Monday, September 29, 2014

Week of Sept. 22nd - Texas A & M, prisons and A BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!! -

Hey hey hey!
 How is everything going over yonder in Utah?
What an amazing and beautiful week this has been!
Let's start at the beginning of the week. So like I told you I got to go on exchanges to Texas A&M this week! It is such a beautiful school/campus! We spent some time up at the institute there and we also went onto campus and contacted people. A lot of people are running to and from class so they don't have a lot of time to talk, but we set up 4 appointments for later on in the week, so that was good! A&M has a ton of traditions too. Everyone there says Howdy. No one says hi, or hello, it's just Howdy! How are y'all doin' today? It's weird to not say howdy, so that took me a second to get used to. I was also on bikes for the first time in my mission! That made me happy even though it was hot and I was sweaty. The football stadium is huge, and there are a tooooon of people to talk to. It's insane! So wonderful! That was a really fun experience to have. After exchanges I got back in time to participate in our LDSSA talent show. Wanna know what I did? I sung the alphabet backwards in like 5 or 6 seconds or something like that. Did you even know I could do that? What a strange talent to put on display. But, hey I'm weird and there ain't a thing you can do about it! haha it was a good day!
This week we have been doing a whole lot of planning and following up with people, because if we're contacting a bunch of people up on campus there is no point in doing so without following up with them. We made 2 display boards to take up on campus for general conference that turned out really well! I will send home pictures of it next week! We have on one board "If there were a prophet today, would you listen to him?" and then on the other one it's like a big reveal that says, "There is a prophet today, come and listen to him!" It's going to be awesome, and I hope that a lot of people have the desire to come and listen to general conference. I love being here and working with such great people. There truly is no other experience like Huntsville, Texas. It's the best place ever. 
We have had so many miracles this week as far as the Spanish work goes! And today we had two back to back! Everyone take notes on this story. Today we had an older couple from the English ward invite us over for lunch--he told us to bring 4 Book of Mormons in Spanish, we had no idea why, but we did as he asked! We got to their home and find out that he has people working on his home that he has invited to come in and eat with us--all four of them speaking Spanish. What amazing member missionary work!!! Ahh I was so happy! Neither of the members speak Spanish, but they saw the opportunity to do missionary work and they didn't hesitate! I was seriously so proud of them and so grateful that they did that! I was blown away! It was really sweet too, one of the men that was working for them said how grateful they were to be invited in to eat. He said we've been doing this for 20 years and no one has ever invited us into their home to eat with them. I know it was a touching moment for them too and we were able to give all four of them a Book of Mormon and invited them to come to church and the English classes we will be having. So, we are looking forward to working with them again! Then as we pulled away we checked our phone and there was a voice mail asking to call back. So we called this lady back to find out that she has an awesome referral for us! She had met a woman who had just moved here from Colombia that is very lonely, and she got her information for us to go by and visit her! So awesome! I was just overwhelmed by the small, but amazing miracles we had. So beautiful to be working on the Lord's side. Then after lunch today we went to the Texas Prison Museum! It was awesome. Remember how I told you there are like 9 prisons here in Huntsville? Well they have a museum for it! Did you know they had prison rodeos? Only in Texas...haha They have a bunch of things that inmates have made in prison--like jewelry boxes and a pirate ship made out of matchsticks, guns, shoes with compartments to hide things in, a chess board made out of soap, etc. It was actually really interesting. Oh, the things that we get to do in Huntsville. It's the best.
Who knew there was such a thing?!
And...the moment you have all been waiting for...Matt's baptism!!!!
What an amazing day it was!! Hermana Fletcher was able to come back too! (she was visiting her brother in Waco, Texas and was able to drive down for his baptism!) Matt's parent's also came, and the Spirit was so strong. His mom was especially touched, and even wants to come back for General Conference! On Saturday morning we sent him a text saying Today is the big day! How are you feeling? This is what he said back, "I'm feeling amazing, so comforted, and at peace really. I'm not really nervous at all, just anxious in a good way haha. I feel really blessed and lucky in a sense. Like why was I given this knowledge when everyone else in my family had never received it. It makes me very hopeful and thankful. I know I've been prepared for this moment, I've gone down so many other roads and this one is the only right one I've been on. I feel a lot of support, everyone's so excited for me and it's evident every time I see them. Y'all seem like y'all are always bursting with excitement when you see me, Elder Alvarenga keeps coming up and hugging me everytime he sees me, Sister LeBaron the past few days has been telling me exactly how many hours till my baptism are left, Elder LeBaron keeps telling me how happy he is, Krystin keeps asking me how I'm doing and encouraging me, the councilmen stayed at the YSA talent show to meet me and give me encouragement. It's overwhelming and I've never felt so at home in my life. Everyone else's excitement for me is just another testimony to how real this is, and it's awesome to see and feel it." Is that not amazing? He has such a strong testimony and it is such an inspiration to us all to see him do what he knows to be right. He is truly the most prepared person I have ever worked with on my mission--he has such a strong desire to learn, and he is so willing to change to conform with God's will. It has been such an amazing experience to see him get to this point, and I know that he has so much ahead for him! The baptism truly was as perfect as it could have been. He had asked me to speak on the Holy Ghost, so I felt so privileged to be able to do that, and I learned so much as I prepared for it. Watching someone enter into the waters of baptism truly is one of the most humbling experiences as you realize all that they have done to be able to do so. I was so full of joy and the Spirit overcame me. There is no better feeling than to know that the gospel has changed someone's life, that someone has come closer to the Savior. After the baptism he sent us another message, "So that was the greatest haha" Words really can't describe how great it truly was! I am convinced that there is nothing better in the entire world than being a missionary and being so closely tied to others' experiences and learning for yourself along the way. Sometimes I feel like I'm cheating because I'm getting so much out of this experience when I'm trying to give it all to others. Even though I'm trying to be the one giving, I feel like I'm the one receiving. But, I guess that's kind of what the gospel is all about. As we give up something good, the Lord always blesses us with something greater. It's just a matter of trusting Him and having faith in His promises. And as we do so, we will always be able to look back and say for ourselves, "So that was the greatest."

Con muchisisisisisimo amor,
Hermana Hoj

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