I love my family, día 510, Week 73,
What a week! During each week there are slow moments, but more than anything I am amazed at how fast Monday comes. It doesn't seem fair how fast the time goes. At times I feel like I'm getting ripped off by not being able to get all done in the week that I want! NEWS: The Temple will be dedicated BEFORE April General Conference. The date that was set as a goal be the area presidency in a meeting held on Sunday is FEBRUARY 20. Also, HUGE NEWS: Due to the age lowering for missionary elegibility we will receive, within 4 months a net increase of 70 missionaries (mostly Sisters), moving us from about 180 missionaries to about 250. Wow. The work is moving forward. The AP's called us this week asking our advice on splitting areas.
Monday we had a more or less proseliting day. We didn't really get member support like we usually want, but we were able to get in a few lessons. We visited a man we contacted just to escape the rain. He was impressed by what we'd taught and was interested to know more. What we like about him was how he actually listened to us and wanted to understand what the scriptures have to say. Also his last name is cool – Valanzuela. Originally we'd put ourselves in agreement with a member to accompany us to visit Andrea, our slowly, but surely progressing investigator. The member that we'd wanted to bring with us said she couldn't go because it was raining, but somehow she was able to make it to the gym..?!? The member was a schoolmate of Andrea in high school. So they go back a few years. But all in all we were able to fulfill our objective – teach the simple gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tuesday was a busy day. One of our focuses this week was the baptismal service we're planning for 24/November with the 4 stakes (5 zones) on our mission's half of the city. We met as ZL's in the office Tuesday morning to get things worked out. All the Stake Presidencias of the whole city and the east and south came and our poor AP couldn't really explain our idea well in the 5 minutes he was given, so they'd decided to do 2 services of 2 stakes each. We didn't like that idea so in the office we made sure to address all possible doubts they could have. Then, to seal the deal my companion and I were asked to go to the meeting with two other stake presidents to convince them to participate with us. It went well because we convinced them! They were pretty set on their idea, but after we kindly, lovingly showed them that their doubts weren't really big enough and legitimate enough to stop the service from happening they agreed. I don't like taking “no” for an answer. We treated them a bit like investigators – clearly teaching our point and not accepting “no” because we know that we are right and it can be done! In between the office meeting and the meeting with the other stake presidents we came back to our area to do a visit with some members. We visited our beloved zapatero, Juan Ernesto. I can't remember what I've told you about him, but he used to smoke lots of things and be shy and not go out much but he feels so good in church with us because no one judges him and no one accuses him of anything so he has experienced an incredible change.
Wednesday we were able to have a normal day in the area. We visted Juan Ernesto again, preparing him for baptism and taking advantage of his trade. He lives in incredibly humble circumstances – no electricity in his house, cooking over a fire, working by candle light, etc due to his son being killed as they were building their house, the money didn't quite make it for the electricity with the funeral expenses. We try and support him by having him do stuff. He repairs shoes and makes everything you can imagine out of leather. We were working with him this week because he was making scripture covers for another missionary. Our other noteworthy visit of the day was with German, our weekly Wednesday night visit. His wife was a bit sick so she couldn't be with us. The challenge of this family is church attendance. They are reading the scriptures, praying, and doing everything but coming to church on Sundays. We taught an awesome lesson about the Sabbath Day and why it is important, but it seems to have been to no immediate avail because at the end of the lesson he told us that he was not going to committ to going to church, not even once, because he hasn't received what he wants from God to push him out the door. This week we're brining in Presidente y Hermana Hernandez to bring out the big guns. They just need to come to church! They do the rest!
Thursday's district meeting was normal. Afterwards we went to our beloved Abogado Tablas to get a wedding taken care of for some other Elders. We got back to our area to visit Juan Ernesto. Lucky for us a vacant house next door to him was just occupied so we met the couple and were able to teach them a bit. They seem extremely positive. In the nigth we went again to Andrea. The same member who constantly promises her helping hand wasn't around, so we went with another. Andrea accepted a baptismal date this week for 10/Nov. She is realizing how big of a change she's been making bit by bit these last several months and we're hoping she keeps going!
Friday morning we went to an appointment with a refernece that we received last week from a member from another ward, before going to the office for another meeting with the ZL's. Our visit was good. We taught the Restoration. In the house there are 4 cousins from far outside the city who are living here to study in the good universities here. We taught 2/4 and at the end of the lesson they were committed to come to church on Sunday. One of the two came! Not bad I suppose.
Saturday was the true adventure! We went to drop off some baptismal clother for my successors in Miraflores who baptized a long time investigator, then we had to buy the refrigerio for our baptism, then we went to the lawyer's office to get the papers. We made it back to our house to give the papers to the Elders and meet up with our DL to take care of our baptismal interview. We were fed lunch there. Then I cut some hair for a 7 year old kid, son of Celeste, baptized hace 2 semanas, and Alfredo 20 something, baptized in April. The kid was mad at his mom for making him get a haircut. Then the intensity started. We went to the church to start filling up the font, yes a little late, and the church's cistern ran out of water and we only got about a foot of water in the font. So after bringing 15 gallons from our own pila we started filling up buckets in the garage of the church were there was still a bit of water pressure, but as we went back upstairs with the water the font was draining so all of our hauling water resulted in a net zero. We finished with about a foot in the pila. Then the family got there. Juan Ernesto was patient and showed his wife around the chapel. A member of the bishopric came by and through another ward we contacted a member who owns a water tank truck who came to the rescue to fill up the font for us. Then he tried ripping us off by charging us too much. Finally the baptism started, very late but it was awesome. I was able to baptize him and in the font after coming up he hugged me. It was amazing. We were able to see such a change in him these past 2 months. I may or may not have mentioned this recently but we found Juan Ernesto in a very interesting series of events. In July my comp and I were drinking a soda on the way home and his wife and their 8 year old daughter came up to us hungry asking for us to buy something from them so they could eat. Instead we bought them food and we went on our way. Then about a month and a half later we were going up the hill to do the baptismal interviews for the family that robbed us and never got married (interviews were done Monday August 27). On that day the wife again found us in the street and though strongly active in her church told us to come by. Since then we worked bit by bit. The first couple of times we passed by her house Juan Ernesto didn't want us there. Now he's baptized. The Lord works miracles. To finish our Saturday we went with a member to vist her neighbor. Upon laying down at night I was amazed to think that in the morning I was running errands and all that had happened in the day!
Sunday was much less eventful. The confirmation of Juan Ernesto was stressful because we had to go get him after taking the sacrament because it turned out that they slept in. But, all went well! After church we ate lunch then came back to the church to meet with the ZL's again. They were supposed to bring a member of their high council with them. We were the only ones who fulfilled that task! (Humph!) We were able to finalize the plans and iron out the details. After that we just went to visit Mario and Jaky (married and baptized in July). They've been a bit lost for a while. We brought a member of our awesome bishopric. We finished the day with dinner at the Zuniga's house. It was awesome.
It was quite a week. But it all starts again tomorrow. Time flies. We're down to <2 months till the phone call. I love and miss you lots. Thanks for all your love and support.
Package from Mommy this week!
They're selling Pumpkin Pies at PriceSmart. We're in heaven!
This morning we had breakfast at Bishop Torres's house. He rocks. The zone had a party. We got yelled at by a cleaning lady (member) in the church because halloween is supposedly of the devil and we were sinning by dressing up...?!?
Love and miss you lots!