Utica, NY

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cinco de Maio

On Saturday night Christian Yarleque, the man who has been investigating the church for longer than I've been a full-time missionary, made sacred covenants that will forever bond himself with God. It was a beautiful service, even though we were rushed to get it started since the printer went "ballistic" (as father says) when printing the programs. My favorite part of it was when Christian bore his testimony of the Atonement and the offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit to God. The following day Maritza bore her testimony with a translator because she was really scared. She bore a powerful testimony of eternal families and expressed thanks to the people who helped them along their way as well. A few tears were shed in the mix. Baptism are the greatest!
Ben Foote, our investigator who rules the earth, brought like 75 cookies to the baptism. They were delicious. Just a few fun facts about Ben- he is already a member on the outside. He is well groomed, he can sew, he feeds us weekly, he cans his own fruit, quite the cook, shows up to church in a classy suit and tie, bakes his own bread, and even collects food storage. We helped him with some yard work this week and found that he had planted some Peas. I love him, with every fiber of my being.
Not only is he better than Bear Grylls, but he is progressing so fast. This past weekend he went to Palymra to see all the church history sites there with his brother and sister-in-law, who are both members. He said it rained the whole time except when they were into the sacred grove. It began raining again when they left. That was his favorite part he said. We taught him about the Atonement this week. He didn't understand all of it, but is coming to know more about it as he reads from the Book of Mormon. He is reading and praying daily. He said he really felt good at Christian's baptism as well. He doesn't want to set a date quite yet but is positive that baptism is something he wants to do.
Remember Tiffany, whom we met on the Bus after I engorged myself into a giant sub from Andy's Imports? We called her last Monday to schedule an appointment, and she told us we should come as soon as we could, so we had our first lesson with them 15 minutes later. She and her boyfriend, Shaquille (O'Neill), are firm believers in Jesus Christ. The lesson was good practice of our new teaching method. At the end, we had a moment of silence after the closing prayer offered by Shaquille, which was long but powerful. When the silence broke we invited them to both be baptized into Christ's church and they said they had been talking about wanting to do that for a while already, so they gave an enthousiastic YES. It was grand.
Elder Hougaard and I have been praying for quite some time now that more families would move into our branch and that we could have more priesthood. We have two new families moving in, which is a delightful answer to our prayers. I don't believe that my prayers are answered so much just because I am a full-time missionary. If we all call upon God asking for specific blessings, we will receive specific answers. Prayer is real.
I love you all more than Swine love husks. Good luck with your high school, lacrosse, mission, work, and Lindsay Lamoreaux's this week. I will see you guys on Mother's Day. The rule is 30 minutes skype and 30 minutes call this time. I do not know the all the details yet, but be prepared to receive a phone call Saturday night or Sunday morning.
Elder Kunzler

After Christian's baptism. Please don't be offended that Christian is not in white. We began the service 15 minutes late and didn't have time to catch a picture. We at least took the picture in front of the font so you can believe that he really was baptized. Just think of us 4 as the mormon mafia.

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