(Sydney didn’t take this photo, but this is the area that she is serving)
Things are going well here in Coca. We’re getting used to the heat, but it’s really not too bad, we’ll have a nice farmer’s tan after this sector. The branch continues to support our efforts, they are doing their best. It’s hard to see that there are only about a dozen strong members and only about 5 are really holding everything together, but their efforts really inspire me to do more and be better. This week we had activities with the young women and all of the youth and it went well. These young women especially need good role models here. the majority of the women here in Coca are mistreated or have 6 kids with 6 different men, broken homes and broken families. It’s easy to see why the gospel and the commandments are so essential in the home. It has given me an even greater motivation to share this message with as many individuals and families possible.
This week we had some amazing experiences. We found some people with great potential. we sat down and talked with a woman who has been having great troubles in her family and in her relationship, and we immediately began to testify that the restored gospel really does bring peace and happiness. Immediately after my companion offered the first prayer, the woman looked at us, with tears in her eyes, and said “I want to go to your church, I want to know God” it was very special and she accepted a Book of Mormon and said that she would read it to find the peace that she desperately needs in her life.
I think crying is a normal thing here in coca, because the other day we had another lesson with a woman who has great interest in the gospel, and we shared the restoration with her. As we shared the first Vision of Joseph Smith she started crying. I thought that things like that only happened in movies like “The Best Two Years” haha. But seriously she started crying and told us that as she listened to the experience, she felt an overwhelming need to strengthen her relationship with God and listen to our message in its entirety. So that was a really cool experience.
Another experience that has to do with crying. So the ward mission leader called us right before sacrament meeting to tell us that we had to give talks in church. we had about ten minutes to prepare. I felt like I was back in high school, living the nightmare of procrastination all over again. but yeah I chose to give my talk on the Plan of Salvation and ho marvelous it is to know who we are and why we are here and where we are going. Well later that day we met with an investigator family that attended church and the mom told us that her 10 year old son cried during my talk because I talked about death and he’s afraid of dying. So the mom asked us if we could explain the Plan of salvation to her son and help him to understand. The faith of this mom really struck me, because she knows with all of her heart that the Plan of Salvation is real and that it can calm the fears of her son. It was awesome to be able to answer the question of this young boy and see that the message of the Plan of redemption is something familiar for us all, because it really is the story of our existence.
Familia Almeida are doing great, their baptism is scheduled for this Saturday. They both have strong testimonies, and even though Hermano Jose doesn’t understand everything he reads or everything that is said in church, he has great faith that leads him to follow Christ and keep the commandments. Kerly understands everything and is a great help to the young women organization, she is always actively involved and participating. She loves reading the Book of Mormon. The members have been a huge help, a strong family invited them over yesterday to show them how to have family night and hermanarles.
Lester Lapo Moreno is a young man that we met last week when he attended church, and yesterday was our first lesson with him, even though he’s attended seminary for a year and church almost every Sunday for 10 months, the missionaries only recently started to visit him. We had planned to share the Restoration with him, but he already knew every detail of the Restoration and basically taught it to us, he even shared his testimony that he knows that this church is true because he received an answer to his many prayers and has felt the truth through the Holy Ghost. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and knows it`s true, he knows all of the commandments, and he asked us when he can be baptized. He’s really prepared, and we want to continue teaching him and choose an inspired date for his baptism. He has a great relationship with the Relief Society President, who teaches the seminary class, and knows and is friends with all of the other youth. and he loves the gospel!
Love this work, love the mission, everything is great. Thank you for your prayers!!!
Love, Hermana Means