Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Priesthood blessing

This was from our hike a few weeks ago to Los Andes
This week was good and we were able to teach lots of people. Remember the family that recently moved here and has a granddaughter that has health issues? Well the granddaughter has been in the hospital for a week and a half now (much more time than the doctors thought she'd have left) and many nights they've been told she wouldn't make it to see the sun go up. It`s crazy to see how hard this little baby is fighting to stay with her amazing family here. We were able to go on Thursday to give a blessing to the baby and it was a special experience. I got to give the second part of the blessing and I could feel the words coming out of my mouth weren't my own. As we held her hand there in the hospital it was a moving experience. Doctors said she was almost dead but I could feel so much life in her. It`s amazing how this has once again brought this family together.

That same day we also got to attend the wedding of two of the members in the ward. It was evident the relief they felt after the ceremony since they had been living together for about a year, but they are also looking forward with excitement to being sealed in the temple. 

The investigators in general are doing really well and have so much potential to progress and be baptized. Changes (transfers) are in a week and I hope I stay here. I feel like my work here isn't done and I certainly hope it isn't.

Love, 

Elder Birrell

Monday, July 25, 2016

July 16, 2016 - Decide to be ALL IN

Reuniting with Elders from the MTC
This week was really good. It was awesome to see all the support we've gotten in working with the Haitians. The ward members had only met the Haitians once when they attended church last week, but we had a bunch of people bring us clothes and other stuff to give to them. Also on Friday the Bishop and the Relief Society President had interviews with some of them and they both had eye opening experiences seeing their poverty and all they've been through. The ward seems to be rallying around them and helping them to find work and whatever else they need, it's really cool.

This week in working with people that are trying to come back to being active in the church it`s been a powerful reminder to me of the convert Lamanites in the Book of Mormon (the Anti-Nefi-Lehies if I remember correctly) burying their swords deep into the ground. Each person has their own distinct and personal story, but each one is finding that they can't be half in half out. Now is the time to bury all the swords in the ground and decide to be all in.

Also two more people were baptized in Rosende on Sunday (people I worked extensively with) which is so awesome to see. Shout out to Juan and Pedro congratulations!!!

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Birrell
Elder Simmons (Assistant) we were in the same District for a while, super great guy. Mostly blind.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Source of Hope


Nicolas was baptized!!

Nicolas was baptized on Sunday and it was so awesome!! It was amazing seeing the progression of the whole family. It started with the grandpa (Oscar) who has a really strong testimony of the truthfulness of these things and he really started everything. He just tells us the miracles they've seen that reinforce his faith and his desire to return to being an active member in the church. The first time we passed by there were two of their kids and the girlfriend of one of the sons (she´s not a member). We saw an honest desire in the son and daughter (both are about 25 years old) to have Jesus Christ more present in their lives, but not so much in the future wife of Oscar and the girlfriend of one of their kids. Through this process of preparing Nicolas for his baptism we´ve seen changes and progression in each one of them. The girlfriend of one of their kids now has the desire to be baptized and go to the temple to do the ordinances for her ancestors. 

The grandma (I talked about her in the last email) this week decided they won't work on Sunday anymore which was a HUGE step and will allow them to attend all the church meetings every Sunday as a family. Nicolas´s dad is still in prison along with 2 others in the family, but the progress of everyone makes me think that there are even more people in the family that will progress! Nicolas is really a source of hope in the family. He is the chance for redemption in the family after all they've gone through and he´s so excited for when he turns 12 and can pass the sacrament. With the support he has now I know that it's very possible he´ll be serving a mission in 8 or so years. The baptism went super well too. Elder C had to do it twice, which Nicolas thought was awesome. After his baptism one of his primary friends shared his experience of his baptism with everyone and he was so powerful, he even started to cry a little. 
Nicolas and Elder C
Nicolas and his primary friends

In other news we decided to truly apply the D&C 42:8 exhortation to share with everyone who will receive us. We shared with a LOT of Haitians this week and 8 of them came to church this week which was super cool. One of them was the relief society president in Haiti and the rest aren't members. The language is a challenge with them, but we met some that speak super well in Spanish. My companion and I also began learning French but it's way hard
That was my week, I'm looking forward to all the opportunities that await us this week!!!

Love,

Elder Birrell

Thank you for all the birthday emails!!
Birthday barbecue and cupcake
Birthday party with Jacob and his family

Jacob
Celebrating the 4th of July





Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Developing Faith

THANKS EVERYONE FOR THE BIRTHDAY EMAILS. I tried to respond to everyone so this will be a short email...


It was an awesome week and an awesome birthday. I played a lot of fútbol today and we had a barbecue so I certainly am not missing out on anything.

Quick thought from this week- 

On Sunday we will have a baptism of a kid named Nicolas and he's a fantastic kid who lives with his grandparents. For a long time his whole family was inactive in the church and many have spent some serious time in prison. We passed by my second Monday with Elder C and the whole family was there (or at least a lot of them). It was an incredibly spiritual lesson and since then, they've all started becoming active and many are doing everything they can to get married and put their lives in order. There is just a special light in the eyes of everyone in that family. Everyone except the grandma. She is also becoming more active and generally comes for an hour of church and then leaves to go work. Last night we asked her if she would stay the whole 3 hours of church and then for her grandson`s baptism. She said she would go to church, leave then come back for the baptism. Usually I wouldn't think twice about that, but my companion and I both felt that wasn't good enough and began talking about faith. We asked her where her faith is at on a scale from 1-10. She said 5, we asked her to be honest, she said 2. For the next 1.5 hours we talking about the importance of developing faith and our personal testimonies and it was an incredibly spritual experience that left everyone with at least a few tears. It made me really think about how we need to develop our faith. We aren't born with it and if we don't develop it, it will be lost.


That's all for this week. Thanks again for all the birthday wishes!!!

Love,

Elder Birrell