I love love love just absolutely love seeing the power of conversion in people´s lives. Seeing the way the Gospel changes a persons life is like watching fire or a waterfall or Messi making goals or Lebron James throwing a buzzer beater to win the game, you never get tired of it. Juana was one of these cases. When we first showed up at her house it seemed as if it were pointless to come back because we were told that she, nor anyone in the house, would even go to church! Much less get baptized. Look were we are now, just a couple months later (I think...) and she was baptized yesterday! And that decision had NOTHING TO DO WITH US. I remember the day she told us she was going to go to church. It was a shocker. I remember the day when we re-invited her to really have a conversation with Heavenly Father with real intent and ask for an answer, whether or not this church was true and if she should be baptized. The next day went over to her house and she sat us down and said that she had something to tell us. She told us of her experience and her prayer to God. She told us of her answer and shared her small but powerful testimony that she knew that this was true and was sure that baptism was her next step. She quickly accepted and adapted herself to all Gospel Principles and was baptized this last Sunday. To say it was a powerful conversion and an uplifting baptism experience would be an understatement.
I may or may not have had the strongest testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints two years ago but in this time here in Chile I have obtained a sure knowledge that Heavenly Father loves us and that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He loved and loves us enough to have sent his son Jesus Christ to suffer and pay for our sins. I know that He has always called prophets to lead and guide and show His love to his children. I know that we are not an exception to this pattern. God still loves us and to show that love he—once again—called a Prophet, Joseph Smith. Through the Prophet Joseph He was able to restore this beautiful Church! I know there is a LIVING prophet in our day, today! I am positive that if there is anyone out there looking for God you can find it here, it´s only a prayer away. Juana did it so do many others around the world. It´s amazing to me that people from Australia to Japan to Ohio can all come to the very same conclusion, coincidence? I think not. It´s truth! And it´s wonderful!!
Along with Jauna´s fantastic baptism we were able to create a little friendship between her and a less active woman named Olga. With Olga´s support and vice versa Olga was able to become reactivated and shared a powerful message with Juana in her baptism! It has been great to see Olga and her daughter return to church in the last couple of months and support Olga´s husband Max who has been faithful assisting church since their baptisms two years ago.
I had a very sad but exciting moment this week. Last Thursday was my very last Zone Conference in the mission. In these conferences the new missionaries get up and introduce themselves in the best Spanish they can muster if they are new to the language and answer a few questions. At the end of the Conference there is a little testimony meeting where all the missionaries that will go home before the next conference are called up to the stand to give their last testimonies in front of the mission President, his wife, and all other missionaries present. I remember my first zone conference, barely just barely understanding a few words of spanish and I saw my first trainer get up there and say goodbye. In the moment I wanted to cry because I never thought I could do it. This time it was my turn. I cannot explain the feeling of joy, sadness, pride, and accomplishment that I felt as I sat on the stand waiting for my turn. I´ve almost done it! I have never been so proud of myself for accomplishing something. It seemed like such a huge mountain to climb. It really was a bittersweet moment but I am so happy. So so SO happy! Happy for the progress I´ve made, for the knowledge I´ve acquired and most importantly my testimony which will shape the rest of my life without a doubt. :)
I am also so grateful for the people who have supported me on this adventure and for those who have not forgotten me and still write me in my last month! Haha I can´t wait to hug you all in four weeks! I´m excited to keep working here in Chile and I will be sure to ¨sacarle el jugo¨ ¨squeeze the juice out of it¨ as the Chileans would say!
Con mucho amor, paz y felicidad,