Monday, March 31, 2014

Ulises baptism!


Hermana Castellanos and Hermana Millet
Hermana Castellanos and I have been talking for days about how we are going to start this letter. I'll spare you some of the details but this was one of the craziest, most stressful weeks of my mission life (and probably real life).

Lovely adventures on a Sunday morning!

This week has been one of the more difficult in my time here in Argentina but I am so grateful for the learning opportunity it has been. We have had so many unexpected experiences all of which helped us to be prepared to really learn from zone conference which we had on Thursday about teaching and helping our investigators to progress.

We have had a wonderful month of success but I am disappointed that our weekly success with indicators and families that we thought were progressing didn't result in the baptisms we were working so hard to achieve. I learned a lot about our teaching methods in watching the video about how we have fallen into a pattern of not focusing on our investigators needs and really helping their personal progression. We were teaching lessons that we thought were to their needs but weren't really what they needed at that time. We talked about baptismal dates but they weren't really the dates of our investigators. It is so easy to think we are accomplishing things with our families as they come to church and learn the lessons when in reality their testimonies aren't growing the way they should be.

The Fernandez family boys.  Gabriel 16, Thomas 12, Alexis 10, Ulises 9 and Benjamin 5
 The story with the Fernandez Family: We have been working soo hard with them over this past month. We have been praying and fasting and putting forth all of our faith to help them reach the goal of baptism together as a family. On Wednesday they were all interviewed, although they weren't all completely ready. Dionisio needs to completely give up cigarettes, Gabriela thinks she needs more time to prepare and doesn't have a strong testimony of the restoration, Gabriel still doesn't have a great desire to be baptized, and Thomas and Alexis for some reason aren't yet sure they want to be baptized either. Ulises, however, is a capo. He is the second youngest (9 years old) and was completely firm in his decision to be baptized. Even when everyone else wanted to wait, even when his mom asked him if he was sure about 1,000 times he said "Yes I want to be baptized". We wanted to baptize the whole family together but when they weren't ready we couldn't deny Ulises the opportunity he was so excited about.

Ulises and I
The baptism ended up being super crazy. We planned it on Friday night because we had district conference this weekend. We, however, had to go to Ramos Thursday and Friday all day so we didn't have a lot of time to prepare everything and we still weren't sure if Gabriela might decide to join him or not. Friday during the leadership meeting Gabriela sent a text telling us Ulises didn't want to get baptized. We talked to him on the phone as we waited for the train, however, and found out it was just because his dad had to work that night and couldn't be there so we changed the date to Sunday after our district conference.

Ulises Baptism

President Peralta was supposed to baptize Ulises but in the meeting we found out that he was called to be in the new district presidency and had setting apart meetings etc. afterward.  The Fernandez family and some of our investigators were waiting, however, so we started and luckily Hermano Merlo saved our lives and directed the service and baptized Ulises. The member who filled the font also accidently didn't turn of the cold water so the font was freezing and overflowing into the bathroom. Anyway, it was a little bit of a disaster, but we were still able to feel the spirit and Ulises was so excited afterward. The water was up to his neck (he's so tiny) and freezing but when his brothers asked him if he was cold or scared he was all, "no of course not". We are going to work super hard with the Fernandez Family this month and improve our methods of teaching and verifying their progress so they can really reach their goal of going to the temple.

The Fernandez family invited us to have asado Sunday night.  Delicious!!
I am so grateful for the month ahead and the opportunity to build upon what we accomplished this month as a companionship to see more families truly coming unto Christ. We have a few other families that have plans to get married and then, if we put into practice what we learned in zone conference, we will see them be baptized in May. We want to continue focusing on the Fernandez Family to help them develop stronger testimonies of the restoration and of the importance of the priesthood as well as help Dionisio truly repent.

Yesterday, I looked back on some goals that Hermana Castellanos and I set for this transfer. I was so pleased to see that we have accomplished or are working on almost every single one of these goals. We have so much to improve upon but have accomplished some great work this transfer.

Transfers are next Wednesday and We find out next Tuesday what they will be. I wish I could show you the videos we take! One day...

Hermana Castellanos begged President with puppy dog eyes to stay together and at first he said no but then he said he was talk to 'Him' and pointed up. So keep praying lol!
Our perros.  We sleep with them every night and they are best friends.
This week with our district conference it was a great time for me to reflect upon my personal progress as a servant of the Lord and the changes I have seen in my area. I now understand the language (most of the time) I understand my purpose more fully, I better understand my companion, I have a greater vision for the mission, our zone and our hermanas etc. I am so grateful for all I have learned here and am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me this transfer. I love Lujan and Hermana Castellanos and I would love to stay here and work with her for another transfer but I am willing to do what the Lord needs.

I love you all so much! I miss you like crazy but I am so grateful for the opportunity to share with the people here about the blessings and happiness our family has. Thank you for your love and support! Have a wonderful week!


Hermana Millet

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