Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sebastian's Baptism and big scary spiders!

"...The baptism (that's right...baptism!) was awesome!!! Everyone we talk to says they have never seen anything like it. There are always stories of miracle investigators, but I didn't think I wold actually get to be part of teaching one! He asked elder brooks to baptize him, so I got to watch and be a witness. It was interesting to see him as he cam out of the water, very emotional, but I could also see his tattoos through his shirt. He didn't go into great detail about his life before he met us, but we pretty much know that he was not involved with the greatest crowd and did some stupid stuff. He has an 18 month old daughter, and my theory is that when she was born, he looked at his life and realized he was a mess. He started studying with various religions, including the testigos (JW). Then his friend, who was baptized last january, introduced him to the church, but specifically to us. After a completely random/divinely arranged meeting in the street, he started learning about the gospel. I think I mentioned I wasn't present for his first lesson due to divisions, but we saw him pretty much every day last week, and will continue to do frequent visits until his confirmation on Sunday (for which he is very excited). He is without a doubt the most prepared person I have ever met. Teaching him isn't really teaching. All we do is tell him about a doctrine, then he just runs with it an instantly understands why things are a certain way. Honestly, he already knows all the answers, we just give him a little push every once in a while. Thus far, his biggest doubt was the use of a certain word, and only because he didn't understand what it meant. I just can't say enough about it! I am very grateful for the opportunity tI had to be part of his conversion process. He bore his testimony at the baptisms, and after expressing gratitude to everyone who came (which was a lot! Including his father and brother) he said, I know that this church is true, and nothing else matters! It was so perfect.  .....I mentioned his tattoos earlier because of a story elder brooks told me about another convert. He literally had satan tattooed on his back and arm, but was baptized. Such is the forgiveness of God, that he will let even a man with satan on his back enter into the waters of baptism and be eligible to receive eternal life!" 

"...I almost had a minor panic attack the other day...we were eating lunch at a members home and I randomly glanced up to the ceiling to see a very large spider. Then I saw another, then another, then all, there were about 8-10 very large spiders hanging out a few feet above our heads... scariest moment of my mission. Then if thats not enough, last night as I was laying in bed after lights out, I thought I saw something moving on the wall next to my head. There was just enough light coming in from the neighbors to see another very large spider cruisin down the wall towards me. I freaked out...Elder brooks made fun of me. I decided that I pretty much don't like anything that crawls, including scorpions." 

This was Elder Rau's caption for the above picture: "How we deal with spiders ... we have not yet resorted to flame, but I'm not too far off..."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A great story from this week....

"We had district meeting on Tuesday. While my comp and another DL were preparing the meeting, I was doing comp study with another elder. While we were studying, (at the church) a member dropped in and introduced his friend, Sebastian, to my comp and the other elder. He showed mild interest. Wednesday morning, as we were walking down a street that has never yielded a successful contact, we saw a guy feeding a hourse...Edler Brooks said he looked like legolas... so as we prepared to contact him, he turned to us and said hola hermanos! It was Sebastian! He walked with us all the way to his friend's house and talked to Elder Brooks (I couldn't hear what was going on) and gave him his whole story. Just a few months ago he was involved in all sorts of junk including drugs, but had a big spiritual experience and cleaned up and decided to search for the true church of Christ!!!!!! We set up an appointment for Thursday afternoon.

We had divisions on Thursday/Friday, so I was in another area and a Zone leader was here and he went with E Brooks to see him. Apparently, it was the most amazing lesson ever and he is now set to be baptized on the 9th after church (because he needs to attend church twice before baptism)!!! He is the most golden person ever! I finally got to sit down with him on Saturday morning. He is reading more than what we assign him and already has a testimony of everything we have asked him to pray about. The lessons are actually really hectic for me because he can't just sit and listen, he has so many questions and is so excited about everything that he justs keeps talking the whole time. To make this long story a little shorter, I'll just say he showed up early to the baptism (an 8 year old baptism the elders took charge of) to tell us he couldn't make it, but met a few members. He came to church (all 3 hours) and made friends with another member who will likely baptize him. He came to our fireside that night where we watched the testaments and he was crying at the end. Also, he is 22 and had the attention of some single sisters i the ward..haha! Honestly, everything is so perfect, I can't even believe it. He has friends and the members are doing such a good job of taking care of him. We hardly spoke to him at the fireside. We will more than likely see him every day this week. He is having some family problems, but they in no way are affecting his choice to be baptized.

He will be baptized about two weeks after our initial contact. He is completely opposite from Daniel. Daniel was talking his time and wanted to know everything before his baptism, but Sebastian is ready now and wants it so bad. All the elders in the city are way jealous and tell us that they have never seen anything like it." 


Here is a story from Elder Rau's letter from last week....

"I think I mentioned last time that it has been raining quite a lot...that statement is still true. Of course, we got caught in the worst of it, haha. We were out just after the siesta and were about 8-10 blocks from the church when the sprinkling got a little more intense and the wind picked up. Before we knew it, we were running to find shelter. The good news is that there is a kiosco every 50 feet here, so we took shelter under a little awning. Eventually the wind shifted and we were forced to run to another. By this time we were completely soaked, so we pretty much just waited for it to let up just a little bit, then started to walk to the church. You wouldn't believe how much water was moving down the street! It was seriously a river. Little kids were trying to fight the current in the gutter, and I actually thought one of them was going to eat it, and the possibility of him drowning actually existed!"