I am so sorry that last week's letter didn't quite make it! It said that it had successfully been sent. Sorry if there was any shock or trauma involved. I hate that it didn't get out because if you are even 1% similar to me letters on Mondays from the family are the best part of the week.
So, as we all say every single week, this week was crazy! Busy! The week started out amazingly and only sped up! Tuesday we had a Zone Conference with Elder Amado of the 70. He shook everyone's hand and answered every question that the missionaries had. Some of the things he taught us are going to help me improve my teaching and the missionary work here. We need to keep the visits to 45 minutes or less. Sometimes it is difficult because we get trapped with long boring complaints and stories, food, etc, but he told us that we need to keep to 45 minutes or less. Also in every single lesson, no matter how short, we need to share a scripture to help teach. The scriptures are words of the prophets that clearly outline how we should live. One thing that is going to be difficult is committments with investigators. He told us to treat them hardly if they didn't keep a committment and remind them of the importance of obedience. I've been very lax with this and it'll be difficult, but I'll improve. Also Presidente and Heremana Hernandez spoke to us. I love hearing them speak. They talked about the sacredness of their calling and the responsibility that they feel, not only to the Lord, but to you, my family. I know that they want to do the best that they can in serving as missionaries. That pretty much ate up are whole day!
Wednesday we had an amazing lessson with a family that we found. We watched the Restoration video with them and they were captivated. Juan Carlos (hubsand) had his phone and it went off like 3 times but he didn't even break eye contact with the screen to silence it. At the end they understood that in reality our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to and spoke to Joseph Smith. When we have lessons like that I can't help but feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for the people here in Monte Carlo. After amazingly spiritual experiences like that I feel like I could be a missionary forever. Testifying of the blessings that come from living the gospel to people who will listen and accept the message is amazing. Juan Carlos and Ocidi (wife) have three daughters - 11, 10, 16 months and are Catholic, but they told us that they have an open mind which makes me think that they want to listen to us. We've only visited them a few times, but feel like they are some of the Lord's chosen here.
Thursday we had a trauma occur, a major major trauma. The huge activity that we'd been planning for this Saturday failed. The Stake was supposed to be working with the mission to have a giant wedding/baptism for families. We found out on Thursday that the Stake didn't hold up its part. The lawyer fell through somehow and the activity didn't happen. We'd been planning for 6 weeks for this and Elder Cotton and I had a family ready and excited to so it. One of the hardest things that I've had to do, so far, as a missionary, is tell them that they'll have to wait a week to be married and baptized. My testimony of the church and God's love is strong, but as one of the ZL's told me, this is a good lesson to learn -- that we can't trust in the leadership here to help the missionaries. So we'll find a way to marry them this Saturday. They understood but were sad to have to wait another week. Many times they'd asked us, when can we get baptized! And we told them, after you're married on the 17th! I know that all things happen with a purpose. The Lord is taking care of the area and me. Sometimes however it is difficult. I've said this many times (I think) I trust in the Lord to help us out but I need to be 100% sure that I've done all that I could to help. A quote came to my mind: Pray like everything depends on God, then get up and work like everything depends on you. (Who said that?????)
Still Thursday, as we were leaving a visit we greeted a lady in her house as we passed, we presented ourselves quickly, thinking we were just going to walk away but she called us in and we found another receptive family. Well the Mom - Jolyn and the two daughters, Kenia and Kaily are awesome. There is something strange with the hubsand that we'll have to investigate but as we came back to teach them on Friday we were overwhelmed by their acceptance of the message and willingness to keep the commandments. A few years ago the First Presidency wrote a letter to some of the missions in Central America. We've been commanded to challenge everyone to be baptized the first or second visit to see if they'll progress. Everyone lets us in. Not everyone will progress. She accepted willingly the challenge. We're excited to teach her.
Saturday we found another less active family through a miracle of street contacting! I have a testimony of the commandment to talk with everyone. Sunday was an awesome day in church. Asistence: 55, there was a member of the bishopric there, all of our fathers/priesthood holders, and a member of the stake presidency came to visit. There was reverence and there were 7 investigators in church, including 2 families! One of the only Sundays that didn't give us the urge to cry after church was over. Things are improving in Monte Carlo and the member of the Stake Presidency told us that if the two newly created wards get to 120 assistence every week by November without dependence on our numbers, that Monte Carlo will be organized as an official branch. We'll see how that goes.
Sorry that there are no pictures this week. Nothing too thrilling occurred and I really struggle because I want to take pictures but I can't appear like a tourist. I'm working on it. I promise that more pictures will come next week!
I love you so much family. Thanks for the letters, love and support.
Prae - you rock. Thanks for loving my family while I'm not there. I miss them. Don't worry. One day we'll be able to meet! Also, thanks for the note. That was sweet.
Katri - continue dominating school. Thanks for your detailed letters!
Dannee - stop going on dates and assure me that KHS will win this week!
Dad - Take over the company. I hope this letter provides a little diversion from the plethora of tedious meetings.
Mommy - I love you and I'm so glad that you got to meet Hna. Rivera. She rocks! Keep working hard but also relax. The pictures of those oreo things look too good to be true. I love you. Thanks for the pictures.
I love you all so very much. Thanks for the love, prayers and support.
Lots of Love,