Monday, 12 January 2015

Starting 6 months! Busy week in Utah - spiritual experiences galore

Hola!                                                                                            January 12, 2015
            Que pasa? Lol I hope you're all doing good in the Great White North. It's been raining here instead of snowing which is super weird for me, but I'm not complaining haha! 
            We had 3 people baptized this last Saturday. First was Maricielo, she's from Peru. We were co-teaching her with the YSA Sisters, Sister Samartano and Sister Goormastic, because she speaks Spanish, but she wants to attend the YSA ward because she has more friends there, and she came to Utah to learn English so she has been going to the YSA ward, but we taught her haha. It was an amazing experience, the Sister Samartano is from Milan Italy, and Sister Goormastic is from Connecticut. Maricielo has such a soft heart and I am so blessed to know her! She's going back to Peru in a few months but she's already a strong member. She's an amazing person and I honestly love her so much! (not in a creepy way haha) 
            The other 2 people were Teresa and Marlon, they are also amazing people. Marlon is only 8 years old and is slightly autistic so we had to teach him in a very visual way so he would understand. He's a really smart kid, he just needed to be taught in a different style and it was a blast watching him grow and mature. After Elder Firpo baptized him, he yelled "I DID IT!" It was super cute and super funny, he told us afterwards that he felt really good. Teresa is Marlon's Mom, she's a single mom with 4 kids all under the age of 9, it's crazy how she does it! She works during the night while they're sleeping and then she sleeps during the day while they're at school! She is an inspirational lady for all of us, if she can endure all of these problems in her life and still be able to come to church, and keep the commandments then most of us have no reason not too. Her kids are Marlon (8), Madison (6), Nate and Lexi (Twins that are both 4), so she's really busy all the time, but she's very humble and grateful for Christ in her life. 
            The Guadarrama family were blessing and passing the Sacrament at church yesterday, it's been amazing to watch them grow too. I also gave Teresa and Marlon the Holy Ghost at church, and it was in SPANISH! It was my first time giving someone the Holy Ghost and it was also the first time I've given someone a blessing in Spanish. I was super nervous, and I messed up a bit but it's all part of learning a language. I did better than I thought I would haha but It was amazing to give them that precious gift. 
           I love the Lord and all the blessings he provides for all of us. He's very gracious and loving to all of us, and it's never too late for us to change. The atonement of Jesus Christ is eternal, and so are our covenants. We must always fulfill them and use the atonement in our lives. None of us should be satisfied with how we are, we should always want to improve. God always wants us to progress, we either progress or fall. We can't stay at the same level anymore, the world is just to wicked for that. We either progress or fall, so I suggest we choose to progress. We're all in this together, just like a team in basketball. When we work together and help each other overcome our trials and difficulties, we will all progress together faster.
            As for NFL Picks, I've only gotten 1 game wrong in the playoffs so far. I'm 7-1 right now, pretty good considering I don't watch the games. This week whoever wins the NFC Championship between the Seahawks and Packers will win the Super Bowl. That's a guarantee. The Colts and Patriots don't have good enough defenses to beat the Packers or the Seahawks. I'm picking the Seahawks and Patriots to win this week. Seahawks win in a close hard fought game by about 3-5 points, and Patriots win by about 10-14 points. 
            I love you all and thanks for all the support you guys always give me! 
            My companion is a boss and I love him! We have very similar personalities and we both love the work of the Lord. Clothes are fine and shoes are good. Yes we have access to washer and dryer whenever we need it. I'm not sure if I'm gaining weight because we don't have a scale that functions in our apartment, but just looking at myself in the mirror every morning I think I've gained a bit of weight, like maybe 10-15 pounds on my mission but I'm tall and slim still, like I think it's more muscle I've gained than fat honestly. I exercise most mornings. The knee is pretty good, there's the occasional day that it gets sore but as long as I wear my brace it usually holds up fine.
            Ok normal stuff now haha. I can't believe Sarah is getting that old either, that is insane! Holy Cow! Sounds like basketball is going well, good job Miranda! Thanks so much for your constant love and support so here's an interesting story quick.
            So there's a priest that comes out with us a lot, his name is Reuben Salas and he's a boss. I like him a lot, he plays football and is an Offensive Lineman, he's about 5'10ish but he weighs like 240 I'm guessing, he's super strong and super big and he's only 16 so I like him a lot. Anyways, he was baptized when he was 10 and his family loves missionaries, but one day his Mom (This is the family that gave Elder Berrios and I toques) told us about their conversion, after this story my respect for Reuben went way higher!
            Reuben was born with a heart disorder and the doctors told his parents he would die when he was 11-12ish because his heart would beat too fast and would eventually fail. When his family was investigating the church Reuben was around that age where his parents were starting to get worried, because they knew it could be the beginning of the end for their beloved son. Sister Salas was driving her son, Reuben, to school one day and he told her that his chest was hurting a lot, so she told him to go get it checked by the school nurse. She got a phone call about 5 minutes later and the principal told her to come to the school ASAP because Reuben was being taken to the hospital, his blood pressure was way too high and so was his heart beat. The doctors were able to calm Reuben's heart down, but they told her this was the beginning of the end, which was exactly what they feared. They told Reuben about it, and he asked them about the missionaries. They were really confused because Reuben was only 10 years old, and he even admits he didn't know exactly what was going on during the lessons. 
            The Salas family was very uncertain about this church and whether they wanted to be baptized or not. They liked the missionaries and stuff, but they weren't sure yet whether they were true messengers from God or not. Reuben told his Mom to call the missionaries and have them come over. When they came over Reuben looked at his parents and told them, 'I know they can heal me, but if they can heal me we're all getting baptized on February 27th, ok?" His Parents were like, ok whatever you say son! The missionaries gave him a blessing and through his great faith he was healed, the heart disorder is still there but the affects of it is very minimal, and now he is playing football at a high level. They were all baptized on that day and are some of the strongest members I've ever met in my life.
            I hope that story touched you, it definitely touched me the first time I heard it.
            Oh yeah I've been a missionary for 5 months now, where does the time go?

            Love you and Good luck with everything!
                                    Elder Strate

1st Picture is Maricielo with all the missionaries that taught her.  

2nd Picture is Teresa and Marlon and their family.

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