As we enter the final two months of the year, we have felt impressed to exercise greater faith and to work even harder to bring more people to repentance more quickly. Nearly every week I conduct interviews with candidates for baptism that have had abortions, and I cannot get over the pain these sisters still feel over something they did decades ago. Even as they approach baptism, they feel that this pain is something they will still have live with the rest of their life. It is a great blessing to be able to talk with them about the power of the Atonement to heal them from the hurt of so many years. I feel like we cannot baptize these people soon enough!
So we are redoubling our efforts with a goal to baptize 400 converts in this, the 40th year of the Church in Spain. Our interest is not so much in the number 400, but in enabling as many people as possible to experience the joy of repentance and the power of the Atonement without letting another week go by unnecessarily. Our missionaries fasted together this weekend to plead with the Lord that we can bring the blessings of the Atonement to more more quickly. And already the Lord is blessing our efforts - this past week we saw more people receive the saving ordinance of baptism than in any week since last May.
Last week at the Hospitalet Stake Conference we met a wonderful family whose children were scheduled to be baptized on Saturday, October 31. The parents have been members for many years, but have been inactive for most of those years. Through a series of events in their life, they began to feel a need to return to the Church. The mother saw the missionaries in the metro a few weeks ago, contacted the, and asked that they come and teach her children.
Fernanda and Eduardo with their parents, Elders York and Gogarty, and Pte. Hinckley at stake conference
On Saturday afternoon Pte. Hinckley was able to offer the closing prayer at their baptism. Four weeks ago this was a part-member family with both parents less-active and their address unknown. Today they are a fully active family preparing to go to the temple! This is why we have such a sense of urgency about this work!
Last week we also had some very special visitors: Elder and Sister Clate Mask visited us in Barcelona. Elder Mark presided over the Spain Barcelona Mission from 1997-2000. He was released from the Seventy at October conference; and this week they begin their new assignment as president and matron of the Guatemala Temple. It was wonderful to have them back in the mission home! And even more wonderful to have them speak to all our Barcelona-area missionaries on Wednesday.
This week we head south by car for the first time. We will be visiting many of the cities and towns where missionaries live but that we never see on regular zone conference or interview visits. We hope to visit Castellon, Alcoy, Benidorm, Torrevieja, Cartagena, and Elche, as well as the normal visits to the larger metropolitan areas. Let's all hope the GPS works!