Well Family, another month has passed by of my missionary life, and it was a great one. One that I will remember FOR-EV-ERRRR. So let me tell you about it:)
First, I hit my 16 month mark the other day. Made me really feel old, and kinda go through a quick panic of reality. 16 months is not a lot of time at all, and I only got a summer and autumn left. That's like 3 more areas.... wow.
Second, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA HATCH!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, I AM SO LUCKY TO BE YOUR GRANDSON AND A HATCH:) Proud or confident to be a Hatch? Proud haha. I love you Grandma! I am so grateful for everything you have done to raise a family the right way, you have blessed my life so much. Thank you for raising a son and helping him become the way he is now, because he is my hero and the best dad ever. The best dad ever could only come from an amazing Grandma, so thank you! God will bless you for everything you have done:)
Third, My backpack has not been found, I am pretty sure its long gone. Sad, very sad. Probably the saddest because I had so many memories in it, but I guess it taught me a good lesson that I would like to share with you all. There are things that are important, and things that are not important. Seek to do the things that are important in your life and make those memories that are important. I don't care about my camera, or anything else that was in that backpack, but I do care about the pictures and memories that I have with so many new friends and family.
So, D & C 82:10, I the Lord am bound when you do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promises. Something like that right? Well, for the last while I have been putting that to the test and trying hard to learn that lesson. Obedience, like I talked about last week. This week, I tested this principle, and it worked:):):) I learned a lesson that I will not forget, I cannot forget, because I saw miracles that I cannot forget. The Romanian family that I have been teaching for a while now, was baptized, when I decided I wanted to be worthy through my STRICT obedience, he showed me his power. This week I did everything to be obedient, and with exactness, and the Lord did miracles! The Three of them, E, P, and V, were baptized on the 8th of March, 2012, and I had the privilege in baptizing E and P:):):) What an experience! I have been battling for them for so long now, and the moment that I decide to be completely obedient, they get baptized. I never imagined it would be like that, but I learned my lesson. Now, I just want to keep up on this obedience, and learn to always have this spiritual high. President Torgan told me that I would become an incredible tool in the Lords hands if I would combine my love for people, with strict obedience to the rules..... so I guess I got my standard to live by for the rest of my mission and the rest of my life. One things that I noticed as well as that at the end of my pat. blessing, it mentions that all these blessings will be obtained through obedience and diligence. I got a lot to learn.
So that was the first time that I have ever baptized a family on the same day, it was great!!! It was also the first time that I have baptized 3 people on the same day, which was also great. The Lord really did prove himself to me with this great law of obedience. I learned a lesson that I will try hard to be true to for the rest of my life. What a great blessing this mission is! The Lord is truly making my weakness into my strength. Then I will see the person, the servant, I can be for the Lord, for the rest of my life. Ya know, ever since the mission I have just wanted to serve the Lord for the rest of my life, do things out of the ordinary for him and his work. I hope I can live up to that one day.
Yesterday we had a meeting in Faro, with all of the Branch Presidents from the Algarve and all of the missionaries in the Algarve. The District President reminded us on exactly we are doing. We are Pioneers for the Algarve. We are building the Kingdom of God literally from some of its first steps. We are finding the people that the Lord will use to lead here. We are the building blocks for this area. We were called here for a reason. The Lord depends on US to be here, no one else. He called me, to make a difference.
So one thing that me and my companion prayed about and felt strong about, it a retention program to have a smooth handoff between the missionaries and the members with our recent converts. Because the fact is, we are baptizing here, and we will continue to baptize baptize, baptize, but we want to make sure that these people stay strong and build of Zion here. So I presented a quick plan for the Algarve and its Presidents. It's called 3 weeks of Retention, a plan in which the missionaries will do visits with members 3 times the first week (with the Presidency in which they will attend, Home teachers, and Padrinhos), the second week we will visit two times with the members, and the 3 week the members will tell us if they need any help. It's pretty much a program that will help the Church grow and stay big with retention, instead of just stay on a rollercoaster of growth patterns. So this week me and my comp will present it well to the entire Algarve and they will start to put it into practice. We are excited to see what happens, and to make a difference here in the Algarve.
In Portimão alone we have had 21 baptisms since August, so we gotta help these people keep strong.
I love you all! Every single one of you who read this letter, I love with all my heart.