I have to tell you a little bit about Carmelino and Jhoana. I cannot explain to you how much I love this family. The days where we get to visit their family are my favorite days. Yesterday, we visited their house and Sister Jhoana explained to me how much she wants her 2 boys to serve missions. We reviewed the baptismal questions with Carmelino and he passed with flying colors. He was giving better answers than most members can give. He's already downloaded gospel library and has downloaded all the manuals used in church, conference talks, mormon messages, everything. He reads and rereads the pamphlets we leave him and discusses them with Jhoana. This man is going to be a future leader of the church. He's the man.
Mark is doing fantastic. His wife, Kristel (who was less active before we began meeting with Mark) is now active. Yesterday was her fourth Sunday in a row and marks her reactivation in the church. They are going to be a strong family in the church. They invited Elder Villoso and I to their son's 1st birthday hahaha they have the cutest kids ever.
I had the opportunity to go on exchanges this week with Elder Manongas (one of the Elders in my District). He's a great guy. I have to tell you a cool experience that happened to us. We were approaching the end of a successful day. We had a ton of lessons and had a ton of fun. However, we hadn't found any new investigators. We decided to focus our efforts on finding. Elder Manongas led us down a street that he thought was the correct street but ended up being a dead end. We turned around and walked by this group of guys huddled by a motorcycle. We began a casual conversation with them and talked for a while. All of the sudden, I hear a guy behind us say "mormons." I turn around and see this short, overweight guy smiling, standing with his 2-year-old child in hand. He asked me where I was from and responded that I was from Utah. He then began to tell me that he used to work in Florida. Turns out he's fluent in English. Once you get me speaking English, I don't shut up. I talked with him (Edsel is his name) for a while and then inquired about his comment "mormons." He told me that he worked for a cruise line in Florida and met quite a few members of the church. He then told me to wait for a sec. He ran back to his house and came back with a Book of Mormon in hand. Edsel explained to me that one of the passengers had given him a Book of Mormon years ago and he had held on to it ever since. I examined the Book of Mormon and found a testimony written on the inside cover. It said the following (paraphrase) "Edsel, Thank you for all that you have helped us with this week. We would like to give you this book out of gratitude. This book is something we hold very dearly to us and hope you will take the time to read from it. We know that this book is true and hope one day you will have the opportunity to meet with the missionaries." It was dated February 2012. He then expressed to us his desire to learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This experience was quite a spiritual experience for me. I wish I could thank the couple that first gave him that Book of Mormon and planted the seed for us to nourish. If this couple had not done what they did, this man would not know about the LDS church, he would not have talked to us on the street and would not be listening to the missionaries at this point in his life. As I thought about this, my heart was full of gratitude and love towards this couple that I had never met. Such a simple act has changed the course of this man's life forever. As members of the church, we need to capture these moments to share the gospel. We may never see the fruits of our labors, but no effort is ever wasted. Who knows, years down the road, a missionary may be writing to his family about an amazing experience he had because we chose to act. Now is the time.