It was been such a spiritually exhausting week, but I AM HAPPY. I can´t even put to words some of the experiences that I have had this week. It was a week of ups and downs and a week of uncertainty. Throughout my time as a missionary, I don´t think I have ever felt so much spiritual exhaustion, miracles, and happiness at the same time. Let me tell you a little how it went down.
The Vasquez Family was preparing to get baptized this weekend. They had their baptismal interviews and they were super excited! Something came up however and the question became real to see if Ariel was actually ready to get baptized. At first we felt that maybe he wasn´t, so we told him that and he got extremely discouraged from the set back. He had been striving and giving everything to be prepared to get baptized with his family and to hear that hurt him a lot. Going home that night, I was absolutely devastated. I remember all of my set backs with my foot. I would have a goal, I would give everything to reach that goal and come back and play, and then I´d realize that I wasn´t ready. It hurt me badly. I often found myself doubting myself and asking myself if I could keep moving forward. I usually had thoughts of giving up. These painful memories came back and I felt them for Ariel- but this time they were much spiritually deeper. Some tears did fall down that night and I was in a lot of pain for him and his family. Not only was Ariel discouraged, but his wife and his daughters felt the same way. They started doubting if they could do it. I started doubting our decision, maybe Ariel IS ready... maybe we´re wrong. I struggled a lot with these thoughts but I also felt like Alma when he feared to do what was wrong in the sight of God. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. We prayed, we pondered, we thought it out. No matter what we were doing, these thoughts could not leave my mind. What were we going to do?
The next day we talked to President Cifuentes and he explained to us a lot about the repentance process. He told us that Ariel could still be ready but that he needed to understand a few things. Along with being ready or not, Ariel and his family had a desire to follow Jesus Christ and change. They had changed so much at this point and becoming better everyday. We visited the Vasquez Family that evening with some hopes of finding the answer, but the visit was very uncomfortable. They were discouraged and Satan was doing everything he could do to ruin the spirits of this family. I was starting to get a little discouraged for Ariel. He was having thoughts like I had when I experienced set backs. Maybe I should quit. Maybe it isn´t worth it. Maybe I can´t do this anymore. Satan just couldn´t work on him like he worked on me, I wouldn´t allow it. We got back from the appointment and we started a fast. This fast turned out to be one of the most miraculous fasts that I had ever experienced.
That night I talked to President and I told him how I didn´t know what to do and I was scared to do what was wrong. He told me, "don´t worry, you will know, you will know." Those words stuck with me and will stick with me forever. We visited the Vasquez family on Saturday morning- the day of their scheduled baptism. I had woken up a little earlier to read the Book of Mormon and I read a story that was pure inspiration for Ariel Vasquez. When we got there, Ariel had no desire to get baptized. But let me tell you how the Spirit works- it touches the hearts of the children of men and it works miracles. After sharing the Book of Mormon story, Elder Paleka bore a powerful testimony that brought tears to each one us (including each one of the daughters). In that moment I had no doubt. Just like President said, "I knew". They were ready. And the confirmation to my heart that that was the right decision was powerful and distinct. They were truly ready.
It was an unbelievable baptismal service. We had to fill up the baptismal font with buckets from the neighbors water because there wasn´t water pressure in the Church. The water was dirty, cold, and there was very little of it. But the excitement and the Spirit that was felt touched my life forever. Two families got baptized- The Vasquez Family and the Villagrán Family. There was a total of 8 baptisms and 16 people dressed in white. We sang "Be Still, My Soul" and Sis. Cifuentes played the violin. It was an incredible night and my joy was full.
On Sunday was my birthday and probably the happiest birthday that I´ve had in my life. Watching each of the Vasquez´ walk down the aisle and sit down to receive the Holy Ghost was a treat to me. Each of them (especially the daughters) had smiles from ear to ear and the Spirit was great. I gave a talk on the Atonement and it pretty much summed up my entire week. I am a literal testimony this week of feeling the strength of the Atonement. What an experience.
At night, President and Sister Cifuentes invited me over and surprised me with a birthday cake. I´ll send you a video that they took. Thanks for everything and especially the prayers. I truly feel your love.
Love, Elder Bosco II
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