Well, I guess it's time I get the email going. I just have too much fun reading all of yours. Totally not the way it should be done, I know.
Anyway, remember how last week I was a little complainy and down. Sorry about that...
This week has been amazing. I was still really struggling personally up until Thursday. Being sort of a pastora on Wednesday (FYI transfers were Wednesday and the elders got all confused thinking I should be a part of the final activities maybe and reunion with the converts etc. so it was a super weird middle ground day which was great for my already emotionally weak state) made me do a lot of thinking, and after such a difficult week I started working myself up with all sorts of negative thoughts. Satan really got a hold of me and I began wondering whether or not I had accomplished what the Lord wants and if my whole mission had been a failure.
The Lord, however, is so merciful and began the healing process through prayer and my personal study. Toward the beginning of my mission one of my friends serving in another mission sent me a BYU speech by President Holland titled "Remember Lot's Wife". When he sent it to me I enjoyed it but didn't really understand why this elder loved it enough to suggest it to me. Thursday morning I had the impression to pull it out and received so much personal revelation. It talks about not looking back into the past of mistakes or sin etc. I felt a huge load off my shoulders as the Lord began to help me direct my thoughts to the awesome opportunities I have left. I once again set new goals and that day set to work on them with hope and faith.
And everything began to change.
1. bautizar mas (baptizing more): Last week our teaching pool was down to about nothing. Thanks to the mercy of Heavenly Father this week we were able to find many new investigators.
One of these families was a man named Christian. He was just arriving home as we walked by and I almost didn't stop but for some reason turned around and began a conversation with him. We basically taught the first two lessons in about 20 minutes there in his doorstep. We walked away in awe. I couldn't believe how completely prepared he was. He is probably one of the most intelligent, and well off people I have talked to in Argentina but was so humble and interested.
We then returned back Saturday night and taught him, his wife and two daughters. Although, as he mentioned, they were a little more skeptical I still have faith. I can just feel that the Lord is preparing them. They may not progress quickly, but I know if we can persevere they will accept the gospel and be the kind of members the ward needs.
We also returned to Rafaela and her family after giving them a slight break and evaluating what we need to do differently to help them progress.
In our first lesson back with Rafaela we decided to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with her. In the middle of the invitation from Moroni she paused and began to cry. She told us "I know. I don't doubt anymore." I couldn't believe what was happening. We then had a dicussion about what she needs to do to be baptized.
In our next lesson with Daniel he prayed out loud for the first time. His mom is definitely more "religious" but he just gets the gospel in a way that she doesn't. I can't wait to see how his life is going to turn out once he gets converted. He's going to be something awesome.
We also had an amazing experience Saturday afternoon. We walked away from a house and I saw a dad and his son walking toward us. I stopped and contacted them and it turns out they were talking to the elders in another area! They were disappointed because they couldn't go to church and are stoked to find us!
Therefore, this week we are starting out with many more people to teach who have great potential to progress and be baptized in the coming months.
3. Retener mas (retain more): We have met with each of the most recent converts this week; however, none of them came to church on Sunday. Sunday evening, we visited with Alfredo to see why he didn't come to church (he was sick with the flu) and instead of our planned lesson the spirit lead us to talk about forgiveness. It was one of the most spirit directed and focused lessons I have had with Alfredo. He understood more than he ever has. I realize, here now as I am writing this, that maybe this was a sign to me that I need to focus a little more on the needs of our recent converts. Not just teach them the required lessons a second time but really search for the deeper issues to help them personally so they can strengthen their testimonies and remain active.
|Do you recognize them!? It's a long story but I was at the church on Wednesday when Suni and her family from Lujan walked up! I LOVE them sooo much! It was a wonderful little reunion. Don't mind my red face. I was kind of crying right before haha.|
4. Reactivar mas (reactivate more): My greatest focus in reactivation my whole time here has been on Paola and Jaqueline. There are many families we have been working with, just like our investigators, with whom my focus has been on those who are really progressing. At this point Paola could be considered active. We still continue to visit her, to keep her active, however. One thing I have noticed is that many missionaries see a less active go to church one or two times and think they are reactivated, however, we must continue to help them until they are fully incorporated into the ward.
To be completely honest, I'm not quite sure what the secret was this week but in my efforts to humble myself before the Lord, work to improve each day and put more trust in Him I have felt the spirit guiding us. After each of our experiences this week we said a prayer of gratitude because we literally did nothing. Each of the miracles was a direct result of the spirit working in us and in our investigators, and I am so grateful.
This has been an incredible learning experience for me over the past two weeks and I look forward for what the Lord has left to teach me.