Sunday, December 1, 2013

This is Jen's letter from last Monday, November 25th.

Dear Familia:

Yesterday was probably the craziest day of my mission life. It was our district (stake) conference and our zone wanted to baptize all of our investigators together afterward. I´m not even sure how to explain it all...

Zone Baptism.  28 people baptized!
 Things with Diego went really well all week. He has been great from the beginning and continued to progress and look forward to his baptism. His sister Cinthia, on the other hand, has been doubting and we were having a difficult time contacting her. We continued to pray and fast for her and search for her each day to be able to talk with her. We were finally able to meet with her Thursday evening and talk to her about her baptism. She wasn´t near as enthusiastic about it as we would have liked but we assured her that it was a good decision. We could tell that she knew it was true in her eyes but she continued to doubt. Her mom was evangelical and she feels that following her mom´s beliefs is an important connection to her.

We were able to talk to her one more time on Saturday. She was angry and didn´t want to talk, but she eventually broke down and talked to us about eternal families, her anger with her father and her anger with God for taking her mom away. We tried the best we could to answer her questions with the spirit but her heart was closed. She really just didn´t want to listen. We knew she wouldn´t be baptized. We did all we could for her but until she decides to open up her mind and her heart to the spirit there isn´t much more we can do for her.

Unfortunately, we found out Sunday morning that Cinthia talked to Diego about all of her concerns and Diego didn´t show up for the conference. Part way through the conference, we left with his father and the President of the Rama to visit Diego and try to talk to him. He refused to open up and talk to us. He knows the church is true and has a testimony but somehow Cinthia convinced him he couldn´t go against his mother´s religion. Again, we did all we could to help him have the strength to do what he knows is right but his heart too was closed. Therefore, two of our baptismal candidates for yesterday fell through.

I still have faith that Diego will be baptized and I want to keep working with him. Cinthia might take more time. I´m not sure if we can help her right now at this time her in her life but I continue to pray for her. She is such a sweet girl who just misses her mom and doesn´t want to let her go.

Pablo and Tatiana were both doing well this week as well. But, as always, Satan found a way to try to stop their baptism as well. Saturday morning Tatiana broke her arm. We figured out a solution with plastic wrap, plastic bags and tape but when we went to pick their family up on Sunday her mom, Clara, told us Tatiana wasn´t going! We had to talk and negotiate but eventually we convinced her to let Tatiana go.

Things were a pretty stressful throughout the conference trying to take care of our other investigators, keep track of our baptismal candidates and the whole ordeal with Diego. Church here in Argentina is a little different. There isn´t the same expectation of reverence so kids are running all over the place and the halls are filled with people coming in and out and talking and hanging out. All of the missionaries were outside the ´chapel´ talking and trying to work everything out for the baptisms. Hermana Suarez was running all over the place talking really fast in Spanish and on the phone so I had absolutely no idea what was going on. After a hard week personally I was close to my breaking point.

Another surprise popped up when Hermana Suarez jokingly suggested to our zone leader that, Pascual, one of our investigators could get baptized. Pascual, who just so happens to be the Grandfather of Tatiana and Pablo, is amazing! He is about 80 years old and is so willing to learn, believe and read. He attended the evening session of the District Conference with us the night before and was there that day. We have only been teaching him for just over a week and he hasn´t had all of the lessons but he was well on track for baptism in December. Elder Streadbeck jumped on the idea of baptizing him that day, however. We pulled Pascual out of the conference, Elder Streadbeck interviewed him and 20 minutes later we were preparing Pascual to be baptized as well.

Jen with Pascual and Tatiana.  They were unable to find
Pablo to join them in the picture.  
I wasn´t sure how I felt about the whole situation, asking an investigator to be baptized who hasn´t had all the lessons and wasn´t prepared for that day. I trusted in my leaders' decision, however, and I know that it was a blessing that Pascual was able to make the covenant of baptism that day with his grandchildren.

We ended up not seeing any of the baptisms and only one of the confirmations and unfortunately I wasn´t able to get pictures with everyone because we were so busy trying to figure everything out. It was a stressful service, and to be perfectly honest, it was difficult for me to feel the spirit, but I know the most important part is that Pablo, Tatiana, and Pascual were able to be baptized.

Jennifer in front of the Lujan Cathedral.
This week I´ve really felt myself losing myself more in the work and focusing on my investigators. Especially with our baptismal dates for this weekend we really focused on helping them prepare. It has been a great feeling to really care about them and become more and more concerned about their progression and growing testimonies.

Personally, I am continuing to work on having humility, and patience. I am trying to learn all I can from Hermana Suarez and become a better teacher, companion, and missionary. I still have really difficult moments and really difficult days but the Lord is blessing me to overcome these difficult times and persevere. Today I read a passage in Preach My Gospel that I really liked that said that Heavenly Father knows what I need more than I do. As always, I need to trust more in him and his plan for me. As I continue to try to repent and be worthy of his help I know he will give me the experiences I need.

I am so grateful for your continued prayers for me. I
don´t know what I would do without you all! I won´t be celebrating Thanksgiving here but I will say a special prayer thanking Heavenly Father for all of you. I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.

Love, Jen

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