Wednesday, January 4, 2017

December 19, 2016

Hola everyone!

I hope it has been a great week! 

This week has been really great! Almost all of the new investigators we found last week have dropped off, except Julian! When we went to go teach Julian this week, he wasn't home and his wife told us he was in the hospital. He wasn't answering our telephone calls, and so it was really unexpected when he called us right before church to say he would be coming! 

He is an old man, with a gray beard, and a walking cane. He loved church, especially gospel principles class where we talked a lot about families. He was making us laugh because he kept telling all of the members that these 2 angels (referring to Sister Whitney and I) had knocked on his door this week to bring him to church. We talked to him after church, and he agreed to be baptized! We are very excited! The only problem is that he loves ALL religions, and believes that they are all true. We were laughing because he was wearing a rosary AND a star of David at church yesterday. One of our conversations went like this:

Julian: Do you know where I was last night?

Us: No, where?

Julian: I was in a service with the Jehovah's Witnesses, they have been teaching me too!

Us: *mental face palm*

It will definitely be a challenge to help him understand that there is only one true church, and that after baptism he can't keep going around getting baptized in every church he comes across. We will be focusing on the Restoration of the gospel, and baptismal covenants with him this week, but he is super cool. He is also a war veteran, and he made us laugh because he said "if you have an emergency, don't call Julian!" We were just like "Ok...for sure." So funny!

We also had our ward Christmas party this week, which was a lot of fun. They had the primary put on a pageant, and it was super cute! They even had a live band in the background to accompany them. I love the ward members, and it was a great night! 

I am excited for this week! We will be having a big Christmas Conference as a mission, complete with a white-elephant gift exchange and everything! It should be super fun! Of course, Christmas will be great. I love this time of year that we have to focus a little bit more on our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, and that He loves us. He is there for us in the good times, and especially in the bad. He sets the perfect example for us, and we can find joy in following what He has asked us to do. I will be forever grateful for everything that He did, and continues to do for me. I hope we can all remember Him this week!

I love you all! Feliz Navidad!

This is part of her letter to me:

What a great week! Sometimes I forget that normal Christmas things still happen back home, but I'm glad you had fun at the Christmas breakfast, and everything!

Tell the boys good job on all of their recitals, how fun :)!

This week has been pretty good. Once again, all of our investigators have dropped off (except 1!), so we are still looking for people to teach. However, we have had a lot of experiences with ward members this week that have helped me to love them more than ever before. There are so many awesome people here, and I can't even explain how I love them because I don't even really know them, and sometimes I can't even understand what they are saying!

One of the experiences was the ward Christmas party. There are just some really awesome members, and it was a lot of fun. They had the primary do a pageant, it was the most elaborate pageant I've ever seen at a ward Christmas party-super cool! 

Another experience was when we went to visit a member named Hermana Rodriguez. Her daughters (24? and 13), are not baptized. Her older daughter is married, and has an adorable little 2 year old boy. She was super busy, so we were not able to teach her. However, her younger daughter (13) was able to listen to our lesson. We shared the Restoration video with her (I LOVE that video), and talked to her about Joseph Smith. She said that she believes Joseph Smith is a prophet, we started to talk to her about baptism, and she agreed to learn more and prepare for baptism! We were super excited, but something changed, we really don't know what happened, but the next second she changed her mind and wouldn't set up another time to meet with us, and didn't want to get baptized. It made us so sad. After the lesson, her mom (Hermana Rodriguez) told us a little bit more about her story. Hermana Rodriguez met her husband just about a year after being baptized into the church. Her husband taught her a lot of about the gospel, he even taught her how to pray. Her husband was a super faithful member and a returned missionary. However, after being married for about 20 years, something happened (she didn't say what) but it caused him to lose the spirit. The way she explained it, because he no longer had the spirit, he lost his testimony. Not just that, but he turned anti. Now, it is a constant struggle in their home because Hermana Almeida Rodriguez is super firm in her testimony, and her husband is super anti, and her daughters are caught in the middle of it all. It is such a heartbreaking situation, and I felt so much love and respect for her when she told us her situation. I wish there was more we could do for her, but all we can do is pray.

Another cool experience with the members happened last night. We have been super worried about our recent convert, Mari, because she is in so much pain all the time that she can't take care of her kids, so she calls us, but there are lots of rules as missionaries, and we aren't allowed to help her with her kids. She calls us probably 7 times a day, but there is really just nothing we can do. She is already in contact with the Relief Society president, but she was really struggling this week. When we showed up to visit her, we were overjoyed to find a sister from the ward in her home. This sister had brought her two daughters with her, and together they were feeding the kids dinner, helping them get ready for bed, and cleaning up the house. I felt so much love for this sister who had just taken the initiative to serve Mari, not because she had been asked to do it, but because she had seen a need and had decided to serve. It was such a relief! Mari was doing much better. 

Also, last night we went to visit a super cool less-active recent convert named Herber. Herber is 21, and he lives with lots of his cousins who aren't members. We could hear them drinking and partying in the back yard during the lesson, but Herber is so amazing! He doesn't come to church because he works so much. He is working for his family, because his parents and siblings are still in El Salvador. He is the only member in his family, but he has an amazing testimony. He knows that he needs to come back to church, and he promised to come this Sunday. After the visit we were secretly planning to send him on a mission, and then to have him find an adorable little Latino mormon girl and get married in the temple. It's going to happen!

Anyways, I was just feeling a lot of love for our ward this week, which helped a lot because our investigators have not been progressing so we have had to drop them. 

I will write a little more in the group email too. I hope that it is an awesome week! Good luck with everything :)!! I'm excited to talk to you on Sunday!! 

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