February 22, 2016
This week was really a great one. Most weeks in the mission are just hard, but every once in a while you have a week that's just refreshing and full of success.
First off, I'd like to share some very exciting news because I can't hold it in anymore...
Alberto is getting baptized! He had his baptismal interview last night and passed with flying colors! He won't be baptized this weekend because of stake conference, but we're counting on the 5th of March. I am super stoked! It's been a bumpy ride with him and I've been stressed out of my mind about his whole situation and making sure he's ready, but he and the Lord have prevailed. I really would love to share his whole conversion story with y'all, but I'll save it for after his baptism. For now, it sufficeth me to say that he will be baptized on the fifth of March.
In other news, we found some great new investigators this week. It never ceases to amaze me that we can just randomly knock on someone's door, teach them a quick little message, and then we're meeting with them twice a week. And then if they progress, they become lifelong friends. That's how it's been for me my whole mission. One thing that I cherish deeply is the friendships that I've made out here, especially with those I've been able to teach. As it says in Doctrine and Covenants section 50:22 "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." There's no stronger relationship than one that is first found upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. That's why marriages and families in the church are much more successful than those outside of it. We often think that when we share a relationship with someone, it's just us and them, when in reality, the Lord should be the center of it all. That's why marriage in the temple is so important. It binds families together not only for eternity, but for this life as well.
How did I get on that subject again? Oh yeah! I was talking about the relationships we build with those we teach. Relating that to Alberto, I think that's one of the biggest things that has played a role in his conversion. The closer we've been able to get to him, the better our teaching has been and the more the Spirit has been felt. The reason I've been able to recognize his progress so well is because of the close relationship we've formed. And I know that after his baptism and after my departure home, we will continue to be friends, not only because that's what we should do as missionaries, but also because there is a real friendship there. It's a beautiful thing.
Something funny also happened this week. So there's this restaurant called "Ron's Barn" right here where we live that everyone likes to go to. We were hungry one evening so we finally decided to check it out. Let me just say that everything was very confusing. We got in there and some lady (obviously noting our confused faces) asked if we were in a group or if it would be just us. "It's just us," we said. So she told us where to go to find a seat. We sat down, some guy came and took our drink order and then said "okay, you can go when you're ready." What the heck does that mean? So we waited for some other people and just followed them. So what you do is you go through this buffet style line and (kind of like the Lion House, but buffet) tell them what you want and then you just go back to your seat and eat it. The confusing part was: 1) Can we go get more food after we're done? 2) Why are we the only ones that have never been here before? 3) How do we pay for our food? We spent the whole time while eating contemplating how everything worked. The confusion was almost making me go cross-eyed. So we finally finished our food, asked the bus boy how to pay,and we headed out toward the front desk. We paid for our food there and that was it. I told Elder Christensen "We are never going there again. I don't care how good the food was. It's not worth it if we have to pass through Hotel California every time we come." I kept telling Elder Christensen during dinner "We can check out anytime we'd like, but we can never leave." Haha so that was our dinner. The food was great, but the lack of communication from the employees was almost repugnant. And I'm convinced that we were the only two living people in that restaurant. All the rest were ghosts who are trapped there haha.
I guess I'll end it on that note. I hope y'all have a fantastic week. Please continue to pray for Alberto so that he can get baptized on his scheduled date. Thanks for everything.
-Elder Landon Carroll