Well hi there, everyone!! Hope you're all doing well! You know I am!
This week has been absolutely insane. Easily the best week on my mission, and equally as easily the most exhausting. I am pooped! But I'm beyond happy too! I suppose that's how a mission should be, right?
The spotlight of this email is going to be... Mario Reyes! I believe I discussed this kid a bit last week. 18 years old? Has a twin? Yup, that one! Well I've got quite the story for you. Remember how he was having troubles making the decision to be baptized, and we helped him set the goal to be baptized on November 9th? Well I laugh in November 9th's face now! Bahahaha! You see, Elder Johnson and I witnessed a miracle this week. Just the day after I last wrote you guys, we got a text from Mario. He said "Elders". We said "Mario". He said "Yup". (That's how we communicate with Mario. Every time he has something to tell us, he says "Elders", we say "Mario", he says "Yup". Then we get down to business.)
Anyway, we asked him what's up, and he said something amazing had happened! He had been on Mormon.org chatting with a sister missionary, and she mentioned something about the spirit of revelation -- and suddenly everything just clicked! It all fell into place, and the time had come. He was ready for baptism! Not only that, but he wanted it more than anything, like, as quick as possible. So Elder Johnson and I were sitting there discussing how soon we should plan this baptism. Our discussion was interrupted by another text from Mario: "This Saturday."
We were literally jumping around the room and screaming, we were so stoked (and so freaked out at the same time). How the heck are we gonna plan a whole baptism in like 4 days?? There's a lot more to consider than you'd think, my friends! So this kid only knows like a couple families in the English ward (by the way, he speaks to us in English), so we figured we'd get them to do the talks and stuff. We asked one family and they, collectively, were down to do the two talks, play the piano, say one of the prayers, and conduct the meeting. So basically the success of this baptism was riding on the presence of this family. We were working with them the whole week to get the thing all organized. But halfway through the week we were told that, because of schedule changes and whatnot, they weren't gonna be able to make it on Saturday! You can imagine our stress.
We decided we'd break the rules a little bit and have the baptism on Sunday. That seemed to work nicely for everyone, and a huge weight was lifted off Elder Johnson and I. It was put back on when our Spanish Group President told us that we would be giving talks in Sacrament Meeting - in the Spanish Group - in Spanish. Ew, gross. But I quickly forgot about that stress when we were sent another text from Mario, in which he said "I've made a decision about who does what for my baptism. Elder Slavens, it would be an honor if you would baptize me."
This was a first for me, that's for sure! So Sunday rolled around, and I had the opportunity to baptize Mario Reyes. It was such a miracle to see the change in this kid that I met just a short couple weeks ago. When he came up out of the water, he had this gigantic smile on his face, and I was so happy I could hardly hold it in! It was so beautiful to see, and I'll never forget it. I love being a missionary and being able to bring this happiness that I feel every day to people who're lost in this world. They need us, and we need to help them. This is the Lord's work, and having the opportunity to push it forward - even just a bit - is the most wonderful blessing.
My talk went alright!! Ish. I spoke for like 7 minutes, though I was asked to speak for 20. My grammar was pretty half hazard, but the spirit was there! So that was a fun opportunity to have as well.
Anyway, this has been an incredible week, and I'm so thankful that I got to experience it! I love you all, and I'll talk to you next week!!
The Baptism of Mario Reyes.
I write "Elder Slavens loves you." on the Seminary class' board,
and this is what I get in return.
We have a Lego robot, and put it in a different position every day.
I think this one wins.
The "District Master", Elder Franks.