Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Time Is Here

     ^^ It's great to hear that things are going so well out there! Yes I did get your pictures that you sent me, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I told Elder Knowles last week that I don't know my own house anymore. I would love to see more pictures as you get them. I'm still figuring out what happened to my old camera and SD card... it just disappeared when I was moving from the English apartment to the one we're in now. I'm praying to find it... I know it's around here somewhere. I have another camera that Elder Grandela left, which takes better quality pictures. So the camera itself isn't a worry, but just where the SD card is... I'll keep you posted with what's happening there.

     What I like about the part of the story right in Helaman 16 (I think) is where you see how people are converted in different ways and how while Samuel is preaching people are looking for Nephi and are getting baptized at the same time. They really make a good team. It really is amazing when you look at a time scale or rather when you make one yourself of year by year with some of the changes that occur within the people of the Nephites. It's really sad how a few times when everyone is about to be destroyed and everyone changes and repents and then 5 years later they're in trouble again. *sigh* It's just another testimony to me of how patient God really is with all of us.

     What's been happening in Sonoma (Note to Pres. Bunker):

This week has been great with Zone Conference, and with many steps forward with the work here in Sonoma. We have 5 progressing investigators of note: Juan and Carla Saabedra, Velia Bravo, Mike Guzman, and Erika. Juan and Carla are old investigators from about 2 years ago and were almost baptized. We tried setting another date with them after sharing a spirit-filled restoration lesson, but they wanted to make sure that they knew enough first. So we'll keep trying and show them how much they really do know, especially as we commit them to coming to church. They really are a sweet family. Velia Bravo still has some doubts about Joseph Smith being a prophet, she believes he was a good and inspired man, and that the Book of Mormon is a good book, but it's pretty much just a copy of the Bible. We'll be focusing on showing through the scriptures that the Book of Mormon is similar to the Bible, and it is necessary to help her build a testimony of the Book of Mormon as she continues to pray to know if the BoM is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Step by step and precept by precept like Sis Bunker mentioned.  Mike Guzman has been pretty busy, but he has kept his commitments and is progressing. We extended a baptismal commitment to him too. His doubt is within his own ability to make the necessary changes to be a continuing disciple of Jesus Christ, that if he was baptized that he wants to make sure that he doesn't fall to the wayside and become a hypocrite. We're excited for him and will help show him that he has already grown considerably and that this growth will only increase as he follows the commandments that God has given us. Erika is new from this week. She was a refferal from Sis. Moreno, and has been taught twice this week. She is very spiritual, but I think that she has a few misunderstandings on what we have said that we will clarify the next time we meet, but she's very excited about learning from us, and how we can help her bless her family. These investigators are progressing pretty quickly, but there are also a few others who are approaching the point of being ready for baptism really soon too! I'm excited to help all of them come closer to Christ through helping them grow their own faith and testimony.

We had our 2nd Spanish Sacrament meeting yesterday, and it went beautifully. We had 20 people there in all. We had some beautiful talks on Prayer, Revelation, and the Holy Ghost given by one of the youth Leonardo Moreno, Sis Villalobos, and Elder Knowles. We hoped that some of our investigators would come, but they were unable to make it. We are making plans for more activities that we can hold to get more and more of the Spanish community out and coming to the church for other activities, besides just the church meetings on Sunday. I think that it'll help them feel more comfortable coming to the church building, and help them know where it's located and develop friendships with the other Spanish members. We'll see how that goes. We know we still have a large amount of work to do if we ever want to achieve a branch here in Sonoma. But, just like any big goal like losing 100 lbs, you have to take things step by step, and lengthen your stride as you make headway.

I'm excited to keep the work moving forward, and to keep improving myself to be a better servant and missionary of the Lord!

Your Missionary,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

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