Besides that, we had emergency transfers because a couple of the hermanas are really sick and had to be brought in from outside areas. Sadly, Hma Mullisaca was transferred. That was a sad, sad day because she is my best friend i have made on my mission. However, the focus of our mission is to teach, not our friends, thus i was also grateful to get my new companion Hma Judd, a north american who has the same amount of time as me on my mission and actually we were in Bogota together too. It is hard because our spanish is the same, thus we cant progress as much language wise as we could have with latina companions, but we are both fluent enough to do absolutely everything just not 100% grammatically correct hahaha.
I LOVED our ward conference. our stake president is one of those little men who is 10 times more powerful than any physically big man. He understands his culture and the gospel and talks with the spirit, with love but with power. i just think he is such a prime of example of real priesthood power. He specifically talked to the men of our ward about not being "machista". He said, "sometimes i ask the men in my quorums what they have done recently to prove to their wives they should still love them (haha) and often they say to me oh! i helped her wash the clothes or i helped her cook some food. And then i think to myself How incredibly distorted we are in our way of thinking, We didnt marry washing machines, and we didnt marry Cooks. We married women who are our equals and we love them. If you think the role of your wife is to wash the clothes (remember here, washing clothes is a process that takes hours, a whole day almost if your family is big) you are wrong. Dont tell me you helped her wash the clothes one time. Go home and wash all the clothes, because it is your role too." and he talked more profoundly about how we do not stoop to our culture, we do not believe in being Machista. He said your wife is your equal companion, and that he was sad to know that their are still many men in the church treating their wives with condecension. It was such a good talk, especially after knowing myself many of the experiences of women here, in and out of the church.
Also, i had a little boost of strength the other day. During my last transfer in Montero, my first time as senior companion, i had felt really sad because we didnt have a baptism, and barely any investigators progressing (i didnt realize then that this is pretty normal in this mission, our areas are pretty difficult) and i felt like it was my fault that i couldnt speak spanish well enough or i wasnt leading well enough etc. my mission president told me to trust in God and his timing and ways. In my last 2 weeks in Montero, we found a family. The parents werent married and the dad had a drinking problem, but we taught them about God as their HeavenlyFather and invited them to church, and to our surprise the whole family came to church with us my last Sunday and i was thrilled. We taught them the restoration, and they committed to me that they would pray about Joseph Smith. The last time we tried to pass by for an appointment before my transfer, we found the dad drunk and the mom had left the home angry. I was sad, but told my companion to please try to work with them, as well as some of the leaders in our ward, and i left a short letter for the family telling them i knew i didnt know them too well but to please continue listening to the lessons and going to church, and that i knew it is true.
Well now, almost 2 whole transfers later, my old companion in Montero told me that this family has accepted a marriage date and baptism date for the! The parents and children. I then realized that a lot of us in this mission do not have many baptisms. One elder was in the ward i am presently in for almost 8 months of his mission and only had 2 converts, who are sisters. But it doesnt matter, because we are all working towards the same goal and for the same God, and sometimes we are the ones who light the spark or plant the seed, sometimes we have the wonderful privilege of seeing it grow strong, and sometimes we transfer just in time to see only the fruits or the baptism, but even then we will be part of this persons process as we reteach them as a recent convert. It doesnt matter - all that matters is that we were there in our time and tried hard to do the will of God, and eventually in the right time people will accept and be blessed. I told my mission president i was thankful for his advice and that i could see now that sometimes we just cant see what we can start if we dont lose hope and just try to share what we have. He told me if i wanted i can attend the baptism of this family in Montero.
I want you all to know that i love being here, i love sharing a message of truth and hope, many people can not see past the blinders of the world in order to understand the immensity of what we are offering, and for many i really dont believe it is their fault, but i love a quote by TS Elliot that is kind of what it will be like for the minds and hearts of people who are now living in hopelessness, when they are first exposed to the glorious love of our Savior when all will be revealed - "So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing" the burdens of sadness of numberless people will be lifted through the atonement, and they will see their true potential, a path of light instead of dead ends of obscurity.
Love you all,