Another crazy week!! Sorry for not writing yesterday, but we had transfers, and they moved me! Monday morning, I had to leave my beloved area of Guaymas, the area in which i was "born." Saying goody bye to everyone literally sucked so much. I will get to that in a bit. But anyway, they sent me out of Guaymas and separated me from Elder Bake :( I am now in a city called Agua Prieta with a new companion named Elder Alvarenga! He is from Paraguay and he seems like a super cool guy and I am stoked to be his compa. It seems that the Lord had Mercy on me because of all the zones in the Hermosillo mission, Agua Prieta is the coldest, if you can call it cold... But seriously, I woke up this morning and it was cloudy and when I walked outside it felt heavenly. Pumped for the change. Agua Prieta is literally right on the border. Like literally, I walk outside, look to the left, and I can see the line. The fence is just two blocks away from my house.... tempting...... :)
We had a really cool experience on Tuesday. In the morning, we were reading the scriptures, and Elder Bake read the scripture in Alma where it talks about how God exists. "Yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44). Elder Bake said to me, "I would really like to meet an Atheist today, so we can share this scripture." In my mission, I have met only one atheist, someone who said they do not believe that god exists, and it is very rare. This day, we stopped by a bus station to go to the bathroom, and while my companion was in there, I saw some people who looked like Americans. I said to them "buenos tardes" and they got awkward and didn't say anything, so i knew they weren't Mexicans. I started talking English with them and immediately recognized that their accent indicated that they were Australians. My first thought was omg I miss Matthew Shields and his beautiful voice. We got talking and Elder Bake came back and we started talking about the church and what we do as missionaries. Their responses made us ask them if they believed in God, to which they both replied, quickly, "No, we are Atheists." NO WAY. Literally of all the days this could happen, it happened that day. So we pulled out that scripture, read it to them, and bore our testimonies that Christ lives, there is a God, and there is more to this world that coincidence and Evolution. They were really nice people and I think they got a bit out of our conversation. It was awesome. I left that chat talking in my Australian accent, and missing my man Matty shields.
Leaving Guaymas was a really weird feeling. I was sad, but also very excited. I feel like this change is a new phase in the mission. I feel like I am starting all over again, only at a new starting point. I am really excited to see where things go from here!
PS, next week I will have an new address that you all can use while I am here in Agua Prieta. Its awesome because everything you may send will get here in like days or less!! One of the members here goes to the states, picks up the mail, and brings it here, so its super safe and nothing to worry about.
1. Juan, our little buddy that we have been visiting for a while got baptized! Ah it was soooooooo awesome. This is a kid that grew up in a family where is sister and mom were members, but haven't been going to church for too long. As we taught them and Juan, they started going back and letting God enter their lives again. At Juan's baptism, there was a little bit of confusion amongst the members and long story short there was like a short moment of panic, but I just remember looking at Juan and seeing the spark in his eyes and his smile from ear to ear, and I realized that throughout all of this, he wasn't paying any attention to any of it and was just so excited to be baptized. His smile and cheerfulness spread and lit up the room, and when we final performed the ordinance, I, like him, had a smile from ear to ear. This is what we work for and why we do missionary work, and when we finally get to see someone make this important decision in their lives, it is one of the most gratifying and happiest moments that can be experience. I LOVE IT.
