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Thursday, June 4, 2009

The People

The highlight of this trip was being able to see some of the people I knew and loved on my mission. This is President Rivera. He has been the branch President of one of my areas for years, and it's not looking like he will get released anytime soon. They have very little Priesthood, and it's a tiny branch. He is pretty much running the show by himself. He loved the sister missionaries and helped us out so much. He would do visits with us every Tuesday night, and then buy us delicious burritos...every single week. He has so much faith and dedication. His goal when I was there as a missionary was to have 60 people in church, and it's still his goal now. He was telling me all about it with so much excitement and so much faith. You think he would get down not seeing much success, but he is still so optimistic. I look up to him so much, and hope that I can follow his example in the callings I do, and give it everything I have like he does.
Oh favorite person in the world right here. Augustine Castillo. He's probably in his late 70's now, and was someone I was blessed to see baptized in Luquillo. He is from Cuba, was a Jehova's Witness for most of his life, and stole his wife from a convent who was a nun at the time. He had some crazy stories! He was such a blessing to me in my mission. He has the greatest laugh in the world, and is so dedicated to the church. I was afraid he wouldn't recognize me because it's been a few years, but he sure did. The first thing he told me was that he went to the temple (the closest one is the Dominican Republic, and he got there wheelchair and all) and that he was able to do the work for his wife, who died 20 years ago, and that he was able to be sealed to her. Well tears instantly were rolling down my cheeks. I felt so much joy for him. He was always talking about his wife, and now he can be with her forever. It was so amazing to see him.
This little chica is Amanda! She was my first baptism in the mission.She was so excited to see me and was so funny! She just couldn't believe I was actually there. She is a chatty one and talked a lot! She took us out to this great little place for Mofongo..delicious! It was so great to see her and how much she has grown up! She bought me some little gifts which was so cute, and wrote me a card. In the card she told me that she is planning on going on a mission! How amazing. She is going to be the best little missionary ever! I just love her.

This is Martin, and his god son Freddy. Martin was a miracle baptism of my mission. He came at a time where things couldn't be worse in our area, and I was getting down about it. And my Grandpa had just died the week before as well, things were not going well. We found him trackting...which is crazy, he was ready the moment we found him. He hadn't had any former contact with the church, but he did every single thing we asked him to do, and followed through with every commitment he made, which was amazing for us to see! It rarely happens. I don't know how he was prepared for the gospel, but he was. It was an amazing experience. He is still going strong in the church, and was so happy to see us. We were able to chat, and I learned a lot of things about him that I didn't know before. It was super fun.

Going back was an amazing experience, and I hope to repeat it very soon!

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