So this is a little bit more of a somber start than my other emails. Hna Bushman called me Saturday morning from Paterson to tell me that Lupita (the mother of the girls who got baptized) had been rushed to the hospital and was dying rapidly. She passed away yesterday morning. I just collapsed to the ground crying Saturday morning. I thought about those girls and what they must be going through right now and I thought about Raymundo and the stress he now has on him. They have zero money for a funeral or anything and they will probably be going back to Mexico sometime this week or next, who knows if its for good or not. I remember the last time I saw Lupita and she basically told me she was ready to get baptized but her health and circumstances just couldn't permit. She knew it was true. She saw the way it changed her family and the lives of her girls. I am so grateful to our Heavenly Father for the plan that He has for us. If everyone could please pray for the DeLazaro family right now to be able to push through with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. They need all the prayers they can get. Thanks.
On a bit of a brighter note, we had a baptism yesterday here in Morristown. Jose Morales, a 26 yr old guy, got baptized and it was beautiful. He basically grew up around the church because his mom joined when he was little but he never joined. His wife is an inactive member and everyone else in his family has joined the church and he was just the last one. This is the end result of about 15+ years of missionaries trying to teach him and he just fell into our hands. Definitely our "freebie" baptism. We didn't even challenge him to get baptized; one of the members called Hna Andrews one day last transfer and said "Hey, I've set Jose with a baptismal date for the 6th of December." Amazing. His whole family was there and everyone was crying. We asked him what finally made the difference for him and he just looked at his 2 yr old son and said he wanted the gospel to be able to bless his family and he wanted them to be able to be together forever. I love it! This gospel really does bless families. I have seen it change so many people's lives. I forgot my camera cord today so I'll have to email a picture next week.
As I sat and watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional last night, I thought a lot about how the gospel has blessed my family. When those missionaries baptized Mom and Dad, two teenage kids at the time, they had no idea the difference they were making in the lives of so many people. As President Monson said at the beginning of his talk, the Christmas season always brings back fond memories of times with family and friends. I know that even though I may not be physically with you as my family this Christmas, I can use the things you have given me over the years to help other families feel the love of the Lord in their homes and in their hearts. For me and all the other sisters in my apartment, this is our first and only Christmas on the mission. I pray that the Lord will help me to make the most of it by helping others to make it the most special yet.
I hope everyone is continuing to do well. Know that I am praying for you and can feel the strength of your prayers working through me. I am still loving life here in Morristown and my companion is absolutely amazing. My emails the next couple of weeks might be shorter so I have something to say to you on the phone at Christmas. Have fun Christmas caroling and making the breads. Send me one if you can :) I miss you tons but I love you more!