This week has been really so great. This cambio has been a struggle for me, my companion is not motivated, and we started out the cambio having absolutely no one progressing and no investigators because right at the end with my last companion we had lost several because of traveling or family problems. and then throughout this whole cambio, we have not had barely any references (PLEASE give references to the missionaries in your wards - i feel their pain!! almost every convert is from a reference, knocking doors really is not effective), and so we have been knocking doors and being rejected and i have been struggling because i have been acting as senior companion and feeling like everything is my fault because i dont speak spanish perfectly and i am not totally familiar with the culture, etc etc. However, i spoke with my presidente a little at a recent zone meeting, and was reminded to calm down and trust in the lord. i have been trying to do that, to calm down and pray to him as my loving and personal father that i can have the strength to always try harder as a missionary, but also put things in his hand and work in his way. This last week we set a date of baptism with Nicole, an 18 year old whose family is really catholic, but who is interested in our message of the restoration, Mariela the 26 year old sister of a recent convert has attended church twice now and is participating the relief society activities, and we found the Familia Davalos. We met with the parents for a tiny bit to talk about prayer, and then one time more Saturday to share the Restoration and Joseph Smith. it is a real blessing that neither really have a history with the catholic church, only evangelical. The evangelicals are always more open to listen to us hahaha. Anyways, yesterday, their whole family attended church, for all 3 hours, the parents in their classes, and their 4 children in their own classes. when we couldnt get ahold of them by phone we practically ran to their home at to remind them, and the dad was outside shaving like "yeah i know thats why im shaving" haha. i couldnt believe it, it is SO HARD to get people, 1. to remain interested after hearing about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, 2. to actually show up at the church at , especially because the culture here is so slow and without a fixed schedule, and 3) stay for the whole thing!! Whaddaheck!!! The Bishop invited them to his house, and we have a big huge festival this week that they are going to attend.
Anyway, i dont know what will happen with this family. the parents arent married and there are still so many things to learn. i am going to try to have every faith that they will be baptized. However, i think i am going to be transferred this week and they will be left in the hands of my ward, and possibly my companera... but i know God can help any situation to work out. i am so grateful to Him for this amazing blessing in the very last week of this long cambio, haha. if anything, i know the seed of faith is now planted in the hearts of this family. I just hope they will let it grow and allow themselves to view their own incredible potentials and make the changes necessary to realize the wonderful blessings of the gospel. i gave them a book of mormon yesterday with a note of testimony inside, and if i do transfer i am going to leave them a personal note to move foward with faith.
I have also been able to have my testimony of working with the members strenghthened recently. We had been working with Jaime, a 23 year old guy who knows the church is true, but basically out of laziness stopped coming for a year. We had met with him multiple times trying to encourage him to return to church. it wasnt until we brought Jexael, his friend who we baptized about a month ago, to his home to help with a lesson. Jexael bore strong testimony of the gospel, of sacrifce, and of obedience, and since then Jaime has been attending about every other week and soon will be given a calling. I had a similar experience with Betty, a woman of probably about 65 years who has also been inactive for over a year, but says she knows its all true. i had visited her with all three of my companions many many times. and every time she used the excuse that she works sundays and cant give up the money she can make. we brought Ana Maria, an older woman in our ward who literally serves everyone all the time, and this woman told her own story of how she prayed and prayed and almost lost her job when she, after also being inactive for almost a year, decided church attendence was more important than money. And remember these people are extremely poor, basically living in what we would call dumps. After her testimony, Betty cried, and since then has also attended church about every other week. I know that if we as members, can ask the missionaries how we can help, our testimonies and experiences will convey the spirit to the hearts of people who are in need. Please volunteer yourself to accompany the missionaries in your wards, or invite friends over for a family home evening and bring the missionaries, or give them references, even if its a friends in a different state. the church´s system of organization is incredible. i could give my mission office a reference in the states right now and they could have missionaries in the specific area alerted before the end of this week.
Anyway, besides all this, weird things continually happen as usual. one pastor woman prayed for our lost souls at the end of a lesson haha. one of my many old men admirers tried to chat me up with more aggression than normal until i turned and told him somos misioneras de la iglesia de jesucristo, nos gustaria invitarle a lastodo los domingos, haha. and i guess it was a pretty big turn off because thats when he stopped following me. One morning i woke up and walked into our bathroom only to find larva squirming around on our toilet seat. Bolivia is just surprising me around every corner hahah.
I love you all so much. today our internet was the worst ever, so sorry to all the people i didnt write back!