This was one of the best weeks of my mission. Elder Vargas and I had the privilege to baptize some of our investigators... but I'd like to tell you about Carmen.
First off we have Sister Carmen. We got to this area and didn't know anything or anyone. We we went to church and didn't think that there were any investigator in church the first Sunday. We found the teaching record of Carmen and went to her house the next week. We talked to her and she told us that she saw us in church Sunday. Carmen was introduced to the church a while ago and went to a different ward for a while but couldn't be baptized because she wasn't married with her boyfriend and they lived together.
Years later a sister from our ward invited her to church here in Prados Verdes. She went and loved it - this was like in November 2014. Ever since then she has gone to church but never has accepted a baptismal date because she felt as if she need to know a lot more before being baptized. She had a great excuse that a member told her that he didn't get baptized until after about a year of investigating the church so she felt like she didn't need to rush.
Teaching her was very hard because she talked A LOT and always shared the same old sad stories of her life and always changed the subject when we talked about baptism or when we invited her to quit smoking. She also never liked praying in front of us and sometimes she would literally yell at us telling us that if we didn't want to pray for her we could just leave! It was tough... and we didn't see much progress... even though she was going to church every Sunday.
One day we went to her house and talked to her very directly about how we are here to help people make covenants with the Lord and that we weren't going to waste our time with her unless she progressed and accepted a baptismal date. We were ready to drop her but, to our surprise, she chose her own baptismal date. (March 21st) and said that she would do her part to be baptized that day. Carmen started completing her assignments, started praying out loud with us, and always reminded us of the day she was going to get baptized. Well it got to the week of her baptism and she was excited, we inquired about her problem with smoking and she told us that she smoked Wednesday. We told her that she needed to stop smoking completely if she were to be baptized... and put the baptismal date for the 28th of March.
We saw her Tuesday and told us that she hadn't smoked since the Wednesday of the week before and that she was prepared to be baptized this Saturday :) We prepared her for her interview and she told us that she was ready. After being in her interview for like an hour and 20 minutes (Did I mention that Carmen talks a lot? ;) ) Carmen finished and almost yelling at me saying, "He didn't ask me anything that you told me he was going to ask me!" The Elder said that she passed her interview and was ready for her baptism. Carmen was baptized this last Saturday and confirmed yesterday. Carmen chose me to baptize her.
Pedro Cruz was super ready for his baptism as well and looked so happy when he was baptized. Daniel also was baptized and he really just looks changed and is now preparing to be sealed in the temple with his wife Tere the next year.
The church is true! I love my mission and am excited to be here. I am tired but love the work here :) This month was really just awesome. I enjoyed every moment of it (and the moments that I didn't enjoy, I acted as if I did ;) ) We achieved our baptismal goal this month with 5 baptisms. I have never ever achieved with my baptismal goal in the month and it was just awesome being able to do it but even more awesome that I was able to participate in the conversion of these children of God.
I love you all... keep staying strong. I will see you all soon... weird right?