Yes, I am pleased, thrilled, overjoyed to announce that on Tuesday, February 28, Leonardo Gabriel Peña Bejar and Aracely Denis Palma Salas were married at the Civil Registry in Carahue and this past Saturday and Sunday were baptized and confirmed members de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días. I've already sent a bunch of pictures that do a lot of the explaining.
After the wedding on Tuesday, we all (Elder Ramirez and I and almost all of Aracely's family plus Leo and his parents) headed to the house of the mom of Aracely for a nice wedding feast, which was delicious. We continued to pass by throughout the week to offer more support to them and help them prepare for Saturday. Not that they needed much help, they were already so prepared. Elder Ramirez and I spent basically the whole day in the church on Saturday preparing the church for the Baptism as well as the party that followed. That day, as a branch we were going to have a party with sopaipillas and Mate (a special herbal tea that they drink here in Chile), but upon hearing the news, President Budaleo decided to turn it into a wedding bash for the happy new bride and groom. We had a fairly decent turn out from the branch, both at the baptism and activity, but with the help of a family in the branch that did almost all of the food plus the help of the same lady from the Stake that did the decorations for the Christmas program, everything was gorgeous. It did not look like the same chapel. Man, I wish I could write more in detail, but to be brief, it was a gorgeous baptism, and the same happiness and joy that I have described previously was felt in no less intensity. We're so happy for Aracely and Leo and we're going to do everything we can to help support them and make sure the stay active and one day make it to the temple to become an eternal family.
As always, I'm short on time, as I still have to write to the President and send photos of the baptism to the mission, but I wanted to share one special experience from the week with you all. The other day, while contacting in the streets, we were blessed to find a delightful couple named Sisto and Monica who seemed very interested in hearing what we had to say and said we could stop by another day. We did so, and upon entering the house, the whole family gathered together, and we realized very early on that the family is something very important to all of them. In that occasion, we were joined by Monica and Sisto, the parents, Ricardo their son, and Elma their daughter with her own son Benjamin. As we started to talk about the Resoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Spirit was felt very strongly in the room, and as we arrived at the First Vision of Joseph Smith, something touched their hearts and even brought Elma to tears. Just after this crucial moment in the lesson, with emotions already high, who should come to the door but Sisto Jr., the family's oldest son who had been serving in the military down south and who had not been seen by his family for more than 15 days. As he greeted and hugged his family, we silently observed and waited as they all bustled about a bit. Finally, after all settling in the seats again, there was a slight pause and moment of silence, after which Sisto, the father, burst out into tears. Trying his best to control his emotions and his words, he weeped of pride for his son and gratitude to us for having blessed their home and family with our message. Just at this moment, as we were about to testify of the eternal nature of families, there came another knock on the door, the which Elma answered. After a long moment waiting for her to return from conversing at the door, it was revealed that Elma, who had been out of work for some time had just then, in that moment, been offered a new job. Elder Ramirez and I were of course astounded, and moved by the powerful spirit that attended their home that day. To close the lesson, Elder Ramirez and I sang Families can be together forever, after which we all kneeled and said a prayer, offered by Elma. It was for sure one of the most powerful lessons I've ever had so far, and there is no doubt of the miracles that took place in that home that day. We're going to keep passing by obviously, because we feel that this family is chosen to receive the Gospel.
Well, I need to go. Sorry for not writing more. I know Christ lives, and He is our Savior. This is His true church. There is no doubt in my heart. Once again, I invite and encourage all who read this letter to learn more of the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and if you are not familiar with the Church, meet with the missionaries. Being a part of this work, I can tell you with all the assurity that I have that this message changes lives, that it is true. I love you all. Thank you for all of your letters. 'Till next week!
P.S. Yes, there is another mission below this one. The Chile Osorno mission which extends all the way to the bottom of South America. Also, that building is indeed the Temuco Cautín Stake Center. Also, Mom, that response letter from Knox Robinson made my eyes water with happiness.
P.P.S. I have not received the Valentines box yet but I think I will tomorrow, as I have received word that there is a box from you somewhere in transit in the mission.
P.P.P.S Anna, this week I've been thinking a little bit about all the guys from our ward that left on missions, like Jonny, Marshal, Brennan, Michael, etc. Have you heard anything from any of them, like on facebook or something? I would love to know how they're all doing, especially Brennan, Spencer, Mark, and Jake (Roomiez 4 life) Thanks!
P.P.P.P.S. So, I'm really stupid and for some reason it didn't occur to me that I can easily go to my favorite sheet music site and print from any ciber here. So I thank you Jenn a million times over for the work you have put in to getting that music to me! But don't worry about anything more than you've already sent. I apologize for making you work to do it..hah. Love you!
A few pics from Temuco in the center
A few from the wedding feast we had after the wedding on Tuesday
A bunch of photos from the baptism on saturday followed by the wedding party slash branch activity afterwards