We had a baptism this week! Woooooo :)
I have been really bad at emailing, and at keeping my head on straight, so many of you probably didn't know, but we had a baptism this weekend! Maria Rosario Galvez got baptized on Saturday the 7th and confirmed on Sunday the 8th. She is amazing and so readily accepted the gospel! She really is one of the "elect". She kept all her commitments, she loves reading the Book of Mormon, she always came to church, annnd she feeds us! Hermana Maria has an amazing testimony and she loves to share it! She is inviting her husband to learn more too! He is pretty stubborn, but I know we'll get him. I was able to speak at the baptism about The Gift of the Holy Ghost!! What an amazing topic that truly is! I feel so blessed to have the constant right of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I have felt His influence more in my mission than at any other time in my life. I know that as we keep ourselves worthy, we can be led and guided by the Holy Ghost. We can know the truth of all things, and we may be blessed with spiritual powers beyond our imaginations! Our Mission President, President Mullen, and his wife were in attendance at the baptism, so that made me pretty nervous. But it went really well! he even complimented me on my Spanish! Woo! He served in Chile so he speaks Spanish as well and loves to be involved in the Spanish wards here in the Riverside mission. 

This weekend is going to be insane. We are going to have a wedding and a baptism for the same couple on Saturday and Sunday! Marco and Catalina are going to be married on the 14th (awe, Valentines Day) and baptized on the 15th!! Catalina is the mom of Kim and Peter, some of our other converts. She has been receiving the missionaries into her home for a long time and has always wanted to be baptized, although she knew she couldn't because she wasn't married! Marco, her "boyfriend" has been with her for 12+ years and they have two daughters together, Catherine and Izamar. Marco has always rejected the missionaries and never wanted anything to do with them. He would hide in his room whenever we came over and shut us down whenever we would try to reach out to him. One day a few months ago, Hermana Castrillon and I were in the middle of our weekly planning session and we were discussing Catalina. It was so sad, we thought, that she wasn't able to be baptized because of Marco. We prayed and decided that we should try to set a goal of a baptismal date with her anyway. We thought it would be a long shot, but the next day we went over and had a powerful lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ: faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We focused on baptism and the blessings it brings. It was strong. We committed her to being baptized on the 15th of February, and she accepted. We chose this date so that she, and her family, would have time to prepare and so we could figure out her problem with the law of chastity. We were still in the same rut though. Catalina wanted to be baptized, but Marco wouldn't even look at us. We told her we would be praying and fasting for them, that Marco would come around and listen to our message.

One night, about three days later, we got a call from Catalina. She said that Marco wanted to meet with us! She told us that her and all her kids had sat him down and made him watch "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration". He loved it and he wanted to learn more! We went over and started teaching him right away! He came to church and loved it, he made friends, he learned about the gospel, and most importantly, he felt the Spirit testifying to him that it was true. Marco accepted a baptismal date "sometime in the future" after meeting for a few weeks. He still wasn't ready to marry Catalina though. We continued to work with him and promise him the blessings of marriage and baptism. And then one day, he just accepted it. He said that he knew he needed to marry Catalina and that he felt bad that he had been holding her back from those blessings that were waiting for them! He "proposed" to her and they are both going to be baptized together on the 15th!! It's still a surprise for their 2 little girls though! They think they are going to a "Valentine's Party" at the church on the 14th, but they don't know it's really their parents wedding! Ahhh I am so excited for this family. I have come to love them with such a pure and a deep love that I cannot even explain it! They are my family here in the mission. They are already talking about being sealed in a year. I will still be on my mission at that time, although probably not serving in their area, I can't wait to attend and share in that special day when their family can be united for eternity in the temple.

The ward has also fallen in love with this family and taken them under their wings! Catalina and Marco have almost no money, but the whole ward is pulling together to through them a huge party! There will be food, cake, dancing, decorations, one of the members has a wedding dress for Catalina to borrow, another Hermana is going to do her hair and make up! And the Bishop is going to marry them. Obviously none of those material things are important, but we are so excited that they are going to have such a special and memorable wedding day! I love the De Anza ward. It feels just like one great big family!

There are so many other things that happened this week, but I don't know how to explain them all! I wish I could just videotape my life and then send it home every week so all of you could experience what I am going through. It's hard! But it's the most rewarding thing I have ever done! We have two other people who are on date to be baptized on the 28th of this month. One, Jose, is looking pretty solid, but Maria may have some trouble getting there. She is also in the situation where she either needs to get married or leave her "husband". The problem is, she doesn't know which one she wants to do. Please pray for them fervently! I know that entering into the waters of baptism is the first covenant we make with our Father in Heaven and it is something I want for every single person. We must be baptized by water, and then by fire, or the Holy Ghost, to have the gates of Heaven opened to us! In 1 Nephi 31:13&21 we read: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost..And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

This is my testimony. I know that it is true. I love you all! 

Con Amor, 
Hermana Rutherford

The family of Maria Galvez!!!! SHE IS SO SWEET. I look awful, but whatever, I'm a missionary. Also, I promise I'm not that white...

Hermana Castrillon celebrated her 9 month mark and her mom sent a package! We both got customized COLOMBIAN national jerseys with our names and the dates of our birthdays!!! :) GO COLOMBIA! 

Oh I forgot to tell you... Catalina and Marco both passed their baptismal interviews yesterday and it was one of the happiest moments of my life! 

Also, this is Kadi, Maria's daughter! She wanted to be my companion for the day :) 

Studying in the sunshine :)

This perfectly describes our relationship! I love this girl! We are always laughing and having a good time (and being obedient and working hard!)

This week was also a miracle because we got THREE packages in the mail. That's unheard of. One of them contained this little gem of a hat that my mom made! Go Wolves. Good luck in basketball districts Alex. Love you!