Hola Mi Querido Familia!!!,
I'm so happy to write to you all today. I am full of joy and peace because of the baptismal service and confirmations we had in the church yesterday. Although only 19 members came to the church, we had 11 investigators who attended to have an attendance of 30. I'd like to have more members in the church but I am more than happy to have 11 investigators at the same moment. The baptismal service of Giselle (16) was incredible and the spirit was very strong. Even her friend (who is not a member) asked us, "And I'm next?" Hahaha! Also, two of the three baptisms from last weekend were confirmed as members today. Eliana (62) and Jocelyn (12) were confirmed while Alexandra (10) had an emergency situation with her family concerning his sister. Next to that urgency, it was an awesome day.
OH!!! I almost forgot to mention!!! While I was reading the announcements in the beginning of Sacrament Meeting yesterday, an earthquake of 5.9 grade started to tremble!!!!! Obviously, we were in an anti-sismatic building so I tried to continue with the announcements but the people started to worry a little bit...especially after the first few seconds when it grew stronger. I paused for a second, looked at Elder Caballero, who was sitting next to some investigators, who signaled with the slight tilt of his head that we should leave the building, and then asked that the members oderly formed a line while filing out of the building. As I said that, Rodrigo (our most faithful and active member) said out loud, "It's calming down...it's calming down...don't worry." In fact, he never left his seat during the whole ordeal. I was impressed by his steel nerves. Everyone stopped and came to sit back down. We had the rest of the Sacrament Meeting without any other interruptions and it was a very good testimony meeting. But heck! was it a crazy experience. I got a good laugh out of the expression of the congregation. If only I could have recorded their reactions and sent them to you. Hooowee! My testimony of Heavenly Father strengthens every time I experience an earthquake because I know even more that God is in control and we just need to trust in Him.
I could not be happier with the missionary work here and to be with Elder Caballero!!!!!! He lifts me when I'm low in spirit and is a great support for what we are doing in the field. We have five more baptismal dates for May and hope to have even more. Most of them are youth, which is great because this Branch lacks youth and it also adds a great spirit to the church on Sundays. My comp does great as the teacher of the youth and I hope that my next comp will be able to keep up with him. Haha! We start a new change (6 weeks) together today and then I'm pretty sure that Elder Caballero will be going to another sector. We are going to enjoy every moment of it. For example, we're hittin up Pichilemu (the beach sector) again next Monday. OH!!!! That reminds me! The trip to Pichilemu last week was incredible!!!! We took some great pictures that are attached. Also the pic from the baptisms are there as well.
I'm still learning a lot on how to be a better Branch president, but I guess it's steady progress. Elder Caballero told me yesterday that he can't imagine the load that I might have in this sector after seeing the situation in Sacrament Meeting with the earthquake, the time in preparing classes on Sunday, the work with Branch budgets (Tithing, Fast Offering, and activites), baptismal service, planning out the schedule for mission meetings and baptismal interviews, and studies for missionary work. He was half-joking because he does help with a lot of it (along with Brother Rodrigo). But I realized that when I put my full attention in helping others and staying diligent in my duties, the Lord takes care of the rest. In fact, last night when I looked back on what all we did yesterday, I was astonished because we didn't even think twice while we worked. We just did thing after thing: Church, baptism, clean-up, lunch, lesson, lesson, meeting with the youth, lesson, lesson, mission dats to district leader, plan for today, and bedtime. Haha! I don't notice it in the moment but, afterwards, it makes me emotional to know how much Heavenly Father and Jesus are helping me. I have many obstacles yet to overcome, but I see more and more each day how helping others resolve their problems teaches me how I can avoid those problems. It is a hidden blessing that one has to look for. I have been listening to a lot of the General Conference addresses recently and it has served me a lot. Being a Branch President here has caused me to pay A LOT more attention to ALL of the talks even if they don't have anything to do with missionary work or young adults. Haha! Because I realize that EVERY aspect of the Gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ is important. Not having any other leaders in this branch, besides my companion and I, who are faithful and willing or members who are worthy to serve makes me EXTREMELY more grateful for the wards that have bishops, youth presidents...WITH COUNSELORS, priesthood leaders...WITH COUNSELORS, and other callings. I believe that the members of the church are ungrateful and unaware at times of the help and facility they have in their congregations to strengthen their testimonies and their families. I have seen it before and am grateful that I have appreciated the leadership I have had during my life in the church. I hope that you all can look around you and see what you have as a blessing in your life instead of seeing what you lack. The Lord with highly bless you if you see His love towards you by what He has given you. To my siblings, please notice what Mom and Dad do for you. Talk to them, try to understand them, OBEY them, look to them for advice, spend quality time with them, and most of all LOVE them more than anyone else besides your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I promise that if you do this, you will have a happier home and less sadness. I leave a blessing over you all and hope things are always getting better in your life. Take Care until next week!!!!
Con mucho amor,