August 19, 2014
This week was a week of MIRACLES! Our biggest miracle was the baptism of José Antonio, a 17 year old young man from El Salvador. Their family had moved into the neighborhood a month ago. Since pretty much everyone in our area of Zarahemla are members, it was pretty special to have a new family of non-members. We started teaching them but it quickly became apparent that the mom and step dad only wanted to contend.
We stopped teaching them but then we had our first miracle. A few weeks later, the son, José, showed up to church. He had become very close to many of the members and they had even provided him with pants, a white shirt, and a tie so that he could come to church looking like a member. The next Wednesday we started teaching just him in the house of a member. It was great to be able to help him change.
He was someone who really needed the gospel of Jesus Christ. His town in El Salvador was filled with violence and it was clear that he had been involved in some bad things as well. He never went to church and was completely unable to pray (even with us helping him, the words just seemed to get stuck in his mouth). However, it was a great blessing to be able to see his transformation, to see how he felt the Spirit for perhaps the first time in his life, how he began to read the book of Mormon and began to experience the joy of repenting. Hearing José pray now is one of my favorite parts of my entire mission. He does is so sincerely.
Anyway, José wanted to get baptized but when he asked his mom for permission she said no. We went and talked with her and still, she said he couldn't do it until he turned 18. Members tried and still nothing... However, we kept up our faith. We taught him about faith and helped him increase his as well.
Sure enough, the Friday morning before his baptism the miracle happened. Inexplicably, his mom showed up at the house of the member in whose home we had been teaching José and said that he could have her permission. A few minutes later we were calling the zone leaders to get them to make the trip down from Sololá that day to give him a baptismal interview. The length of his interview (1.5 hours) made it clear just how important repentance was to him and just how much he needed to be baptized and be washed clean of all his sins. Both he and his mom were crying during the baptismal service (which was one of the best that I have ever had on my mission).
Another miracle was how much support we had from the members. President Brough said that the most important thing we could do in this area was gain the confidence of members. It is only through them that we can have any success since the people here can be rather... difficult. However, that is a challenge since the members here are rather closed as well. However, we had amazing attendance at the baptismal service. it really was a great blessing to be able to see all of those families whose confidence and love we'd been able to win sitting there in the baptismal service after church instead of going home to eat lunch. I feel like it was a nice little sign from Heavenly Father that, yes, I have made a difference during my time here.
In the district the hermanas are also having a bunch of miracles. This Sunday every companionship had miracles in their retention and with their investigators. We're all excited because at no time in months have so many good things been happening in our areas.
Yesterday we got the notice that Elder Gonzalez and I will stay together another change. I'm happy because I can't wait to see what miracles are yet in store for us. In all, I'll be spending at least 6 months, a quarter of my mission, here in Patzicia. Oh, and I'm also happy because in September the corn will be ripe and we'll be eating a ridiculous amount of grilled corn with salt and lime juice.
Love, Elder Cannon