Actually, it is not for 1000 days. It is just that 3 years times 365 days plus June 27 through June 30, 2008 equals 1098 days, and that is way too cumbersome to convert into a blog headline. Futhermore, our release date will not be determined until May or June of 2011. Therefore, 1000 Days sounded just about right, more or less. Having noted all that, we are humbled and thrilled (Pres. Uchtdorf would refer to the feeling as "joyfully overwhelmed") about having this marvelous opportunity to serve in La Mision Mexico Veracruz.

Con amor,
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen

Sunday, August 15, 2010

We went to San Andrés Tuxtla, Jardín Branch to conduct a special interview. I needed to interview the older of these two sisters, Dalia. This was one of the best interviews I have ever had.

Dalia is 26 and teaches English, but she doesn't speak it that well. She is especially bright. She told me that when she went to tell her father that she intended to be baptized into the LDS Church she was surprised by his response. The first surprise was that he was not just accepting, but was pleased. The second surprise was that he told her that he "used to be a Mormon." He was baptized when he was 11, but never went back to church. As they talked she committed him to return to church with her, which he will do after he recovers from abdominal surgery. She is worthy in every way but wanted to wait another week to be baptized with her sister, Sandra.

I asked Dalia why she wanted to be baptized. She said that she was just like Joseph Smith. Since her teenage years she had many questions about religion and wondered if she would ever find a church into which she could be happily baptized. She had investigated many. One day, she and her boyfriend, who is now much less a part of her life, were in the park. They saw the missionaries. She had seen them many times before and wondered who they were and what they did. This time, her curiosity overcame her and she approached them asking them those very questions. They explained and she agreed to let them come by.

In the first discussion, they taught her of the apostasy, the Restoration, and of the story of Joseph Smith. She believed, and she knew what she both needed and wanted to do. At the end of the 20-30 minute lesson, the missionaries invited her to be baptized in two weeks. (Our missionaries are instructed to invite to baptism in the first lesson and to fix a date.) She readily agreed. The visits continued. She learned quickly and progressed rapidly, attending church both of the following Sundays. She was now ready for her interview.

During the interview we talked about eternal families. Her eyes got very wide. She asked me, "Do you believe that families can live together forever?" I testified to her that I do and that that is both the doctrine and the desire of Heavenly Father. Almost incredulously, but all the while fully believing, she replied, "I have always believed that but no one has ever said it to me before." So we talked a little more of temples and how someday after she found a worthy LDS man to marry, that he and she and her 2 year old daughter, Azul, could be sealed together forever. It was quite the interview.

Sandra, the sister, was equally excited to be baptized, She was struggling through a problem boyfriend, however. He is a very inactive member of the Church. He continually tried to convince her that she should not join Church. His pretext is that we worship Joseph Smith. Sandra had been to church enough, three straight Sundays, to know that is not true. He came up with all sorts of garbage. At the same time, she was trying to convince him to return to church with no positive results. Her big interest in his reactivation is that he had promised to marry her in June or July. This all happened in April. Let's see . . . June OR July and it is now very late April turning into very early May. How do we feel about this guy? I'll tell you how we feel about him.

To be continued next blog post.

Just kidding! Read on.

On Thursday night before the Saturday baptismal service (May 8th) Sandra called the missionaries very late at night and said that she needed to talk. So, by phone, they talked. That very night, Sandra met her boyfriend's wife. Yup. Legal wife. To make things even more interesting, the wife lives in San Andres and is Sandra's "sorta" cousin. Their fathers are cousins. Sandra and the legal wife are, therefore, sorta cousins. (I am sure there is a genealogical term for that. I am willing to be taught.) Sandra said that she hoped she could still be baptized. The picture, with Dalia and Elders Castañeda and Elrey is evidence that is was still okay. (Elder Castañeda is the son of the new president of the Villahermosa Mission. Elder Elrey is from Mesa, Arizona.)

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