May 27, 2012

Scrapbook Queen

So hey there all. We've got good news here in Fortin. Put another Baptismal date. And she's looking to be super ready for this coming sunday because not only did she come to church, but she also sent us a text afterword thanking us for the wonderful gospel principles class (we taught it because the bishop took our teacher and made him go to temple prep class). She was also very worried that we would stop coming after her baptism, so I'm pretty sure she likes this whole missionary thing and she is definitely thinking about baptism. She's gonna be fine. Her name is Itamar and she is the niece of a super-awesome recent convert named Oliva. I'm super excited about it. It'll be my first baptism since like the beginning of March. Kind of overdue, I think. Nothing like the purity of a baptism to just get you going again.

Outside of that, some funny Mexico news: alright, you should know that everybody here wears shirts written in English. No, they do NOT know how to read english. Yet they wear shirts with English words on them. Sometimes, it is just something something harmless, like a brand name. Other times the results are rather hilarious. Like when we saw a forty-five year old automechanic walking around in a purple muscle shirt (I'm sure modified by him) that boldly stated, "Scrapbook Queen." We wanted to ask for his autograph. Another story: we went to go look for an inactive member one day and we knocked on the door of her housing complex (it was raining pretty hard this day) and an old man answered. He immediately let us in. We thought, "Great, we didn't find Marta, but this guy could be a new investigator." We, the good missionaries that we are, started to contact him. We asked if he had time to talk. He asked us where we would like to talk. We suggested inside. He responded that we were talking out here, weren't we. We responded, a little bit confused, that yes, we were talking out here. We asked him what his beliefs were. He asked us if we believed his dog believed in God. We were confused. He ask us if his dog could think and feel. We responded that yes, the dog could. He told us that of course the dog could think and feel, why would we ever suggest otherwise? We gently explained that we never suggested otherwise and that we were sure that his poor dog had a place in heaven. He asked us if we were Menonites. We said no. He then said, "So I bet you're not Mormons, right?" Well, sir, yes, yes we are the Mormons. He then asked us if we had a telephone. We said we had a cellphone. No, he wanted a telephone. We told him we didn't have one in the house. He asked us if we had a house. We told him that we had just barely told him that we had a house. The conversation continued that way for quite some time. I was really confused. I think he's kind of crazy. But it was funny.

 The final funny Mexico story of the week is when, walking down the street on Sunday, we encountered Mariano. Mariano is a very nice, very catholic, 95 year old man. But he is still alive and kicking. He doesn't hear so well, but he loves talking. We doesn't see so well, but he loves walking around crowded Central Oaxaca. He planched us (read: scolded severely) for working on a Sunday, the Lord's day. It was hilarious coming from him. And he did it very nicely. I love old people. Him and Wilivaldo from Puerto Angel should just ride off into the Sunset together.

Anyway, I want to mention something that dad wrote in his email to me. He talked about how the Sacrament was our way of renewing our baptismal covenant, the only covenant that we renew. I love it. It was already somehting that I was employing in my lesson 3's, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the End. We continually do all parts of it. Often, we think of it as a checklist (missionaries included), "Alright, I've got some faith, I've repented of my most recent sins, guess it's time to get baptized." Or, "Well, now that I've got the Holy Ghost, the only thing I have to worry about is that enduring to the end thing." Well, the truth of it all is this: enduring to the end IS repeated the process over and over and over. We never should stop repenting. It's how we get closer to God. Our faith is constantly being weakened and strengthened. We have to continue nourishing it. And, well, baptism and the Holy Ghost are things we do over and over again in Sacrament meeting. The Sacrament prayers mention that if we keep our baptismal covenant, we will "always have His Spirit" with us. That's eerily similar to the promise of receiving the gift of the holy ghost. Also, the Sacrament is what keeps God forgiving us. We receive a remission of our sins when we are baptized. If we continue repenting and taking the sacrament after, we continue receiving that. It's a wonderful thing. The sacrament is SO important for us and it's something that I never truly understood before. The Sacrament is absolutely ESSENCIAL in our spiritual development and almost nothing about the rest of the three hour block. While the rest is good and spiritually uplifting as well, it doesn't even come close to the importance of those very sacred ten minutes of the Sacrament. Read 3 Nephi 27 19 and think about what the water represents. I always use that in connection with the importance of the sacrament.

Anyway, got to go, Things are awesome here and the investigators are super. Big ole conference tomorrow and I don't really know why. Talk to y'all next week
See ya in two years!
Elder Johnson

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