June 11th 2012
Thank you all for the wonderful packages, letters, e-mails, encouragement, and upliftment. This has been a great week for me. I got to return to my old area on Saturday to baptize the last investigator I was working with. His name is Patrick Patterson, and it was an AMAZING baptism!!!!!! I have never had quite that experience baptizing someone until Saturday. The kind where you just put them in the water, pull them up, and then just embrace in a hug of purity!
How could I ever have had an experience like that or felt the joy of teaching Patrick and watching him learn, progress, and grow if I had not left home to come out here? It could never have happened! I never would have met the people I have, I never would have seen the miracles I have seen, I never would have had my own testimony and relationship with God strengthened to the degree that it has been if I had not come to this place; and how grateful I am for that!
These great experiences do not come without a price, as you all well know. I firmly believe that the family has a much harder time on a missionary's mission than the actual missionary themselves. So I wanted to take a minute this special Monday to tell each of you thank you for making the sacrifices you have so that Jordan and I could go forth in the power of the Spirit and do the work we are doing! I love each of you SO MUCH for this!!! For spending the time and putting forth the effort to make my mission even better by listening to these rants every Monday and sending support and encouragement in the form of letters, e-mails, packages, and prayers.
I really cannot express what I feel for each of you. Think of something like the deepest abyss and then throw in a volcano of love and that might come somewhere close.... but I don't know.
Hopefully I can send pictures of the baptism next week. I would love for each of you to see Patrick!!!!
-Elder Ryan A. Bell