Monday, May 25, 2015

Edgars Baptism and the Power of the Book of Mormon

Dearest Family,

Well I have to say, the news that I received in mom´s letter was certainly not was I was expecting. I remember very clearly the last day I saw Grandpa when we left the family Reunion of 2013, giving him one last hug and not having certainty whatsoever if I´d have the chance to hug him again after I came home. I remember that it wasn´t until after saying goodbye to him that I started crying a bit as well, as I did just right now while reading the email mom sent. I´m so grateful that his exit was peaceful, calm, and with his loved ones around him singing his favorite songs. I can´t think of any better way for his passing to happen. I know he´s in a better place now, and that he´ll always be my grandpa. I´m also happy to know that Justin has grandpa´s sweet presence with him as we anxiously wait for the coming of our Savior here on Earth.

I´m also very happy to say that this week went VERY well for Elder Neuman and I. We had many miracles, both spiritual and physical. Edgar had the priveledge to be baptized, and his service was very special. His baptism is a perfect example of how important it is for us as members of the church to sacrifice a little so that others can enjoy the blessings of the restored gospel. Ever since Edgar´s adopted siblings Juliana, Geovanna, and Jean moved to our area almost two years ago, the bishop has given them a ride to church every sunday. Keep in mind that this family lives very far away, probably about 25 to 30 minuts from the bishops house by car, and another 20 minutes to the church building. By doing this weekly act of service, these kids have been able to be a better influence to their parents than their parents have been for them, and in doing so, has given Edgar the chance to come to church weekly for the past 3 months. I hope that I´ll have many opportunities like that after my mission to help others enjoy the many blessings of this church.

We had a very interesting, slightly freightening, but nonetheless interesting experience on saturday. As we were walking to the church at about 7 at night to get some materials for Edgar´s baptism, we we walking on the sidewalk of a busy, yet dimly lit street. As Elder Neuman and I were walking, two strange men walking in the opposite direction suddenly asked us to stop and not go any further. At first I kept walking a bit trying to ignore them, but when I noticed that both had a bag and each of the men had one of their hands in the bag they were holding, my nerves went up a bit, because they could have had a gun or knife. They told us to give them our cell phones, and I told them that we were missionaries and didn´t any cell phone to give them. One of them asked us where we were from, and Elder Neuman, way smarter than me, said "We´re from the church, we´re misionaries". When they saw the Book of Mormon that we were both holding in our hands, they looked at each other and decided to keep walking, as did we without looking back. What was awesome about this experience was the fact that these men completely gave up the moment they saw we were holding the Book of Mormon in our hands. I´m certain that if we hadn´t been holding it at that moment, they would have haggled (is that a word?) a bit more than they did.

We´ve been teaching Janaina and Ricardo´s family some more, as well as their 3 kids, and everyone but Ricardo came to church on Sunday! Because of their very different religious backgrounds, their progress might be a bit slower than most people, but Janaina and her kids seemed to like church, especially Nathan, their 10 year old son. He wants the primary songs on cd so that he can learn them.

Since this sunday is my last sunday on the mission, the Primary presidency asked me to prepare a sharing time lesson about baptism, confirmation, and my mission experience. I´m pretty happy to be able to teach the kiddos more about these important principles in my life, and to be able to teach while 3 of my converts are present makes it even more gratifying.

I love this gospel and love the peace it brings to me. Knowing that my family will be forever is a knowledge without price.

Elder Braun

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