Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 41

 At the church 
Evening on the streets of Saltillo
 Walking to Conference
 More photos
 The taxi driver who drove them to Conference and then joined them for the afternoon Sunday session. 
 Hanging out in the Mission Office
The hills of Saltillo
 William and his Grandma Alberta
Picture in the building 
Family picture outside the church building

Dear Family and Friends, 

For most of the week, I was working with my half transfer companion, Elder Domiciano from Brazil. He is the only Brazilian in the mission and I am learning a little bit of Portuguese! Elder Smith spent Monday-Thursday with one of the assistants to the President.  On Friday morning, Elder Smith returned to my area in Corona and we continued working as a trio. It is really different working in a trio and we have had to adjust but it has gotten better! 

Our weekend was the best! The highlights were General Conference and also by the BAPTISM we had last night! General conference is so special and even more as a missionary. I learned so much and had many of my questions answered! 

I loved the talks on Saturday about forgiveness, humility, the talk by President Uchdorf about happiness, and many others. The Priesthood session on Saturday evening was even more special because I got to watch it in English!  I loved hearing the voices of the Apostles and learned how I can be a better leader by being a better follower of Jesus Christ. 

However, perhaps the most special moment of the weekend was the baptismal service that we held last night at our chapel. It was incredibly special because our convert, William, who was baptized at the end of February, baptized his Grandma! I was SO happy and almost cried when I saw one of my best friends, William, who is 16 years old and authorized to baptized with the Aaronic Priesthood, lead his grandmother into the font and performed the ordinance. When his grandmother, Berta, had been baptized and they started to exit the font, William said, "Welcome Grandma"! It was one of the most powerful moments I have had on my mission. Afterwords, I gave him a huge hug and picked him up, even though he was soaking wet. It didn't matter that I also got soaking wet because I was so proud of him and all of the great steps he is taking to serve a mission and return to our Heavenly Father. 

I learned a great lesson from this experience and want to share a scripture to help explain it. In Alma 26: 1-3:

 And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold say unto you,how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
 And now, ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us?Can ye tell?
 Behold, answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, werein darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how manyof them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! Andthis is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that wehave been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.

Ammon asks his brethren, did you ever think we would receive such wonderful blessings from the Lord? However, he doesn't let his brethren answer the question and just shares with them the answer. He said that the greatest blessing that these great missionaries had received from the Lord is that they were "instruments in the hands of God". 

That is truly all that I and my companions are for 2 years. We spend all of our time serving the people of Mexico and helping them come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. This past weekend, and especially last night during the baptism, I truly felt grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission for the people of Mexico, for people like William who accept the Gospel and help others come unto Christ, and to serve with all of my heart for Our Heavenly Father. It is truly a blessing to be here and I will be forever thankful! 

Have a great week! 
Elder Shipley 

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