Stone fences and half finished house frames furnish rocky green fields. The paved town center branches out into dirt roads as one passes by the Plaza of Arms (with great statues of old war heroes rearing on horses), the railway tracks, and street corner shops. Every Tuesday, a maze of a market appears with slick vendors shouting miracle cures and vegetables rolling around the ground. Men relieve themselves wherever and whenever nature calls, causing some wise property owners to hastily write "Urinating is Prohibited" on their walls. Sheep pass unhurriedly by, sometimes accompanied by a llama or two.
This week was memorable. We spent a good portion of one day installing our underground piping to get water in our house. We also had a busy week teaching a lot of less actives, which paid off. A decent number of them came to church, which made for a happy Sunday. I like serving in branches such as this. My last area certainly had its perks, but with a large ward it's hard to get to know the members. Here, we're in charge of the Young Men's program; the President of the Branch is always willing to help on visits; and we know nearly all the members by name. This is an area I'll remember, proved by an unexpected meeting in the little house of a member. We found a couple from Utah sitting on the couch chatting with the President of the Branch and others. Brother Newton, as it turned out, served here twelve years ago. He and his wife animated us, promised our work and assured us it would make a difference. It encouraged us to strengthen the branch, and we left certain we'd be the missionaries to do whatever it took to lift this branch back on its feet. We are incredibly grateful for their influence, and we are seeing miraculous changes occur in the area.
We are here to overcome difficulties. And we will do so. Those with midnight consciences often only need someone to light a candle to recognize it's dark. With that, the sheep will shed wolves' clothing and the Shepherd will rescue them.