The lighthouse at Formentor, Mallorca

The background shows sidewalk tiles - "rajoles" - that pave the sidewalks throughout Barcelona. They were designed by architect Puig i Cadafalch for the entryway of a home. Since 1915, they have been used by the city to pave sidewalks, and have become emblematic of the city. One of the city's most famous chocolatiers, Enric Rovira, produces chocolate bars in the shape and design of these tiles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why We Love this Work

Elders Allphin and Bennington with Juan and Nancy
Elder Bennington provided this summary of the recent baptism of Juan and Nancy:

 "One afternoon in late September we were walking down the street after our morning meeting.  As we were walking we began to talk about the upcoming month of October, and what we wished to see happen in our area.  Elder Allphin began to express that he had a feeling that there was a family that we were meant to find and baptize in the month of October, and moreover a family that would be going to the temple in a year’s time.  As we began to talk about the idea, we both began to feel a confirmation that that is what the Lord wanted in our area in the month of October.

"Looking over our potential families that we were teaching, the future looked bright.  We wondered if it was one of these families, or if it was someone that we had yet to meet.  We came together and prayed regarding this goal, and kept it in mind as we went out everyday to work.  If a stroller came down the street, our goal flashed into our mind.  If a reference we received was connected to a family situation, we were again reminded.  We were blessed with so many opportunities to dedicate ourselves to our purpose. But when the answer to our prayers came, it came through an unexpected medium.

"Margarita was a less active member from Paraguay.  She was the only member baptized in her family. During her baptismal process she began to receive harassment from her family, and even began to feel discouraged regarding her new faith.  Nevertheless, she persevered and received a calling in the church and continued to grow in the Gospel.  Around the age of 18, Margarita took her belongings and moved to Spain.  Upon arriving she was faced with trial after trial, testing her faith time and time again.  With the necessity of work growing more and more apparent in her life, she began to sacrifice her religious backing and started to work on the Sabbath.  From that point on she struggled to make it back to church for roughly 6-8 years.  As she saw the missionaries from time to time, she felt a longing to speak to them and to return to the richness of the Gospel. 

"One afternoon walking down the street Margarita spotted you and Hermana Hinckley.  She finally mustered up the courage and began a conversation.  You then passed her information on to us, and we began to teach her.  Upon teaching her we quickly realized that Margarita´s testimony was still as strong as ever.  From that next Sunday on she has yet to miss a Sunday.

"One Sunday Margarita told us that she wanted to bring a friend that she was really excited for us to meet.  The next Sunday she came with Nancy and sat with her through all three hours of church.  At the end of church Margarita came up to us and told us that Nancy was really excited to start meeting with the missionaries and had already expressed her desires to become a member of the church.  We scheduled a first visit for the next night, right after the Noche de Hogar activity that we had with the ward.  When Nancy came the next day she brought her husband Juan.  We sat down with them after the activity and asked how they liked it.  Juan immediately began to tell us how he felt something amazing as he was in the church and how much he liked the people that were there.  We taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ and why it is so important to apply in our life.  As we invited them to be baptized we had not even gotten though the invitation when Juan began to shake his head, tears in his eyes saying, "YES, this is exactly what my family needs right now.   We have finally found what we are looking for."  Nancy looked at him very surprised and with tears in her eyes also accepted and committed to be baptized on the 15th of October.  It was three weeks away but from the time they accepted to be baptized to the 15th everything went perfect.  They had no problems with any of the commandments; in fact they loved every time we taught a new commandment because it always seemed like something they had been wanting to change in their life.  They were the most prepared family that we have ever met and it has been such a blessing to see the gospel work in there life.

"The day of their baptism Juan and Nancy showed up more excited than ever.  As Margarita showed up, she revealed that she had brought a laptop with her.  As we walked back into the room after attending to something, we walked in to see Juan and Nancy equipped with a headset excitedly talking to their two children and Nancy´s mother on Skype in Paraguay.  It was a very special moment to see them interact and explain what was about to be taking place.  As the daughter saw her mother dressed in white she said, 'Mom I want to wear a white dress like that too!'  With tears in her eyes Nancy responded, 'Don´t worry, when you and your brother come you will both be baptized too!'

Preparing for baptism
"Nancy´s mother and two children watched the entire baptism from start to finish.  Nancy´s mother became overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry during the moments of Juan and Nancy´s baptism.  It truly was a special experience to see this family together in Spirit.

"Their children will be flying over to reunite with the parents at the end of November.  Matias will be baptized by his father in the beginning of December, and then middle of December they are planning to attend the trip with the ward to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  There main goal at this point is to make it to the temple a year from now to be sealed."

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