Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 38

Elder Smith's Birthday "cake" and sign! 
"The last house on the road out of town!"
 Birthday candles in Mexico!
 The first cake in the face!
  The rest of the missionaries there to celebrate!
The baptism of the family of 5 (Jeff is the tall one)
 Cake up the nose #2!
 Celebrating at church!
 Sunset in Saltillo
More Sunset in Saltillo!

Dear Family and Friends, 

This was a super special week! I turned 20 on Friday! How crazy is that?! This week was filled with a lot of great moments! On Tuesday, I went on splits with another Elder named Elder Villeda and worked in the area of Ramos Arizpe. We had a great day. In the evening, I was able to meet the family of five that he and his companion, Elder Daines were going to baptize on Saturday! I was very excited to meet them and we had a great lesson. At the end of the lesson, Elder Villeda asked the 5 members of the family who they wanted to baptize them. The family mentioned the Bishop of the Ramos Arizpe Ward, Elder Daines, Elder Villeda, my mission president, President Rodriguez (because he was the one who contacted them in an airport), and they were missing one person to baptize the middle daughter. They looked at me and said, "we want the Elder from Washington to baptize her!" I was shocked and didn't know what to say! After checking to make sure it was ok, I gratefully accepted the invitation! Then on Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the baptism of this family! I also got to baptize with the President of my mission! It was a super special birthday gift that I am never going to forget! Afterwards we got to eat dinner with them and it was one of the most special days that I have had on my mission! 

Wednesday and Thursday were fairly terrible days and were very cold. It was raining all day and I had on 2 or 3 jackets just to keep warm! 

Friday was my birthday!!! I woke up and my companion made me a "cake", basically he put 6 cookies on a plate.... haha I love Elder Smith! But later in the day, I got to experience how Mexicans celebrate birthdays! I learned what the "mordita" is!  It is a Mexican tradition that those who are celebrating with you start to chant, "mordita", which means,"little bite"!  You then put your face next to the cake to eat a small bite of the cake without a fork and someone else smashes your face in the cake! It happened twice on Friday! I think I still have cake in my nose! 

However, in the afternoon, Elder Smith and I went to visit a family that we have known for almost 2 months here. They always let us in, always listen to us, but never come to church! We decided to stop teaching them for a few weeks, but then went back to see how they were doing. Well, we sat down with them, and I wasn't sure what to teach, once again, my companion Elder Smith was very in tune with the spirit and said, "let's teach about keeping the Sabbath Day holy".  The lesson turned out great and they really understood the importance of attending church! 

Then my companion mentioned my ward was having a open house of the chapel and invited them to come see the chapel with us and take a tour. They decided to come with us and were able to receive a lesson from the bishop and other members of the ward and see the baptismal font! It was an awesome tour and they are going to come to our missionary activity on Friday and church on Sunday!  

I learned that sometimes we don't receive the blessings that we want exactly how we want them because the Lord knows what we need and when we need it. After reflecting on the week we had last week, perhaps the tour of the church with the Bishop and other members was exactly what this family needed so they can attend church and get baptized someday. 

I hope all is well back home and that you can all enjoy March Madness! I'll be working down here in Saltillo! I know that the church is true and the Our Savior loves us! 

All the best, 
Elder Shipley 

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