Guess what time I got up this morning? 3:45! Hooray for the mission in Argentina! On the bright side, I am almost legal here in Argentina. I had to go to Ramos today and visit a bunch of different buildings to fill out paperwork for my VISA. Luckily we are now back in Lujan, after eating lunch in McDonald's (It was heavenly. Have I told you how much I miss American food?) and we might have a tiny bit of time to nap before we start work again.
Bruno was finally confirmed! Hooray! He was baptized two weeks ago but after complications with President and his mom etc. etc. we weren't able to have his confirmation until yesterday, but he is now official!
We had 10 people in sacrament meeting! You all probably have no idea, but this is HUGE! We have not had more than about 3 or 4 at any given week and this week we finally did it! We had planned about 18 seguros (people that told us they would for sure be there Sunday). As always about half of what we hope for actually make it, but this was a miracle.
Juana is getting married April 1st and baptized sometime during conference weekend! FINALLY! We are sooo excited for her.
Ivana, our awesome neighbor, is struggling a little. We talked with her husband the other day (not pressuring him to listen, mostly getting to know him and asking if he is okay if we continue to talk with Ivana) and we thought it was awesome. Come to find out, after we left he got super upset. We are not allowed to contact her at this point and have to wait to hear from her because she will not go to church or talk to us if her husband is home. She is still awesome and I still have faith she will be baptized but we have to give her a little time.
Oscar, the friend of Pascual who came to church last week is still doing great. He was crying in the last lesson again because he just feels so content. Can you say aww?
In searching for Oscar one day we found his neighbor and began teaching her. They both came to church on Sunday and she is getting baptized the week after! Hooray! They are both super sweet and old and lonely and want to talk to us like every day.
The Fernandez Family. Did I tell you about them? Married! Four sons that can be baptized! And...ready for it...ready...they ALL came to church Sunday! They were all dressed up nice and the most well behaved kids in sacrament meeting. We have a super important lesson with them tonight in which we will hear how they felt in church. They still aren't super set on baptism and actually committing to change their lives but they are amazing. Say a little prayer for us tonight that we will have the spirit and help them to realize their need for the gospel. They are amazing.
Open Door. We have this area called Open Door that is about half an hour away in colectivo. We have wanted to go every week but something always comes up and it's a lot of time that could be wasted. On Wednesday night this week we had plans to go Thursday but didn't have a lot of contacts or names of people to visit. We were behind on our indicators for the week and weren't sure if it would be a good use of our time. We decided to go in faith, knowing that there are people prepared waiting to hear from us.
Well, Thursday afternoon (after a few bumps in the road) we made it to Open Door. We arrived at a street to contact one of the few references we had just in time to talk to a woman walking in the street named Delia. We ended up walking with her to her house around the corner, teaching her and committing her to be baptized. It was absolutely a miracle. She is wonderful and so completely prepared. Stay tuned to hear how it goes with her.
On Wednesday we had a meeting with all the HLE. Unfortunately our numbers, as a group, were the lowest in the mission. Lower than the zone leaders, district leaders, all the elders in the mission and even all the other hermanas. Terrible, especially because we need to be examples. Basically President had to get after us to pick it up. Luckily Hermana Castellanos and I had success the week before and President excluded us from all his comments. He was super great with us and told us to keep up the good work. It was also great to hear all of his words of advice, however, because I know I still have a lot to improve upon.
At the beginning of the meeting he had an hermana (who is not an HLE) tell her story of how she and her companion had been working extremely hard and not seeing success but now their area is booming and they have baptisms almost every week this month.
Here are some of my thoughts that I sent to President regarding this:
Hermana Peterson's story was an inspiration for me. Her humility and diligence to find her weaknesses and be willing to improve upon them is exactly what I needed to hear. Please let her know how much I appreciate her example. It was a great wake up call to me that the Lord expects more of me than sometimes I want to, or think I can give but if I am really here to serve Him I will do all I can to be what he needs me to be.
I have felt like we have been in the same situation for the past two transfers, fighting to achieve more than 60%. I knew both Hermana Castellanos and I were capable missionaries who wanted to have success but we weren't seeing it. Every week I finished asking what more we could do.
Fast forward to today. After two and a half transfers we finally achieved 100%. The assistants and elders in the offices were offering congratulations and Elder Dos Santos asked what we did different this week. I have been pondering this question for the past 24 hours and the answer is nothing and everything.
We don't have some magical answer: something that we changed and automatically achieved success. The answer is two transfers worth of continual improvement with little changes, being more obedient in staying at lunch for exactly an hour or less, being more diligent in staying in the street to contact until 9:00 even if we can't see someone coming, and finding better ways to teach, verify commitments, and repent of our mistakes. In short, we are striving to gain the trust of the Lord day by day.
I believe one of the reasons the Lord needed us to stay together another transfer was to see the complete process. We have worked and wondered, just like I'm sure many missionaries are wondering right now what they can do. I have learned that it is possible to achieve 100% and I plan on staying at a level of success at or above 80% for the rest of my mission by never being satisfied. I know the Lord expects me to continue to grow and improve each day and I will look for ways to be more worthy of His trust and be an instrument in His hands.
|This is Pancho (a little piece of him). He is our spider friend that comes out at night to say hello to us when we enter our apartment.|