April 20, 2009 (Package received, food inventoried, food eaten, apartment pics, beach pics)
Hello Family! I'm just writing to let you know that I love you!
I'm also sending a lot of pictures of the happenings of the week. For example, I received the Easter package filled with junk food! Oh man, does my family know me or what? Thank you so much! I got the package on Friday, the 17th of April, and all the food disappeared before the end of the night. (but not really, we're still enjoying the chocolately goodness of the States -- and so are many of my investigators). Other pictures: mom was a little afraid that I didn't have a kitchen, so I'm sending some rocking pictures of our little cooking station. We're still cooking pancakes every morning for breakfast, and I'm really looking forward to baking some brownies in another week or so!
Today, we went to La Cueva again and took some pictures as a zone. We then explored a few caves, played dodgeball on the beach, and had a good time. I'm only sending a few pictures of that because I didn't have time to take too many. :(
But, the most important thing that happened this week were the miracles that took place in the ward in which I am working. It was literally the best week of the mission, if not the best week of my life. We have been focusing on purifying our lives to teach with more power and authority, and I can tell that obedience really is a principle of power. I think Jacob will be interested in the numbers of the week, as he was recently serving as a missionary himself. To start out (as follows in your missionary daily planner): 0 0 7 10 15 14 - 4 - 10. That is to say, we had 0 baptisms, 7 baptismal dates, 10 investigators in our sacrament meeting, 15 lessons with members present, 14 other lessons, 4 referals from members, and 10 new investigators. What miracles! We worked hard this week, and we saw the fruit of all of our effort these past two transfers. I can definitely say that my Heavenly Father is merciful and loving, and he has allowed my companion and I to have the great success, even when we as His servants are imperfect and make mistakes every day.
I can really feel the love of my Heavenly Father in every aspect of this great work, for every single person we meet on the streets, knocking on doors, in the home of members, etc. It is truly a grand blessing to be a missionary in these latter days, to see the Lamanites here in South America bloom like a rose in the desert. I wish I could tell you about every single investigator that we have! I just love them all! Maybe I'll have more time on Mother's day to talk about them...
I'll just write a little bit about two of them: Silvia and Ivania. Silvia is a single mom; her husband died some years back, and her daughter, Ivania, is nine years old. We found them just by talking to people in the street, and in our second lesson, we gave a baptismal challenge for the 2nd of May. They accepted the challenge full-heartedly and have come to church twice since that time. Silvia, however, started to speak with people of different faiths and have some doubts. As we taught, my companion and I felt the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and we just went for it. At the end, we kneeled in prayer together. The Sunday after this (yesterday), we spoke with them in the church. Ivania still had a huge smile on her face (like always), and her mom (Silvia) told us that they prayed and that she was willing to continue forward all of her life because she felt in her heart that it was true. What a miracle! This is why I love being a missionary. I love seeing the change wrought in the hearts of the people and the joys they receive when they forsake their sins and follow Jesus Christ.
Well, that's about all. Just to let you know, the life in the mission is the best. I love you, and I'll write again next week!