Monday, December 12, 2016

Parting the Red Sea

Friends and Family, 

Snow is falling, and so are the miracles. On Thursday while I was on exchanges with one of the Elders from the zone, it started to snow really really hard. The roads started filling up with snow and driving turned into ice skating. One companionship called and told us that they were stranded 40 minutes away in a small town because all of the roads heading back were closed due to traffic and accidents! Thankfully, we were able to help them get back home. Despite all of the winter weather and the craziness that comes with is, two people were able to enter the waters of baptism this weekend. 

First, the story of Jose Estrada. When I first got to this area in Yakima, Jose was one of the first people I met. He first tried to set me up on dates with the youth in the branch, so I was a little concerned about spending too much time around him. As time went on and I got to know him and his family, they have become some of the most incredible people I have met. Jose and his wife Karla met many years ago, she was inactive and they started dating. At some point, she decided to start coming back to church and started bringing him with her. He met many members and loved what he learned and what he felt, but due to unfinished divorce papers between Karla and her ex-husband he couldn't get baptized. He's been attending the branch since it's start and going out and doing priesthood visits and everything since he's started coming. Although he hasn't been a member for the past four years, he's been one of the most active people in the church. Last week, he and Karla got word from the court that the divorce papers went though and that they could get married. Everyone in the branch and all ten missionaries from the branch all stepped in and got everything prepared and ready for a wedding and baptism. It was incredible. Jose asked me to be his best man and be one of the witnesses for the wedding, and I wish I could describe how powerful it was to be there and witness the two of them coming together in the holy order of matrimony. Words can't do it justice. The baptism that followed was just as powerful, if not more. To think, four years of waiting. Talk about a trial of patience. After the baptism, Jose gave me a huge hug and told me "You think today was powerful? Wait until one year from now when we're all sealed together in the temple." 

On Sunday, Paola was baptized! She is one of the sweetest people I think I've ever met. So sincere and genuine in everything she does. She was so nervous about her baptism, but to help her feel more prepared and ready she went to Jose's baptism on Saturday. We were sitting next to her and talking to her about how she felt, and she told us she still felt nervous. We looked at her and said, "Paola. Do you know that it's true?" She looked down and thought for a moment and said, "Yes. Yes, I really do." Elder Kiser and I looked at one another and looked back at her and told her, "Then you have nothing you need to worry about." She smiled, and we could see the worries melt away. 

I've been thinking a lot about both Paola and Jose, and the trials that they each had to go through in order to get to where they are know. I've also been thinking about Moses. Specifically about when he had to part the Red Sea. It has felt like so much has been thrown on my plate these past couple of weeks, and at times I felt very overwhelmed. One day the thought came to mind, "At least I don't have to part the Red Sea." I can't imagine what it must have been like for Moses, having armies chasing after him and he's in charge of getting the people of Israel out safely and he comes to find a giant sea in the way. I like to think that he looked out over the horizen, looked up at the heavens, and whispered to himself, " have got to be kidding me." 

Like Moses, each and every one of us will encounter our personal 'red sea'. Whether it's getting a divorced finalized or feeling ready to get baptized the next day, we all have times where we may feel overwhelmed, that God has put too much on our plate. I know that when we reach those moments, if we just remember the words of Mormon, "But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are." (Mormon 9:11), we will see the miracles of God. All it takes is faith, patience, and some guts. 

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

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