Friday, December 25, 2009

Ana Karina's Baptism

Dear Family of mine-
Hope you are enjoying the sights out there in New York!!! Hope you are enjoying shopping!!!! HaHa! Sorry Dad we`ll go do a bunch of manly guy activities when I get home (remember I still haven`t even seen the second batman movie!). I`m glad you are all having fun!! I remember when we were there in 200.....7? visiting with Melia and Josè. Remember when we went to ground zero and they said that they were going to build another, bigger building on that spot? how`s that going? Just a thought.
So Ana`s baptism on Saturday was GREAT. Honestly in my life I have never been in a baptism that was so spiritual. Ever. There were only about 15 people there (because that day there were 5 activities going on in the chapel AT THE SAME TIME!!!) But it was honestly incredible. One of the sisters in the ward (the district choir director, and one of Ana`s co workers and best friends) sang a special number from a Y.W. disc called " You are a daughter of God" and it was such a good song. Half way through the sister that was singing started to cry and so did Ana and so did I (almost). In a part of the song it said something about how before we were born our Heavenly Father had us in His arms right before we left His presence, hoping that some day we would be able to come back to Him. I could honestly see that happening with Ana right before she came to earth, and I could feel (in a very small degree) how happy and pleased Heavenly Father was because He knew that as she took the step of baptism it was making it possible her return to Him. It was great!!!!
Also, we had another really really good experience this week with a family called Familia Gaete. When I got to this sector 2 months ago, there was a letter in the apartment for that family from one of the missionaries that used to be in this sector. But Elder Butròn didn`t know who they were. Every once in a while when I saw the letter sitting there I felt that we had to find them. But every member we asked didn`t know who they were. Until.......last Thursday we were teaching Carla (she`s a whole different story) with Maritza (a member of the church who`s preparing for a mission, and Carla`s sister in law) and after the lesson with Carla we were going to go visit Max (a recent convert who`s 90 and says he used to be a Mason. He`s really inteligent but a little crazy) and we asked Maritza if she knew who Familia Gaete was. She was "heck yes I do, why haven`t you guys been visiting them?" I said "cuz we don`t know where they live!!" So Maritza brought us to their house! The mom, Wilma, is a member, but inactive. Her daughter, Barbara, is 13 and is not a member. The missionaries were teaching her about 3 months ago but they stopped coming by. We sang some christmas hymns with them and then shared "Permanaced", the lesson to invite inactive members back to the church. They said they would come, but they didn`t come to the chapel yesterday, but we had a cita with them at 5:00 and we went. They said they didn`t come to church because they couldn`t wake up on time, but next week for sure! Then we started teaching lesson 1, the restoration. After the lesson, Barbara asked her mom if she could please go outside for a moment and talk with us privately, so her mom went outside. Then Barbara started to tell us why they missionaries stopped coming. She was preparing to be baptized, but started to have some doubts and insecurities, The missionaries thought she didn`t want to get baptized so they stopped visiting her. But she said that during those 3 months that the missionaries stopped visiting she felt like something was missing in her life, and she couldn`t stop thinking about the church. She said that she knows that this is the path that she wants to follow and has January 16th as her baptismal date!!!!!! So that was way cool. This year for our christmas gift to President Jones, each companionship has to think of a miracle that they have had in the last two weeks, then do a 1 minute recording describing the miracle. Today we recorded all of the miracles in the zone before we played soccer, and we have to burn them onto a dvd tomorrow. So there will be 90 minutes of miracles for President Jones! Elder Marìn and I decided that Barbara should be our miracle. I gave a talk yesterday about the "family mission plan" That was a wonderful experience.
Yesterday Maximo received the Aaronic priesthood, and was ordained as a priest. and I did the ordenation!!!! Màximo asked me to do it for him. This was the first time I have ever done a priesthood ordenation. Màximo is incredible. He will be going on a mission some day. We talked to President Jones about Daniela, since she is so young and her parents aren`t members she will have to attend church for 3 months before she can be baptized. Sad bears. We need to focus on Rafael, her brother, so that he can be worthy of his priesthood. If he stays active, so will she. But without him it will be very difficult. There is much more to tell, but i`ll save it for the phone call!! I sure do hope that you`re flight doesn`t get canceled so that you can be at home when I call! Because answering machines don`t replace families! Everything will be fine. No worries. Suave, porque sauve es todo, as Elder Marìn always said. And by the way I love Elder Marìn. quite possibly more than any other companion. Although I also really love Elder Butterfield and my boy Elder Cannon. We are having a great time now. I`ll send another email with details about the phone call. Happy Birthday Mom!!! Thanks for all you have done for me. I love you so much!
Much love!

Elder Cloward

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