Hello family from what is this week a sunny Machala, Ecuador!
Well, I won't keep you waiting for the good news: WE HAD A BAPTISM!!! On Saturday I had the great opportunity to baptize Moises Torres into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! It was an incredible experience to be able to do something so important and so significant for the first time! I wrote in my journal on Saturday that "I had never saved anyone from danger before, but perhaps today I did." Why I say danger? Well, Moises is 81 years old, and he has told us he thinks he will be entering the rest of the Lord very soon, so he was very thankful to be baptized (and confirmed on Sunday). It was a very special day, and very relieving as well, as I had worked and waited for three months to see this happen.
This next week (18 June) we are hoping to see yet another baptism, but as I've said in weeks past, it's not 100% sure as of yet either. If not this week, then it will likely happen on the 25th, where we could see possibly two more baptisms on that date! Good things are starting to happen in Puerto Bolivar, perhaps I arrived in a "down" time so to speak back in March. I know for sure that we're teaching by the Spirit, the ONLY in which we should be teaching (D&C 42:14), and for that, we're seeing success. President Montalti was absolutely correct when he said June will be the best month of my mission. Granted, yes it's only one baptism I have as of right now, but it's a fruit of my labor, and it is very sweet! D&C 18:15-16 keeps me going. It says: 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me! In terms of progression, I'm on verse 15 right now, I'm hoping to be on verse 16 on the next few weeks. It doesn't specify how many "many" is, so I'm taking it as two or more baptisms could be considered "many". How exciting the times are here in Ecuador, spreading the Gospel and changing the lives of people for the better!
If you can't tell, I'm super excited and have even more of a boost to keep working, sharing this message with as many people possible! Sure, not all of them will accept, but maybe in the future they will. And there's always those who are ready to listen, who have been prepared, so to speak. It's all about finding them, which I have learned is definitely a patience tester, but certainly worth it.
I'm glad to hear you're all adjusting well to yet another change with Chiaki returning to Japan. I hope you can keep in touch with her. I remember the letter she wrote me the day I left, saying that two years is a really long time to be gone! Not really, the time is going by quick! Always a plus!
Well, better get going and finish what I need to do for this week!
Take care and know that you're in my prayers every single day!
Love you all!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur