Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 58 Happy Birthday, Leilani

Hi, Mom. So, this past week, I had my first baptism here in Empalme! But, get this: Her name is Nicol, her older sister's a Returned Missionary, AND... She's 8 years old. It's pretty funny, especially considering that she was a "referral" from the Ward. The Ward/Bishopric "recommended" that we go and teach this 8-year-old little girl, so she can be baptized. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Why would the Bishop have you teach an 8-year-old girl?" "Isn't she supposed to be getting baptized with her family, so then it's a Ward Baptism?" Well, you're right... IF her parents were members. Because Nicol's parents aren't members of the Church (neither are they married, so yeah, haha), she had to receive our teachings, and be baptized through us. Regardless, it was a really great baptism, because she got to be baptized by her cousin, who's also a Returned Missionary, and he just so happens to be Ward Secretary. Apparently, her mom wanted her to wait just a little longer (in other words, another week), perhaps receive a little more teachings from us. But the thing is, with Nicol, both my companion Elder Wilson and I knew that Nicol knew what she needed to know, which was all that mattered. However, because Nicol was a little stubborn and timid at the same time, we decided to schedule a Baptismal Interview with our Zone Leader (Elder Monson, he's not related to the Prophet) just to make absolutely sure that she was indeed ready. That being said, Nicol, up to this point, is the newest member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the El Empalme Ward. So, before I forget like a derp like I usually do here in the Mission, Leilani's birthday is this Wednesday! So mind-blowing to believe that my sister's finally 19, WOAH! I'm actually kind of glad that she's thinking about waiting until I come back home, because I'll be perfectly honest, I would feel totally left out if I wasn't there to send her off on her mission. I'd miss her Farewell Talk, and I wouldn't even have the privilege to say goodbye in the airport. Anyway, even though we've had our fair share of brother-sister fights, I'm still really proud to see how Leilani's grown, both physically and especially spiritually. She'll make an exceptional missionary and representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can only hope that she doesn't end up getting TOO many baptisms while she's out serving, hahahahaha! If it's possible, send me a picture of the cake, because you guys all know how I'm a sucker for a good slice of birthday cake, haha! Before I go, I just want you guys to know that I can basically eat whatever food down here, and to my surprise (as well as yours), I STILL don't gain any weight. My companion and I chalked it up to all the walking we do, but just to show you guys that I'm not starving myself or anything down here, I'll send you a picture of one of the "masterpieces" that I eat down here sometimes. Until next week, keep praying often, Choose The Right, and remember who we are, and what we stand for as "Mormons." I love you guys, take care, and can't wait to Skype Call this Christmas!

Con Sinceridad y Amor,

Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke

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