2. We had one pretty cool miracle. We walking passed an auto shop, and we had talked briefly with the dudes that worked their before. This time, they stopped us and wanted to "chat". The guys pulls out the Book of Mormon that he had and was like "Hey, I read this whole thing!" We were like, oh gee wow that's awesome! And what did you think? So casually he just blurted out, "Pure lies! All of it!" We kind just stood their like, uh.... well that's unfortunate to hear my good Senor. It sort of sparked a conversation that got a little out of hand, and as we began to defend our testimonies and beliefs firmly, we realized that we weren't getting anything done talking to this guy, because all he wanted to do was bash what is so important to me. However, there was one woman that was walking by that heard us talking, and came over to sit down. As a took a glance over at her, I was about to continue talking with this man, when I caught a glimpse of this woman's eyes. She looked at me, with a pure and humble sparkle in her eyes, that caused me to put that other conversation on pause and think "Woah, who the heck are you, we need to talk." Her eyes seemed to scream at, begging me to come talk to her, as if she had been longing to hear what we had to say. We ditched our friendly mechanics, and walked this lady home. As we began to teach her, my companion and I both just felt so strongly to skip straight to a baptismal invitation, to which she accepted instantly, saying it was something that she has always wanted to do but just hasn't gotten the opportunity. BUT, maybe one of the best parts was when we invited her to say the closing prayer, I began to teach her how to start, first addressing our Father In Heaven, to which she said then continued without waiting for further instruction. She proceeded to ask god to Bless just about every single other person in her life, before asking him to bless her first. This whole time I am just in shock at how amazing she is doing, doing everything perfectly correct without even realizing it. As she finished in the name of Jesus Christ, my companion and I almost started laughing because of how perfect and beautiful it was. OMG I wish you guys could have been thereeeeee. It was absolutely incredible.
3. Another humbling experience. We taught the law of Tithings and Fast offerings to a women who lives in very poor circumstances. For one reason or another, we must not have just explained it super well because she got the idea that tithing consisted of paying 100% of you earnings, and not the correct 10%. She said to us "So your saying that I have to give all that I earn to God?" Without getting a chance to respond, she looked down humbly and said, "Ok, I´ll do it. I will give it all." As we explained to her that it was really just 10% and it was all about the act of faith, I couldn't help but feel extremely humbled to hear this lady, in her conditions, willing give up all that she has for God. It made me realize why God loves the humble, and those who are willing to give up all for him. Even though this lady barely had anything, and what she earns is barely enough, she was willing to give it ALL up because had faith that God would provide.
4. Life is just soooooooooooo Gooooooooooooooooooooooooood I had a last of tons of stuff I was going to write but I forgot it. HA.
5. Check out this video of the temple. Speaking of giving up things for the Lord, Look at what this family sacrificed in order to receive the sacred ordinances. This is one of my favorite messages to share that is unique to our church, and I invite all of you to check it out! I am also including it in Spanish because I think the dudes voice is epic.
The weeks are starting to go by so fast and it is starting to scare me... But some really cool things happened this week!
1. IT RAINED. It was about 8:50 and my companion and I were walking back to the house. There was a lightning storm that was going on but it wasn't raining or anything, just some cool thunder noises. Literally right as we got to the house, it started to just down pour. The heavens opened and it was like God was trying to flood the earth again. It was raining so hard, pounding down, and I absolutely loved it. Having not seen rain for a very long time, and coming from Rain City, I threw my backpack inside, and just sat outside and let the rain hit my face. I literally cant describe how happy I was, but I must have stayed out there for twenty minutes or so and just soaked in all the rain I could, literally and figuratively. We made a joke the next day that we were going to have a ton of success from that point on, because Hermosillo got baptized the night before!
2. We had an awesome day in church with Two special investigators. One of them is Juan, who is 11 years old, is from a family who are members, but haven't been to church for a while. We have been bringing them with us and they are starting to become active again, and Juan and his little brother are going to be baptized next week! Super excited for them. The other investigator that we have is named Javier. He is a 21 year old guy who's is ripped, and also speaks a little bit of English. He is a super nice guy that we have been teaching for about two weeks now, and he is also working on being baptized in just a few weeks. Keep these people in your prayers!
3. We had an activity in the church on Saturday for all the young kids in the primary called Dia en la mision! A ton of us missionaries were there, and we basically taught all the little kids what we do as missionaries, and how they can share the gospel with their friends as well! My favorite part was one we broke off into smaller groups, and Elder Bake and I had the kids right their testimonies of the church on a piece of paper. They then began to share their testimonies with us, and invite us to church. As these young kids looked me in the eyes and bore their personal testimony of the church and their knowledge that Christs lives, it made me happy to hear such beautiful words from such young souls. Their words were so pure and innocent and it made me feel the spirit. And then when they made me commit to come to church that Sunday, I knew that one day they would make great missionaries!
Hope all is well back home! Los amo a todos! Elder Bernal