This world is so beautiful! Thank you for the picture of the garden, looks like it is growing quite a bit. God's work is also growing here in Laguna Niguel. This week I just feel jubilantly joyful in all things, and I want to share that! We had quite a few ups and downs: Rocio was not baptized we attended a funeral, Elder Barton had some sad news from home and one of our investigators did not come to church. On the other hand, Rocio received a powerful confirmation that she needs to be baptized we invited three people to be baptized, we are healthy, and we rebuked and evil spirit!
Here is the latest on Rocio: she is wonderful and an incredible woman and mother. I will keep my comments positive and not too personal, but she really, I mean REALLY wants to be baptized so she will. She is in for surgery today, but perhaps will be healed enough before November to be baptized Why wasn't she baptized? We have been teaching her son for quite a while now and ever since his mom started investigating and he met this "new friend" he does not keep any commitments and is not progressing. There is a rift between mother and son that Rocio will not allow to be widened. The gospel is a message of unity and baptism should not be a wedge, but a sealant to a relationship. We are waiting on the son to come back and employing every honorable mean to provide him with a fair opportunity to choose between liberty or captivity. We love them both dearly, and pray for them every day.
A few fun moments of the week:
We had three dinners on Sunday and they were all really good, so we had to keep eating - just preparation for Thanksgiving!
We met some people in the middle of the parking lot, we came from the Wendy's side and they from Patsy's Bar side. One was the designated driver and was the member who had gotten civilly married last week. She invited a few of the guys there to be baptized and one said yes and came to church! Another one "Jeremiah Peter" requested us to say a prayer all together, so we huddled around and football style came in, hands stacked high, to listen to Jeremiah Peter say a prayer. It was interesting to see how every type of person needs God in their lives.
One more drunk man story; we were leaving our apartment to go to a lesson, and before we could get to the car a man missionaries used to teach yelled "Oi, Brothah!" and marched over with a phone playing "Death and Destruction" by a band I never want to hear again. He bellowed a few lines of the song for us, and then said: "I know you can't listen to music, so I brought you some to listen to, because you can't stop me from listening to it next to you, right?"
We said: "Sure, Super Dave." Super Dave is his alias name when he is intoxicated. Then he showed us the intro to a Ramones song, and we really tried to leave, but then something unexpected happened. He talked about how he is going to become a Catholic and wants to stop drinking, but knows that "no one can ever change me!" We invited him to church to feel of the spirit, and counseled him, quoting President Monson that "Leopards may not be able to change their spots, but we are working with men. Men can change!" That was neat, but here is the best part: right before we left he said "We need to fight against Satan"
We agreed and I said "We are all part of God's army"
Then I stood right next to him, shoulder to shoulder and stood up at attention, like a soldier. His slumped form instantly straightened and dignified. We saluted and he said, "I feel like we are all brothers. Can I say a prayer with you"
We said "yes, please."
He draped his arms onto our shoulders and we bowed our heads while he pleaded with God for strength and deliverance.
Immediately following the word "Amen" he started twitching a little and got really scared. He told us that he felt tingly where any part of his body had been touching us. He came to church and cried because he really felt the Spirit. We are going to meet with him later to day and he wants to get baptized now. I'm telling you, missionary work is a blast!
My personal studies have been enlightening and I feel the fire of testimony burning inside of me as I read the scriptures. I know this is God's work and I am not sure some days how we do what we do. There is a fun phrase I really like that helps me be a better missionary: "Lovin' out loud is what it's all about" I love being a missionary and helping people overcome the influences of the world through my words, actions and testimony is what it's all about! Sorry this is so long this week! I know that through "Lovin' out loud" we will be happier and everybody wants that! Let's bring joy to the world.