Saturday, April 2, 2016

March 29 - The Lord's Elect

Hey all!!

Well, I won’t have quite intense of an email as last week, because well that may have been a once in a while experience! But the crowning event of this last week was our baptism of Tamara and Rubi this last Saturday!

These hermanas we found after about a month of me being here in Churubusco. We were at that time teaching another family who we had contacted (surprisingly the same day as America, who was baptized last week) and they were doing alright but not super well, and one day they gave us a reference about some people that really needed God, at least that is what they told us. Haha they said they were people who’d probably never accept us, but that we might as well give it a shot. The names of these people were Tamara and Rubi!

Teaching these two hermanas strengthened my testimony so much in the fact that this is truly the Lords work. First of all, they just showed me again that these things that I share every day are true, and that God wants as many people to accept these things as possible, so He is out here preparing the hearts of these people to receive the message of the gospel, and if we let Him, through our faith, obedience and diligence, He will guide us right to them!

We went to contact Tamara and Rubi one night when actually we were having a pretty tough day, and based on what the family had told us we didn’t have a lot of faith that they were going to go anywhere with the gospel. So, when our other plans fell through, we just decided to go see Tamara and Rubi. Tamara came out, and just simply asked us, ´´Can you teach me about the Bible? ´´ Taken aback we told her “sure thing, we can do that!”

We later found out that just hours before a close family friend had passed away and that for one of the first times in her life Tamara had been praying asking to find God. The next 5 weeks were the fastest Elder Penrod and I have ever seen someone become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. At one moment, Tamara said, ´´6 months ago, I wouldn’t have cared one bit to learn about God, now I can’t live without these things that I have learned. That’s just because God hadn’t gotten me ready yet. ´´

Tamara always loved every lesson, even some of the deeper stuff like Repentance or certain commandments and things like that she would just be in tears and say ´´how wonderful it is that God loves us enough to give us this, thank you Elders for coming to share this with me. ´´

Rubi her 15-year-old daughter is 4 years away from being the best missionary the world has ever seen! She never once didn’t read a chapter or something that we had left with her, and she was her mom’s babysitter pretty much haha always reminding her, ´´Mom, we don’t drink coffee anymore´´ or ´´it’s time to pray Mom! ´´ Haha she is super quiet but truly loves Christ and the gospel. Their dad, who doesn’t live with them, was visiting them the week before their baptism and was startled that they were going to be baptized, he asked Rubi, ´´So you are going to be a Mormon, ´´ and she responded, ´´Sure thing Dad, ´´ he said, ´´well did you know that they are going to ask you to pay a tithe on everything you earn?´´ and that wonderful girl said, ´´Of course I do, but for all that I have received that is nothing to pay. Plus, it’s not them who are asking it of me but God, and actually he asks you for it too, but you just don’t obey Him. ´´ She is so awesome!! Her testimony astounds me. These sisters were prepared by the Lord and are truly his elect. Our calling isn’t to come out here and try to convince people or prepare them, we are here to collect the elect, we have been called to the harvest. Teaching Tamara and Rubi changed that for me forever.

So the baptismal service was a huge success. Rubi asked Elder Penrod to baptize her and Tamara asked me!! The first time I have been able to be in white together with my comp! We planned a big surprise for the hermanas. A couple of weeks ago in church we sang, ´´Onward, Christian Soldiers´´ and Tamara commented to me how it was a super beautiful song. So, we pulled together about half the elders from the zone and we surprised her by singing it acapella right before we went down to the font. Rubi and Tamara were just both in absolute tears. Tamara said in her testimony afterwards, ´´I want to thank the Elders for that beautiful song, but even more my thanks goes to God. I have never felt that loved by my Heavenly Father in my life. ´´ These are going to be two very strong members of the church, and I can’t wait to see what things the Lord has planned for them.

Just to finish up on a different note, we had a zone training this last week. Elder Penrod and I were stumped on what to teach the zone (see included pic on what happens to our desk when we have to plan a training...) We wanted to teach something inspirational that would change not just the work, but change the missionaries. I remembered a district meeting that I had given while I was in Topilejo helping the missionaries to remember why they decided to serve a mission. We decided to copy that idea, and to help the missionaries think about what type of missionaries they wanted to be, where they are, and how they can change to be those missionaries. We based it on Alma 4 and we talked a lot about Christ like attributes and how we can develop those, I learned so much, and I just hope the missionaries did as well.

I hope that everyone has a chance to listen to the living Apostles and Prophet of Jesus Christ this weekend in general conference, I am so excited to be inspired and learn what the Lord needs me to learn.

My love to all,

Elder Stout

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