Monday, March 28, 2011

So Many Investigators . . . So Little Time

Hey family and friends! We don't have electricity here in La Cienaga, so I'm writing really quick in case the electricity leaves on us again. We are doing great here! We had 21 investigators in church yesterday! That is the most me or Elder Clase have ever had in Church in our whole missions! Kenya and Kartel and Juana and Junior are doing great! The APs were able to get their birth certificates without problems too! They are doing so great! Now it's just the money we're waiting on but it sounds like President might be able to help us with that too! I guess there's a fund for marriages in the mission now! We are hoping to get both couples married and baptized soon! We are being blessed so much by The Lord! Yesterday after church, Maria, one of our last baptisms came up to us and just told us thank you several times for bringing her happiness in her life! What a privilege it is to be a representative of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! Even though they deserve all of the credit, they allow me to receive a thank you every once in a while. I love you all very much! Thank you so much for all that you do for me and the example that you have been to me in my life! And don't forget to keep walking! Keep your feet moving, and don't get discouraged, and don't be afraid. Jesus Christ has overcome the world and His Church is on the earth today! Love, Elder DeSpain P.S. Dad, that hammock is money! If it's been through that many trips and still going, that's one of the best hammocks I've seen, because it's held up under Elder Clase too for like four weeks, and he's a strong guy, more than 200 pounds I think. (The hammock Henry sent to Jeff is one that Henry made a few years ago to use on a Havasupai trip. He has taken it on several trips and he was telling Jeff in his letter this week how many places it has been - to the cabin multiple times, on several campouts, down West Clear Creek and twice now to Havasupai!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Two Baptisms This Week!

Hello to all!

This week went great! Not only did Fina follow through and get baptized, but Maria, the other lady who was scheduled to be baptized this coming Saturday, ended up getting interviewed and baptized with Fina on the same day!!! What a blessing from The Lord! We are being so blessed here in La Cienaga!

We are working with a lot of families, including Junior and Juana, and Kartel and Kenya, and they are doing fantastic! They all went to church last week! Junior and Juana still haven't saved any money up to get married, but it looks like their situation is really hard. I am in a very poor area. Some people here that we teach literally don't have two American dollars to their name. It is amazing to realize how blessed I was growing up. There are people here who don't eat until they find the money to buy the food, and that can last for a little while. They have houses of tin and electricity sometimes. They're good people though, and they've got hearts of gold. They'll always share with you what they have and they always think that they have to buy us a soda or something, really good people! They tell us not to give out money here, so I don't do that, but it makes me feel kind of bad. I try to think of it this way. I came here to help people find something better than money and material things so I just try to concentrate on that.

The Baptismal Service for Fina and Maria was a little bit rough, but luckily they don't know what a Baptismal Service should be like, so they don't really know what went wrong. When Maria got in the font, she was about to go swimming! Then, she dunked her head in the water, haha! We couldn't help but chuckle to ourselves. But The Lord knows that we're trying, so all is well!

Enrique is doing good, he went to Church with his wife, now we're really going to have to start helping him leave behind drinking and smoking. From what his neighbors have told us, he has already changed since he started learning about the Gospel. We haven't had a lot of opportunities to pass by lately because we've been working with so many people, but he is a good guy and we've got to start helping him leave those bad things behind for good!

Haha, ya, we have to wait to go into the office or each Thursday the mail comes in order for me to get the letters. But yes, I do get those letters from Todd, Leah, and Scott, thanks so much for writing me! (We asked Jeff how the pouch mail letters get to him because the siblings write to him using dearelder.com which gets sent to the DR through pouch mail. We wanted to make sure he is getting the letters that are being sent!)

The hammocks are sweet!!!! We set them up on our back porch area and we use them every day! (Picture on the blog!) I use the one from Grandma, and Elder Clase uses the one that Dad made (good job!), and it hasn't fallen once Dad! We actually tried to sleep in them about a week ago, but we just couldn't make it through the whole night, so we had to go in about midnight and sleep on the regular beds, haha. But wow, they are so awesome, we use them all of the time!

Sorry that I haven't sent more pictures. Both of the areas that I have been in I can't walk with my camera in my backpack. You can probably guess why as I've been robbed three times already - and two of those times were by the same two guys in a span of 5 minutes! But The Lord protects us! No need to worry!

Oh, and by the way, I haven't found another memory card. I think that I may only have one, I'll check again, and if I do, then I can send the one in the camera home. I sent a picture of our baptisms, the one with the lady in the yellow shirt is with Maria, and the other one is of Fina. (Picture on the blog.) The other is of me hanging out in my sweet hammock! Wow, we love those things!

Well, it has been a week full of blessings and a transfer full of blessings so far. I am so grateful for the Lord and how He has blessed me. I truly can testify that He lives and that He knows where we are at every point of our life. He has the power to reach down and pull each one of us out of our own Gethsemane's. I've learned more and more on my mission that His suffering in the Garden was a very personal thing. That it was almost like Jesus Christ took my name personally into the Garden of Gethsemane and suffered for me personally, that He took the cup upon Him that had the name of Jeff DeSpain on it, and He suffered for me. He also took your cup upon Him, whoever you may be, and He suffered for you, and He knows exactly how you feel, and how it feels to be you. I testify that He lives and that He can conquer whatever may be in our lives. I quote the lines of one of my favorite songs when I testify that He lives, to silence all my fears, He lives to wipe away my tears, He lives, and I shall conquer death, and He is the only one who can and has made it possible. Don't quit moving your feet! Keep with it, and the end of your trial will come, I know that living this Gospel is the only way to find lasting happiness and peace in life, it is the very reason we are here, and I know that it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Thank you so much for all that you do, and I am so grateful to have all of you be a part of my life. Thanks so much for all that you've done for me and keep up the good work!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, March 14, 2011

Families to Teach! Yeah!


