Monday, February 27, 2017

The Work Continues

This week marked the end of another transfer. My companion Elder Suarez has left to go to Cerro de Pasco, and my new companion- Elder Alvarez- will arrive later today. I'm excited for this following transfer- I think we’ll see a great many miracles and opportunities. A lot of people are coming to the crossing point in their conversion... we've been teaching two seamstress sisters for a while, and one has decided to go to the small town of their parents, Junín (a past area of mine), to announce to the family that they intend to convert. She's very nervous, but the last lesson was a magnificent turning point in which she expressed more determination.

We have another family who has come to a budging halt, despite their firm testimonies and desires to be baptized, because their funeral shop can't stop working on Sundays. We got to the heart of the problem by finally being able to talk to their mother, who owns the business. We had a spiritual lesson about the essential steps of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we promised her in His name that the business would thrive in the other days of the week if they decided that, come what may, they would come as a family to church Sunday mornings. She accepted, so we'll see what happens!

Yet another young man is progressing wonderfully- he already accompanies us on appointments, is set to be baptized on the 11 of March, and is -- I fully believe -- one of the chosen who only needed to listen to the Gospel to become fully converted.

Pray for them!

I still love the rousing words of the Prophet Joseph Smith about the Work:
Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?  Go forward and not backward.  Courage, brethren; and on, onto the victory!  Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.  Let the earth break forth into singing.  Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.

 May we act according to the call. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Week of Blessings

We had some interesting days in the week. Wednesday was memorable in that we proselyted in a place we don't normally go. We went to a far-off part of our area by the river where instead of seeing the city, you saw mountains and a long dirt road, and the cliff upon which resides a more populated sector of the area. It reminded me of a community in a book I once read- very rural and a little dark, with mutters of adultery and attempted murder. We visited an old man with a farm of potatoes and lettuce. We tried to teach him, but he wanted to talk about how his neighbors were far too critical of one another, and how the scriptures teach how fasting is a sin. At the end of the day, a drunk man told us passionately he traveled seven times to the United States... 'but I NEVER arrived!!!' He sprayed us a bit with spittle as he spoke, and asked forgiveness for his ´escupidez´, which is like saying, 'stupidity'.

Another blessing of the week was meeting twice for trainings with Elder Montoya, a member of the Seventy. He spoke in General Conference two years ago. It was a wonderful experience. I like how he balanced missionary instruction with the fortification of our own testimonies.

We also had a baptism of a mother and her son who were very happy with their decision, although the water was mercilessly cold. The son is very excitable, and a good friend of ours. He's ten years old and hungrily waiting to go on a mission. The mother has been waiting for some time to be baptized, so it was a joyful day.

These are some of my experiences of the week. I hope you all had a good one, too. The church is always growing, and it has been since it began. It is never going to stop growing either, and while religious belief dwindles in these days, we need never worry the Church of Jesus Christ will dwindle. If we build it up in our lives, we share its destiny of success, until the perfect day. If in egotistic desires we build ourselves up, struggling to construct our own Babylonian towers, we limit the heights to which we might achieve. If we are meant to touch eternity, said towers will only provide stumbling blocks. Let the others toil and weeze....we stand tallest on our knees.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Week of Activities

We roll on in the Los Andes Ward with lots of successful ward activities this week. On Thursday, there was a Family Home Evening hosted by a member, open for us missionaries to invite investigators. They had a very nice flat...I felt a little of what I'll feel back home in houses. Why do they need that fancy light? They don´t even know how to play those instruments! Why does it smell nice? Why would a house need to be decorated like this? We had a young woman with her daughter attend, a seamstress who sits so wearily at the machine all day that the idea of an activity made her light up and get her things ready. 

The following day we had Mission Night, which is an activity generally run by the missionaries with a spiritual thought and some fun games. We accidentally booked the chapel at the same time as another ward´s mission night, so we just combined it and made it twice as big and twice as successful. There we had a mother and her son come, who are preparing for baptism this week. We also had a family who works at a funeral shop attend, including their relative. That day we were doing divisions with the Assistants...we visited the family just before the activity and answered the relative´s endless questions on every dark rumor on Mormonism the internet had offered him. Miraculously enough, he ended satisfied with our answers.

The following day, the Relief Society put together la Fiesta  del Amor (Party of Love) in preparation for Valentine´s Day. What garlic is to  vampires, ´love party´ is to missionaries. Nevertheless, we brought a family of investigators faithfully through the rainstorm accompanied by our faithful golden investigator of one week, who has already begun to help us with our other appointments. Finally, Sunday came, and we went to church. I was crestfallen to find not one of the investigators had come. The Sacrament was passed, and afterward they withdrew the curtain to reveal the overflow, where yet another investigator family was seated patiently all in a row. We hadn't seen them nearly all week, and to my knowledge the parents haven't attended in a long while. The father's presence was particularly miraculous, as he generally works on the weekends. So that was another good day.  And that was another good week. Elder Montoya comes this following week, so I'm excited to see what the following days bring. The church is true!

Monday, February 6, 2017

How Marvelous It Is

Here we go once more around the bend, as we enter into February. I'd like to mention how marvelous this church is in all the little details. I feel like it's a great candy store, and whenever I look in any one direction, whether it be at missionary work, or temples, or the scriptures, or modern prophets and apostles, or studies on the early church, or doctrine, I always am filled with a very personal feeling of admiration for that aspect. 

For example, this week, my mind reverted to family history work. There are so many people deep in the past with a sense of connection to us. With such minute attention, they watch our actions and ponder on what they can do to help. As we reach across in missionary work to bring others to the gospel, we can reach upward as well through temple work, and downward as we care for our families. May we strive to become anxiously engaged in a good work...and may we go on in so great a cause. In the name of Jesus Christ amen.