How are y'all doing this sunny day? I, for one, am doing much better! The MTC doctor took my stitches out on Wednesday, and he said that they're healing well! The 24 hours after are the most important to keep the wound clean and basically not do anything, so I spent Thursday with the Mercados (the part-American family I told you about last week) at Brigham Young School; I just sat in the office with Hermana Mercado with my foot elevated and read the Book of Mormon:) I did the same thing on Tuesday, and we did it so that my companion, Hermana Vazquez, could go on splits with another member and still teach.
On Wednesday morning (before stitches), we had a special meeting for all of the trainers and our kids (which meant that I got to be with Hermana Ventocilla, my comp from Bella Vista!) It was with President and Hermana Nuckols, and we talked about how things have been going with the newbies. At one point, they split the parents and kids up, and when the trainers listed problems that their comps have had, I realized that Hermana Vazquez hasn't struggled with any of them! Seriously, she is the best daughter ever, I'm so lucky:)
By the time I starting teaching again on Friday (after a week and a half indoors), I was a lot whiter and my hair was darker haha:) We had the funnest lesson with Anthony, his sisters, and Estarlin about the 10 commandments:) On Saturday morning, Anthony had his baptismal interview, and he passed with flying colors! He will be getting baptized on the 10th!! We are all ecstatic:):) Plus, his sisters and a reference friend all came to church with us yesterday, yippee!
Sabado was the big day! The plan was to have Estarlin's baptism start at 6:30pm on Saturday, but there was a crazy, massive rainstorm, so no one was walking to the church. We were worried that the baptism wasn't going to happen, but we regained our faith, and guess what? Estarlin and 3 of his friends came in the pouring rain! And when the storm calmed down, more and more people arrived, including Estarlin's mom! She loved the baptismal service and felt the Spirit very strongly; we're going to focus on teaching her and her husband more (the one who built the baptismal font in the temple here). Anthony offered the opening prayer, and the Young Mens president baptized Estarlin. He was SO happy and bore such a sweet testimony. I'm so proud of him and the changes he's made in his life--he truly is a new person. To see in white and enter the waters of baptism was the best thing ever. He illuminates the light of Christ and is an incredible example to all who know him.
During church yesterday, he received the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a beautiful blessing, talking about serving a mission and raising his future family in the gospel. Later, he received the priesthood! Estarlin would have been ordained as a priest because he's 16, but his birth certificate was made a year later (very common here to have major document problems) and states that he's 15. The mission leaders said to put his real age on the forms, but the stake president said to put 15, so in the end, Estarlin was ordained as a teacher, and the ward really supports him.
Our ward's biggest problem is the youth, almost all of whom are the only members of the Church in their families. They are strong in numbers but struggle spiritually. They need stability and good examples in their lives; they need more firm youth like Estarlin and Anthony. We talked a ton about that in ward council yesterday. I love teaching teenagers more than any other age group, and I want to help them establish righteous habits and goals that will ayudarlos for the rest of their lives. The majority of our investigators right now are youth; it's a privilege to work with these energetic, dedicated kids who have so much potential, are attending seminary even before they're baptized, and love God and their Savior so much. What an inspiration they are:)
Estarlin's example and testimony have strengthened mine. He is the second investigator I've been able to see baptized on my mission; he's not my investigator or my convert--he's the Lord's. Estoy muy agradecida que Dios me permitio a ensenar un joven con un espiritu tan grade y maravilloso. Tengo fe que va a ser un lider fuerte y poderoso en la Iglesia. El esta siguiendo el ejemplo de Jesucristo, nuestro ejemplo perfecto. Estoy feliz por este tiempo a ser Su sierva.
3 Nephi 27:20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.