her because her home is very busy & people get distracted from the lesson so easily. So we just helped her see how ready she is and how strong she is already, and that she can do it. She has been going to Young Women’s for 3 years. We met with her YWs leaders this week, and we were able to teach the lesson in YWs yesterday! It’s so weird to think that I was a Laurel less than a year and a half ago... I feel like such a different person since then. It was fun though! We got to teach about becoming like Christ, and of course we put a missionary spin on it :) But we will have to work hard with Lupe. She is nervous about living the commandments, and it will be hard for her because she won't have parents encouraging her to live them. Her grandma was overjoyed when she found out though. She was crying! We have talked with her Mia Maid leader and have worked out a schedule to teach Lupe in her leader's home, so hopefully that will help a lot. We are so proud of her for making this decision! 
Me and Hna. Maughan
Yes! We have a ward missionary!
We have just been trying to talk to everyone we see, and give everyone an opportunity to hear the gospel. We had a lesson with Jose, Alonso (a Recent Convert’s) next door neighbor. We have been talking to him and his roommate, Manolo. Manolo is this really nice 60 year old man. It’s so weird though because he is totally white, but doesn't know any English. His grandparents moved to Mexico from Uglslavia (is that a place? he said it in Spanish... (editor’s note, yes, Yugoslavia.)) But they both seem pretty open to learning more. We took Rene (another recent convert - who got called as a ward missionary yesterday! Yes! We have a ward missionary!) with us to teach him last night, and it went well. He said he won't pray until he reads the entire Book of Mormon. It's bad that he won't pray, but good that he wants to read the whole book!

Our ward mission leader owns a restaurant and it's awesome. Whenever we go out in public, members always come out of nowhere and try to pay for us. Sometimes more than one offer. It is so great to have a mission with so many members, and a Visitor's Center. I can't tell you how many members when I ask their conversion story, they tell me how they randomly went to the Visitor’s Center without knowing what it was, and a few months later got baptized. 
The members love us!  Free food at Nilsen's Frozen Yogurt!
Actively choosing to develop the attributes I want to have
Seriously, we just had a lot of miracles this week. It has been great. Heavenly Father has really been blessing us in the work. I am learning so much every day. I wish I could explain how much my mission has helped me to grow. I didn't even realize that I needed to grow or could grow this much. And there is still so much more learning and growth I have to grow. I have really been learning the importance of actively becoming the type of person that I want to be, actively choosing to develop the attributes I want to have. It's hard because you have to choose to be patient, choose to be humble, and those are not the things that the natural man wants to do. But, if I don't try to develop them now, I will never be the type of wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, servant of the Lord that I want to be. I have been trying to have more sincere prayers and really focusing on SPEAKING to my Heavenly Father. The Relief Society conference was great this weekend. It really helped me to grow my love for the prophet. His words really inspired me. It is such a huge blessing that we literally have a prophet to lead and guide us these days. That is so important. I always like to tell that to people when we do street contacts because so many people have no idea! 
Me and my roomies at the temple.
We had a great experience going to the temple on Tuesday. It was so nice to be able to renew that eternal perspective and have a great reminder of the importance of this work. I love the temple so much. The Spirit there is so strong. It is so cool to be able to be there with a bunch of other missionaries. Zone Conference on Wednesday was really good as well. We have the best mission president ever. President and Sister Jenkins are so great. They are really down to earth, but so focused and loving. They really have such a vision for the work and want to do all they can to help it be successful. We learned a bunch from them. I have a really fun zone and district this transfer, so it's been really great. 
I love this place! (Mesa, AZ temple.) 
My zone at the temple.

He will give you back more than you give Him.
I just want you to know that the gospel is true. It has all the answers. God loves you personally. He knows you personally. He wants you to know Him personally. Let Him heal you, and let Him help you! He will if you give Him all, and He will give you back more than you give Him. 
Sisters in my zone.
I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all of your love and support! You are the best!

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes

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