Everything is good. I ate the best Patacones (fried plantains) that I’ve had yet, I saw a monkey today, and my companion is consecrated to the work. I’m loving it.
Jose and Kerly were baptized this week, and it was amazing to see their faithfulness and the change that has happened in their lives. Even though we only had the privilege of teaching them for two weeks before their baptism, we were able to witness sincere repentance and humility in them, and that their understanding of the doctrine of Christ was able to grow. The mother continues to be a little hard of heart, but we are hoping with time, and with the support of the members, that she will open up. Their other son, Jerson, has come to church these last two weeks that we´ve been teaching him, and he accepted a baptismal date a lot more firmly the last time we visited him.
This week we had lots of people at church, 14 attended church this week, and a good amount are living within the law of chastity as far as their living situations so we were really happy. One of those that attended is 20 year old Anthony, we found him this week and only had time to teach a 10 minute version of How to begin Teaching and the Restoration. But remarkably he came to the baptismal service on Saturday and to church on Sunday and really wants to learn more. His friend from high school is one young men that is currently serving a mission from the branch, and so he already knows a family in the branch. On Sunday we visited him, and he committed to reading the Book of mormon and praying to know the truth. I really feel that he could progress and be baptized very quickly, he has such a sincere desire.
This week in my studies I focused a lot on Faith, and realized that we need to really invite the people we teach to exercise their faith. I think as missionaries sometimes we focus too much on that we need to teach them everything and that they need to know everything to accept the gospel. But I`m starting to realize that our function is not to give them everything and make the path easy for them. Our function is to invite them to do the difficult and exercise their faith. so many investigators want to receive an answer or see blessings without doing anything, without “experimenting on the word.” But as missionaries we must make the same invitation that Christ made to his Apostles to leave everything behind and follow Him. Yesterday we had an amazing lesson with a couple who are reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and attending church. They are very intelligent, hard working people, but they are not married. As we taught them the Gospel of jesus Christ I basically told them “Hey look, I know what we are asking you to do is not easy. We are asking you to get married, stop drinking, attend a church every Sunday for the rest of your life, be baptized, read a book you’ve never heard of every day, etc. We are asking you to give up everything and change your life completely, we understand. But it’s not because we are asking you, it’s because the Lord is asking you and he has much bigger plans for you and your family. He asks for all of you so that he can give you something much bigger in return. We don’t want you to be converted to the church, we want you to be converted to the Lord, to put your life in His hands and trust in Him.” I’ve realized that as representatives of Christ, we cannot invite people to do anything less than “take up His cross and follow Him.” It’s the hardest message in the world, but the most rewarding and satisfying message that anyone could ever offer. I want those we teach to put their faith in Christ without seeing what lies ahead of them.
I loved Hebrews 11 and Ether 12 in my studies.
Enjoy General Conference!!!