Monday, June 21, 2010
Incredible week in Vaxjo!!
This is the newly baptized Sister Cortez, and one very happy to be in white Aldste Kundis!
This is the Branch meeting house in Vaxjo. Cute, isn't it?
Wow, okay, so things are going wonderfully! As you can probably tell, the baptism on Saturday went through and now Sandra is officially Sister Sandra Dalila Torres Cortez! haha I know, awesome name right? Thank you soooooooo much for all your prayers! It was amazing. Simply stated. Amazing. I was sooooo nervous, and excited, and a whole bunch of other things, but my prayers were answered and everything went great! All of the seats in the chapel here were filled, and the Spirit was in all of us. Right before the baptism started, Sandra and I were sitting on the front row and I leaned over and asked her how she was feeling (in Swedish). She replied, "nervous" (in English). hahaha It was funny, but I assured her that she was definitely not the only one. The time came for the baptism part and we took some pictures and everyone headed down to the font. After everyone had gone down Äldste Barlow and I quickly went over the baptismal prayer one more time, and I said a quick prayer. When I went down stairs she was standing by the font with all of the other people surrounding it. My nerves shot through the roof! I honestly can not think of many other times when I was THAT nervous. Anyway, I went down into the font, and invited her to come in. I took her wrist, like Äldste Barlow and I practiced lol, and started the prayer. I got through it but I missed one word... lol "namn" or "name" which you probably know. haha So I started over and got it right. When she came up out of the water she had a huge smile on her face. I got pretty emotional. She gave me a quick hug... lol. And told me thank you. It was amazing. The Spirit was just intense! I loved every second of it! For a brief moment, there in that font, in the basement of the chapel in Växjö, Sweden I felt a celestial surge of pure joy. A perfect sense of my purpose as a missionary. I am truly grateful for what I felt. So the rest of the baptism went wonderfully. Afterwards, we had cake and brownies and sparkling cider lol, none of which I ate. One, because I am trying to eat better, and two because I was just plain full of the Spirit. Seriously though, lol it was cool. Okay, so the members love Sandra. Her sister is a member, and they are both super strong in the gospel! :) They will be amazing members of the branch and will continue to strengthen it long after I am gone. So yes, I hope you got the pictures I forwarded to you.. If not, let me know so I can figure something out. Okay, so another exciting thing that happened was Zone Conference! It was nice to see President and Sister Anderson again. I really miss them, and love it when I get the opportunity to see them. Plus, I finally got to meet the whole zone! Let me tell you, Malmö Zone is on fire! We have a great fire in us, and we are expecting great things to come from that. I truly felt the Spirit there, and plus they unveiled the mission song! It is entitled, "Framgång genom Lydnad" which means, "Success through Obedience" haha, that is the mission motto, and when you sing it in Swedish the music and lyrics are just incredible! Especially when you have a big group of Elders singing it! :) So that was fun. Lets see, what else to mention about this week.... umm.. I have had tons of people talk to me about the World Cup. haha they think it is crazy that we can't watch it. Apparently the US is doing fairly well? Sorry, its hard to understand them in Swedish still. lol :) Oh, yeah the rain has been continuing. We have it off and on. But when it does rain, normally it pours all day long. Not always, but most of the time. haha Its kinda annoying sometimes, but mostly I like the rain. Okay, to the e-mails fast. Daddy! I love you! You are the bestest! I loved that scripture in Matthew. Very uplifting! :) Thanks for your words on the power of testimony. It is soooo true! A testimony is the ultimate tool! Well, along with lots of other things haha but yes! Crazy effective, and most importantly strengthening! I love you dad, every time you e-mail I know that you are taking care of things and working hard! You are a wonderful man, and an inspiration to all of your boys! Love ya! Mommy! Woooo!! Yay! Thanks for taking care of all this stuff! haha Please focus on the reception and flowers and such. I want you to be relaxed and enjoy what is happening around you! Hey, do me a favor... On the next super sunny day take a day off. Go lay out in the sun and just love the weather and the simple joys of life! We all need those days! Okay, so you asked what I was up to this P-Day. We were invited by our zone leaders down in Malmö to come down for a sports day! Woo! And the weather is gorgeous! So after we are done here we will be jumping on a train and headed south. It will be a fun time to be with most of the zone again! OH!!!! Wow, crazy of me to forget this! It is Midsommar this week! The actual day is on Saturday, but I guess they celebrate it on Friday! So, it is a non-proselyting day and we are heading somewhere to celebrate with some other Elders. We are thinking either Malmö or Helsingborg, but we are not sure. We will talk with everyone today to see. I am excited to see what it all entails!!! It will be a good time! So I will be sure and let you all know how that goes. Yeah!!!! The sun is just crazy here! When I go to be at 10:30 lol, the sun is still very much out, and it is super bright at 6:30 when I wake up! I woke up just last night at like 4 AM and it was light outside! Its just crazy cool! Don't worry mom, we have blinds to keep out the sun, and we are so tired anyway there is no way that the sun would keep us up! ha! Yes mommy, I am warm enough at night. haha I am so very blessed to have a mother that cares oh so much for he sons! Alright, so lets end this all on a bit of a spiritual note! Okay so something I have been starting to realize. You know those times when you feel the Spirit and you seem as though you are on top of the world? Well I too notice those, but something interesting has been happening. I have been more and more realizing those moments when there are things that drive away the Spirit. It seems to me, that on my mission I am constantly being led and guided by the Spirit, and am feeling it everyday. Sure, I have those moments of added Spiritual power such as an incredible teach, or bearing my testimony, or what I felt at Sandra's Baptism, just to name a few. But, I can more clearly distinguish between things that are constantly inviting the Spirit and those things that drive it away. I run as fast as I can from those things that drive away the Spirit. Like I was saying to Matt in the last e-mail, life is so much better when you can constantly feel the Spirit. I have a huge testimony of this! It is so true! If we look for a moment at characters in the Book of Mormon. Ammon, Nephi, Alma!!! They all had the Spirit with them.. In huge ways! They had so much power spreading the Gospel of truth, and were not afraid of anything! These examples have been huge in my life. I love the Book of Mormon! It is so great! So, I love you all! Another week gone by, and many many more to come! Full of trials, growth, failure and success! I look forward to today, tomorrow and the many experiences that are still yet to come. These truly will be, MY best two years!
Faithful and Steady, I AM Ready.....