This week has been pretty interesting, full of disappointments and sadness but also a lot of miracles, growth and spiritual experiences. I am so grateful for it all.
|We had an awesome lunch this week! Asado (basically smoked barbeque) esaladas y helado!|
On Saturday we had planned the baptism of Oscar. He has been doing wonderful ever since his first Sunday in church when we met him. Each day he told us how excited he was for his baptism. On Friday we weren't able to contact him in person and on Saturday we finally found him about an hour before his baptism. The only thing he kept repeating was that he was grateful for all we had done but that he wasn't going to be baptized and that he is going to continue with the Catholic Church. He told us he went to the basillica and the Virgin of Lujan told him that he should not be baptized. (Have I told you how much we love the Virgin of Lujan-NOT!) In talking with President Peralta we all think one of his children talked him out of it or something else happened.
We tried everything we could think of for the next hour and a half to change his mind. We sang, we prayed, we testified, we shared scriptures, we used boldness, we used love. Nothing entered his heart. I know without a doubt he felt the spirit but his heart was hard as a rock and he refused to let the spirit enter. As we left we gave one last testimony and the tears began to flow. For the next hour as we called members to cancel the baptism and talked about what had happened we were overcome with sadness and disappointment.
After eating a piece of his baptism cake (because what is better to do than eat cake when you're sad?) and talking about what we could have done differently, we felt peace and chose to continue with faith. There is always something we can do to improve, but I really feel as though we did everything for him. We are going to give him a few days to think and then we are going to talk to him again because I know he was changed, I know he was prepared and I know he can still be baptized this weekend. When I think I have learned faith Heavenly Father always seems to give me another lesson in how to grow more. I am praying for him every day that he will remember his testimony and let the spirit change him and we are going to do all we can so that he can enter the waters of baptism this month.
After this emotion-filled afternoon we went to the Fernandez Family for our lesson with them. Dionisio (who lives around the corner and next door to Pascual and therefore observed some of what happened that day) began by telling us that he feels great love for us but that they want us to be friends with their family and basically that they do not want to continue with the church. We almost fell apart but continued teaching and what followed was one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission.
We began by resolving some of their concerns about tithing which led to a deep conversation about faith. Only Dionisio and Gabriela were with us which allowed us to talk without distractions about the future of their family. We told them that they are going to be baptized, that we are exercising every bit of faith to help them and that they need to exercise the same faith to overcome their concerns and doubts and make the necessary changes in their lives so they can be a forever family. As we reverted back to the goal of the temple Gabriela began to cry and Dionisio softened. He was more open than he has been in any other lesson to the idea that they are going to make this step as a family. We talked about our goal to be with them in the temple in a year as they are sealed for all time and eternity. (Yeah that's right if they get baptized I'm coming back in a year. Anyone who wants to come with me, start saving your money now!) They still have concerns and doubts but I know with all my heart that if we are completely diligent and listen to the spirit this week they will be baptized as a family this Friday.
Every single investigator has concerns and difficulties and as I tell our leaders each time they ask, no one is sure until they are in the font, but I am developing my faith that as I do my part I can be calm and feel peace that Heavenly Father will help them to change their hearts and work miracles in their lives.
A few random notes:
How are you all pronouncing Lujan? I hope not Lou John because that would make me cry. The other day I realized you might not even know the name of my home. It's Lou Han in case you were wondering. :)
After seeing what hospitals and medical care is like when the government controls it I am even more worried for America.
The schools here were supposed to start like three weeks ago but they are arguing about payroll or something in the government and so the families still have no idea if their kids are going to start school each day. Isn't Argentina fun?
Also, I would sooo appreciate prayers for the Fernandez Family and Oscar. They have so much work to do this week to be baptized Friday and we really want to baptize all 7 of them this month. (Gabriela, Dionisio, Gabriel, Thomas, Alexis, Ulises, and Benjamin).
Thank you all sooo much for everything. I love you more than words can say! I am praying for you every day!