Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 14 Letter

Another week come and gone, eh? Time is an odd thing. It's bizarre to think that I am almost 2/3 done... Ridiculous.

Haha so my companion just told me that his mom reads my letters to learn more about our investigators, so HI SISTER HIRSCHI!! Haha I'm taking good care of your son, don't worry!

Geez. I started writing this about 2 hours ago, got caught up reading things online, and now really need to buckle down. I'm sorry if it's short now!

So, the most exciting part of the week, even if it has nothing to do with my area, was a baptism that the Spanish Elders in the ward had this Saturday. Angel and Amy Santiago have been a miracle-in-progress for some seven years, now. Amy worked with a member of a nearby ward who just a year or so ago moved to Utah. When they went to visit him back west last month, he took them to Temple Square and then to church. They haven't missed aSunday since, and are one of the most incredible couples I've ever met.

I was lucky enough to do their baptismal interview, and I don't think I've ever been more touched by any two testimonies than theirs. Amy could have been quoting from Doctrine and Covenants as she talked about how desperately she wanted the truth, but just had no idea where to find it. (She was in tears as I read her D&C 123:12.) She talked about how much she loved Sabbath Day observance, and how they'd already made a no-TV rule on Sundays. She told me about how much her relationship with Angel had grown, and how much the gospel had completed their family. She even talked about how excited she was to do missionary work with some of the less-active members of the ward! Haha obviously I can't share the whole baptismal interview, but it was just incredible!

Then in Angel's interview, he started talking about how God pretty straight-forwardly answered his prayers three times. The first was through a testimony of someone in Utah which reassured him that he should at least try the Church out for his family. The second was through another testimony, only this time in Buffalo, answering whether the Church was a place for Hispanics. The third was a quite miraculous occurrence confirming his baptismal date. Okay, that one is too cool not to share. He had been thinking a lot about whether to be baptized on October 12th. Eventually, as he was thinking about it, he felt prompted to go to the dog park. But, because of a whole series of odd occurrences, he ended up not leaving for about 20 minutes. That is important to remember. As he was driving, he prayed yet again, asking if Oct. 12th was his date. When he finished praying, he looked at the clock and it was10:10. He chuckled to me that he thought maybe Jesus would come down in two minutes or something, but just listened intently. He said 10:11 came and then, right as the clock turned to10:12, a truck drove by which license plate had a couple of letters, followed by 1012. That's pretty legit.

But, just like Amy pretty much quoted Doctrine and Covenants, Angel just about quoted Joseph Smith History 1:29, saying that he didn't think he would need any blatant answers to special prayers anymore because of what he had already received, but was relieved to know that he could get answers since he had already got answers before.

It was definitely one of the most spiritual baptisms I've been to, second probably only to Jimmy's. They are going to be HUGE for this ward. Most people here are graduate students who have no intention or at least no means of staying in Buffalo for more than 2-5 years. The next biggest chunk are old people who have lived in Buffalo for 65 years. So, it will be fantastic to have a permanent family here!

Then, the other exciting news of the week is that Stephen and his kids came to church yesterday! Unfortunately, his wife didn't, but we were thrilled to see him! It's really hard to gauge things with him sometimes because he thinks of himself as quite an intellectual. Not that he isn't smart, for he is unquestionably well-learned in world religion. It is just really tough sometimes because you'll ask him how he liked it, intending somewhat of a spiritual answer, and he'll answer with something along the lines of "It was good, but I knew it all already." Haha it would irritate me more if he didn't seem more intently focused the whole time, so I think it's more just his personality. He was contributing during Sunday school and everything, though, which was great! And really, kids are the best fellowshippers. Adults see someone they don't know with the missionaries and have no idea how to befriend them. Kids run around with the new kid and play tag in the gym. Haha that might be the most exciting part about Stephen coming is that he came WITH his kids. They'll keep him coming for sure!

Hahaha but I seriously believe I should have been called to an Asian mission. They are my favorite people God's ever made. Haha that might be over the top, but they are great. We went over to Jerry and Andrea's this week, and I don't think I've left laughed so hard in months. We first watched President Monson's talk and discussed it for a while. We meant to use that to get into the plan of salvation, but that deviated as soon as one of their roommates got there. Instead, we sat for 15 minutes going over tongue twisters with them. I don't think most college kids do tongue twisters with their friends... but they love it. The funniest is that apparently "g" is a pretty hard sound for them to say, so "thin things" really throws them for a loop. Haha so funny.

They are both definitely progressing, though. Jerry is becoming a prayer-master. Not too bad for someone who never prayed until a week or so ago. Andrea is tougher to judge her progress. She believes in a "divine" overseeing things, but can't really put a name to it, like God. Praying, she says, has important purpose, but she really can't tell if she is talking to someone or talking to her inner self. It is an interesting thing to try to help her through.

Well... I'm going to go play hockey now.

I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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