So... um.. guyss.... *smiling from ear to ear*... GUYSSS.... guess what....
JOSE AND ESMERELDA ARE MARRIED! JOSE IS BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!! GOODNESS GRACIOUS GHAHJAHDJLAKSOK!!!!!
I can't even believe it, I am just so happy. So let me tell you all about my weekend :)
We showed up at the church early Saturday morning, to get everything set up and ready to go. When we walked into the church, our ward was already there, setting everything up. They had beautiful flowers and decorations and a chocolate fountain and a pretty arch and lights. I was impressed. And so beyond grateful. A few hours later, the bride and groom show up and their two little boys, Jose and Leo. They were all dressed up, lookin' so adorable! Esmerelda just glowed! She looked so perfect and so happy. Their family was all there, helping set up and getting ready for the ceremony. I will never forget that moment when Hermana Bacy and I walked in with the little boys, hand-in-hand, and saw Jose just bawling up at the front of the room. And then when Esmerelda walked in, he just lost it even more. They embraced, and the ceremony started. It was so beautiful, all of it. We ate food, danced, played crazy Hispanic games, ate cake, and enjoyed each other's company. It was so awesome.
Miracle of the day was Esmerelda's sister. She was there with her 5 kids - she was so friendly to everyone! The bishop came up to me and pretty much told me that he felt the sister was ready to hear the gospel. I was like, "Uhh.. wow ok, brb." SO I went and sat down and just started talking to her! Turns out, 8 years ago she had been taught by the missionaries! She had nothing but good things to say about them. Plus she kept thanking us for all that we had done for Esmerelda and Jose. She was more than willing to invite us over! We'll be seeing her tomorrow! Crazy, right!?
Sunday was the baptism. Of course, there were tons of bumps in the road - like they were late, the font did fill up all the way, the other ward tried to kick us out of the room, etc etc etc - BUT IT HAPPENED AND THATS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS. Jose was so cute in his baptismal clothing, he was doin' a little jig while he waited haha so funny. As the baptism started, the room was overfilled with members from our ward. Some had to wait outside even! When Jose came up out of the water, it was like all of the stress placed on my shoulders was gone. He was a member. He just made a covenant with his Father. He was clean, he was ready, he was starting fresh. We all wiped tears away as he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I got choked up when he was promised in his blessing that he would take his family to the temple one day.
As we were driving home on those long, dirt Nebraska roads, it was like I was hit suddenly with a realization that I had just witnessed somebody's life literally change. I was apart of it. I clenched my chest as I fought back tears - I am amazed by God. There is nowhere else I'd rather be. I am so grateful for Jose. His faith and his determination and his willingness has inspired me. Feeling God's love for one of His children is something that I can't explain... but I am so thankful that I have been able to feel it so strongly.
Missionary work is my absolute favorite. I am so happy. God is real. His love is real. His power is real. I know His son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that through Him, we can find peace and joy and happiness and security.
I know that my Redeemer lives - what comfort this sweet sentance gives.
I LOVE THIS LIFE.
Hermana Brie Gould