Hello to all!
Of course, the week when I find myself being more efficient and having more time for the "main email", I didn't have time to collect my thoughts on what to write, but I have some ideas, and hope the Spirit will be here to express myself well.
We had an awesome Sunday in church! We have many investigators progressing and attending church, which is always a plus. We have been working really hard with our buddy Carlos, who is such a great guy that even though of being able to know him is such an overwhelming blessing, let alone be here to see him stop smoking completely, change his life, and be baptized and married in this weekend! He is a great guy. We visited him after church with our District President, and talked about the baptism and wedding. Carlos, Alfredo, and Marlene will get baptized in the Rio Parana! We are working hard with the two teens so that they can keep understanding well and preparing, but its looking good for this Sunday. I am so proud of them and their desires to change. Even his soon-to-be-wife that was inactive for more than 15 years has came around and fits in great in the branch. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with them, this preparation has been and will continue to be stressful, and require many prayers and efforts from everyone (including you all at home), but I am really excited to be a part of it.
We are also teaching a 19 year old that has read the whole Book of Mormon, but got mixed up in doubts, false doctrines and theories about our Church, and confusion, and ended up not being baptized about 2 years ago. He came to us wanting to learn more, and we started teaching him but he wouldn't commit to anything. The other day, we go in and I had marked Alma 32 for him to read about faith. He comes back and quotes it word for word, analyzing new things I had never realized and saying that he needs to open up more and have more faith, and not "over analyze" everything about the church, and just let his heart open up. I felt the Spirit testify that I needed to share the Joseph Smith Story. We followed it up with Alma 7, it was a spiritual lesson, and at the end, I asked him what he thought he could do to know the truth, totally expecting a "read, pray, go to church, etc." but he hits us with a "enter into the water and get baptized!" I couldn't believe my ears! He committed himself to be baptized, something he wouldn't even come close to committing to do before. He said that 3 Nephi 27 really has help with his doubts, which is a great chapter.
Also at church, we had another miracle! We started working with a family that had been inactive for years. They have tons of kids, 1 of which hasn't been baptized yet. We started working with the parents, and we had a great lesson about the Sabbath Day, and the blessings that they would receive if they went to church yesterday. They said that they didn't think they'd go, but "they'd see". I remember praying really hard for them Saturdays night....Whaddaya know! Sunday morning they all come walking in the doors, I just about died. It was so great to see them all there, including the one who isn't baptized. She is progressing well.
We had a big training meeting this last week, where President and Hermana Madariaga were there. We learned about diligence, and how to become more united as a mission, with God, Christ, our companions, our branches, and with ourselves. I learned so much! We had our interviews with President, and I am so thankful for him. We were able to talk, and it just felt great being around him. He is such a great servant of the Lord, and I am thankful for him and his efforts. We talked a lot about leadership, and the plans the Lord has in store for me as a leader, which always makes me feel overwhelmed and incapable, but I am excited to see the changes that I am striving to make in order to become a great leader.
I am so thankful for this awesome branch, its such a blessed area. I love the people here, and the things I have learned here have changed my life and mission so much. I still have a long way to go, but I am starting to see the changes not only in the things here, but in myself. I am thankful for the mission, its such a great opportunity to grow, change, and love. I love the mission, and hope all you RMs haven't forgot about the great things you learned. All you future missionaries, I would take Elder Hollands Priesthood talk seriously and get on board! Don't miss the opportunity to serve the Lord, its the opportunity of a lifetime.
Keep us in your prayers, its going to be a great week!
Until next week,