August 4th, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
This has been a great couple of weeks. Sorry for not really filling anyone in on things for a while. I got to go back to Montero and see the family get baptized, the one i found in my last couple weeks in Montero, and taught the first lesson to, and was with them the first time they attended church. They have now worked with 7 sister missionaries for more than 3 months and were finally ready to be baptized. I gave a small talk in their baptism, and told them although i had never had the chance to really get to know them, it was such a privilege to have felt those special first moments with them that started it all. After they were baptized, the dad, who had been the biggest problem all along for his drinking and other problems in his past, was crying. He said he was so happy to see his children in white, and that he wanted to press on as a family. He could barely express what he was feeling. I know we are in places when we are needed, and others when they are needed. I would have loved to have found this family a little bit earlier so that i could have been the one to view their process of conversion, however even then i could not express myself super well in spanish and i was still learning so many things, i know it was meant to be that day i decided to talk with them outside of their little house, and i also know it was meant to be that i was transfered, and that they worked with only latina missionaries for a good time.
Another little miracle is when we stepped into a little store to buy something when we were running late for a family home evening. Some men needed to transfer a giant coca cola machine into the store, and were blocking the exit for several minutes. We needed to go and were a little impatient, but when the exit was finally open, there stood Gabriel, my investigator from more than a transfer ago who never showed up to his own baptism. If we had not have been delayed in that store, i dont know how we would have found him, because he does not have a cell phone. We talked and he admitted to me he was ready to start again, that he had been very embarrassed before, and couldnt imagine what i thought of him. I told him he didnt not need to worry about any of that, and we had some faith promoting lessons, and he is back on track with a baptism date again. He always tells me Muchas gracias por su ayuda Hermana BigMan. Hahaha.
Meanwhile, Hermana Judd and i had decided it was time to search out some new investigators. Like always, we dont like to knock doors, but its necessary if members arent giving references. We planned out a time black of two hours to knock doors, and found that through answers to prayers, it was not even necessary. I dont even know exactly how it worked out but we now have 2 families, who have come to church for two Sundays now. That is literally so rare here its crazy. The problem is that the parents of both families are not married, which is normal. It is difficult to explain to people that they have to get married to baptize. One family is Adelaida and her 15 year old daughter Angeli. Angeli is one of the most intelligent teenagers i have met. She caught on so fast to what we were explaining, prayed to God about Joseph Smith the very night we invited them to (nobody does that) and recieved her answer. She has told us she already accepts, knows its true, and wants to be baptized. She was literally taking notes during sacrament meeting. The only thing is that her mom still isnt sure, and shes not married, and the dad wants nothing to do with us. So we are still working with them, and we would love your prayers for them. David and Eliana are the other family, with their three young children. They are a rare, rare couple in that they seem to make their decisions together, equally, and are very communicative and open with each other. They told us after the first Sunday that they wanted to baptize as a family, but they also arent married. We still have to discuss this witht the husband. It is nearly impossible to have lessons with husbands and wives together. The men are working all day every day except Sunday, from super early in the morning until super late at night, their wives dont even see them. But we are going to try to take advantage of the Independence day of Bolivia this week to talk to them both more. Pray for them, that they can accept the necessity of marriage in order to be baptized.
I am extremely grateful for what is happening right now. I told my companion that even if these people are not baptized with us, because it is super hard to get people baptized in one, even two transfers, i know they have felt real impressions, and that they will be so much more prepared to accept in the future. But i am also trying to have the faith that we will baptize them. I feel much more comfortable now, with my spanish, with my ability to help people through questions and simple powerful explanations of principles, but at the same time i can always feel my lack. This is part of life, and can motivate us to improve if we let it, so that is also what i am trying to do.
Thank you for all your support,