Ya, Elder Clase is sweet! He only has one transfer left after this one before he goes home, so we're working together to keep our hope level up to do the work of the Lord and be a part of miracles!

Enrique is doing good, he's progressing, the thing still is his drinking and smoking. We have to get that taken care of, and it might take time, but we know that Jesus Christ can help him do it!

Wow, Kenya and Juana and their husbands are progressing amazingly! They've received answers to their prayers and are progressing so well! The only thing now is for them to get the money to get married. We put a goal with each of them for the end of April to get the money. It would be amazing if it didn't take that long to get the money, but we know that everything is in The Lord's Plan, so whatever happens is whatever should happen. What a privilege it is to work with some progressing families!

(We asked if Kenya and Juana were the two ladies who had been trying to visit the church for a while but never happened to walk by when it was open until a couple of Sundays ago.) The two ladies that walked into church a couple of weeks ago are actually some completely different people! We are being blessed with so many people to teach! They are named Fina and Maria. Maria went to church yesterday and has a baptismal date for the 26th, but Fina didn't, and her baptismal date is for this Saturday, so we went by there yesterday afternoon, and then she told us that she didn't want to get baptized anymore, and that she wasn't going to follow through with her plans. We asked her what was wrong, and then eventually one of her daughters told us that people had been telling them things about the Church. She talked to us about them, and they all weren't true! We asked her if she was going to get baptized a couple of times, but she still said no. We kept telling her about the truth and that these things weren't true, and then I had a great privilege. I got to testify to her that doubt doesn't come from Heavenly Father. To most people this probably isn't anything special or out of the ordinary, but for me, it was something very special, because I recognized that The Lord had been preparing me for this woman. I had struggled with the very thing that she was struggling with, and I had learned the lesson from the Gospel in my own life that I was now able to testify of to this lady. It really may not have been anything too big, but to me it is amazing as I look back to see how the Lord has prepared me to teach these people. How, many times without recognizing it, The Lord had taught me a lesson in my life, and it had prepared me to help one of His children who struggles with the same thing. So, I testified to her that these doubts weren't from Heavenly Father and that when she prays and feels good, to follow that feeling and don't give place to the doubts, and then, finally, at the end, I asked her another time if she would get baptized this Saturday, and she said yes! When President Salmon (our stake president) set me apart, he said that there would be days in my mission where I would look back and realize that what me and my companion did that day was superhuman or completely beyond our own abilities, and for the first time, I recognized a little superhuman miracle that I had been a part of in my mission. I know I can't really do anything, but it is neat to be a part of Heavenly Father doing His Work.

Wow, congratulations Kevin and Harmony! That is so awesome! And thanks for always setting such a good example for me!

Hey, how are my teams doing? How did ASU basketball do? And how do the D'Backs look this year? Aren't they playing in a new spring training stadium?

Thank you so much to all of you for all that you do for me and the example that you set for me. Through my study this week, I learned something. I learned that The blessings of the Lord will come, we just have to be persistent and patient. Sometimes it just feels like the blessings aren't coming, and we don't know why. It seems like we're doing everything like we are supposed to. The test is in the patience. If we wait, the blessings of peace, happiness and lasting joy will come, we just have to have faith, and keep walking! The Lord will always keep His promises to us, but in His own time. He knows what we need and what we need to learn, and I know that He will bless us if we keep going. He won't give us a trial too big!

I love you all so much!

Elder DeSpain

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wow! Great week in La Cienaga!

Saludos Familia y queridos amigos

Wow, what a week full of blessings from the Lord! Things are great, fantastic here in La Cienaga! Wow, we are doing so great! Elder Clase is the name of my companion, I was wrong last week. And he is Dominican, and his whole family is members from what I know. He was baptized when he was 8 I believe. He goes home after the transfer after this one, and he is learning English, so we try to speak it in the house. Wow, he is awesome, we get along so well and we are doing so great!

It's true! Elder McBride is my District Leader! And I saw him and Elder McGlothin today. And I ate lunch with Elder McGlothin! I never would have thought, just like Elder McBride said, all those years ago, that Elder Taylor McBride and I would be walking side by side through the streets of La Cienaga, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He came to my area this week to do an interview! It was awesome, wow, I thought that to myself while he was here with us. All four of us went, it was sweet!

Enrique is doing great, he's even starting to pay his tithing! Wow, we now have the privilege of teaching two families, the moms are sisters. One´s name is Juana, and she has a husband and family, and the other is Kenya, and she has a husband and her family. We were teaching Juana this week, and we taught her and her family the first lesson. Then, when we invited them to pray and ask if the message was true, Kenya told us that she had already prayed, and that she had already received an answer. She told us that she had actually seen Elder Clase in a dream or a vision of some sort, and I guess he told her that he was ready to teach her the Gospel! Wow, that was an amazing experience. She had her answer! Me and Elder Clase didn't even know what to say. We don't do a thing in this work, but wow, it sure is amazing to see the Lord do this work through us! I think we are going to have to try to get them married, and also get the husband to start progressing too, but I hope to be a part of their baptism, wow!!!!

We also had a baptism this week! We baptized a lady named Andrea, she is so cool, and such a good lady. She is 65, and now she's like a newborn. What an amazing thing the work of the Lord is, that someone who has lived a whole lifetime can still feel brand new through baptism. (Picture is on the blog!)

Keep up the great work back home, and never forget that you are NEVER alone. Jesus Christ walks every step, every second of every day with you. Like I said last week, just keep moving your feet, and you'll win. We may have struggles still, but we will win, because I know He has conquered the World!

Elder Jeff DeSpain