July 5, 2010 (Cesar was Baptized!)
I hope you had an awesome Fourth of July! I'll try to fill you all in on our week. It went great! :)
Let's see, the first miracle was that our investigator César García Barraza was baptized! The baptismal service went really well. His wife, Lorena, gave a talk, as did another member of the branch. I played a little viola piece, and then we performed the ordinance. At the end, Elder Dinamarca spoke, and it was amazing. We have truly seen so much growth in this little branch; I know that the Lord is working along side of us here in Diego de Almagro!
We have a new mission president now, and though we haven't met him yet, I know he's going to be awesome. Yesterday, I got kind of sick, so I called up his wife (who speaks no Spanish!) and she seems really nice. I'm excited to get to know them a little bit better. It also looks like I'll be staying here in Diego de Almagro for the rest of my mission! This week marks the first week of my second to last transfer in the mission. Isn't it crazy how fast time flies? I am also officially the last Branch President missionary in the entire mission, though we're hoping to change that soon. We have been truly blessed with lots of great brothers being baptized in the branch, and soon they will be receiving the Aaronic and then the Melchizedek priesthood. It really is a great experience to be working in the branch and see the progress we've had while I've been working here. It's crazy to think about all of the miracles and changes that a few short months have brought into the lives of many of my brothers and sisters here in this little town. Our Heavenly Father is truly a God of miracles!
Let's see, I'm also attaching some pictures of our 4th of July. I was sick, so we only went out proselyting for a couple of hours. While I was sleeping, my companion baked an awesome cake, so that's how we celebrated. It was pretty fun! (even though it's always a bummer to be sick...).
There's not too much more to tell... Oh yeah, this might be kind of a fun story to share. We are sharing the Gospel with an awesome family here in Diego de Almagro. However, the family is VERY Catholic. When we passed by this week, the wife had gone to our church the week before and told us that she loved it. However, she didn't want to change churches because she's been Catholic all of her life. She expressed her feelings towards the virgen Mary (here in Chile, the people pray to Mary and other virgens and saints, and it is a huge part of their worshipping). She also said that she prayed for a sign to see what she should do, and she was then invited to a lot of activities at the Catholic church, and she felt that it was God telling her to not change churches.
After conversing for a bit, her husband came into the room. We shared about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the way to apply His atoning sacrifice (through the Gospel of Jesus Christ). It was a powerful lesson, and the spirit was really strong. The husband is also a devout student of the bible, and he participated a lot and felt the spirit as we taught. As we concluded the lesson, we invited the matrimony to express their feelings about what we were teaching. The husband expressed his gratitude, and then all of the sudden he started bashing the Catholic church! He spoke of indulgences, the corruption of the bible, and many other things. While he was speaking, his wife just stared at him in unbelief. Then, just to thrown in a bit more, he said, "And the virgen wasn't even a virgen! She was until she gave birth to Christ, but then she had other children. That's why it talks about Jesus' brothers in Matthew." His wife, by this time, looked about ready to cry. She said, "You have no idea what it feels like to know that everything you believed in for 27 years isn't true..."
At the end of the lesson, my companion and I were trying very hard to encourage the wife and help her feel better. All we could do was leave her with an invitation to pray and ask God to help her find the truth. We have yet to follow up on this commitment, but I hope it all goes well! The words of her husband were a bit brutal, but who knows? It might be exactly what she needed to really search for truth and God's will for her. I hope and pray that we can help her and her husband to find the truth, to feel the spirit and have a great change of heart. And I know that it's possible; I have seen so many miracles in this great work that I cannot deny the converting power of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we left this house after that lesson, I was contemplating the many mercies of God and His miraculous power. As I was pondering, my companion looked over at me and said, "I think that was the greatest lesson I've ever had in my entire mission. Her husband totally destroyed the virgen!"
Well, I think that's about it for now. I'm really enjoying the work here in Diego de Almagro, and though I'm still a little sick with this cold, I'm planning on going and resting for a bit this afternoon.