Muy Buenos Tardes Familia!
Well, this week has been pretty good, it ended better than it started. Tuesday through Thursday was ROUGH. Those three days we only had I think 3 lessons, because 12 fell through. 12. Including 3 with Familia Guerrero. They’ve disappeared. Again. Which really frustrates me. But the weekend is really really well, and it’s looking like we might have a couple of baptisms on the 29th of July. We are pushing forward to make it a “white night” which is where you baptize more than 5 people at one time, in one service. We are hoping, we’ve got one family that came to church this week of five people. We are hoping to teach them and continue teaching them and get them progressing. We also have another new family and we’ve got Elvira Blanco, who works in a ropa… geez…clothing store. And she is amazing. She has read the Book of Mormon twice now and is ready to be baptized. She just needs to attend church 2 more times. We just worked things out so that she could attend. We helped her get that so now we are looking free and clear with that so that’s a for sure on the 29th. This area has been a tough turkey, but it’s looking like it’s going to pay off here, and just before I leave gosh dang it. But, transfers happened, not a whole lot happened here, there were 3 missionaries that got moved in the entire zone out of 16 missionaries. We’ll get a new Zone Leader, not sure who that’s gonna be. Elder Flores went, Elder Flores got appendicitis this week, that was his adventure. Had to take him to the hospital, el pronto (fast). That was crazy. That was about it. New Zone Leader, Elder Flores, and another missionary went home, she got sick. She’s from Brazil.
I want to tell you guys a little bit about Elvira, or EL-VY-RUH in English. Maybe I already told you guys about her. Oh well. She has been looking all of her life for the truth. She has been to every church you can think of including the last one was an Evangelical church. Here in Colombia, they call Born Again Christians “Evangelio’s”. it’s like a group, not any specific religion. It’s like Born Again Christians. This particular church that she had was messed up. They took all that she had in the name of “Tithing” and I guess the pastor, who was a lady, made her bow in front of her and weird stuff like that. Just humiliated her. When she left the church finally (she went there for 1 year) and when she left there, the pastor sent people to tell Elvira that she was going to hell. That really worried her, although the thing about Elvira is that she is SO sincere. They just took advantage of her for that. It ….
-Break in the Audio as Elder Lewis speaks with his companion-
Don’t know if you heard that or not, but that was my companion, Elder Villarroel. He’s a good Joe. Bit in on the timid side, but ya know, he has really gotten over that. We have been together for 6 weeks now and we are gonna be together for another 6 if he can stand me for that long. He says he thinks so. He said he would rather do that than return to his house, so at least there’s that haha.
Let’s see, Elvira… she has really been the best investigator that I have taught, because she doesn’t understand why we need to pay tithing, but she accepts it anyway. She doesn’t like it a whole lot because of what happened with her in the Evangelical church, but she said that she knows this is true, so she is going to follow to the letter. I don’t know about you guys, but I was blown away by that. You couldn’t have surprised me more. She just says profound stuff like that all the time. It’s really cool. Like… (She said this on Sunday) “Hey Elders, I had a dream last night. I am ready to be baptized.” You couldn’t have surprised me more if you hit me in the face with a 2x4. Really though, that’s what you dream about as a missionary. That’s the golden phrase. I just wish we had more investigators like her.
Also, we had a really cool reference this week, from Mormon.org. When you get a reference from Mormon.org, you better do it because when somebody goes there and they request a Book of Mormon and a visit from the Missionaries, they send you the reference, and then they call you. They say “Did you receive the reference?” and we say “yes.” And they say “Ok, well you better go visit them because we will be calling them to make sure you guys got there.” So ya, needless to say, we visited and set an appointment right after that phone call with Joanna. And Joanna found the church found the church by her own initiative, she was looking for things about Jesus Christ on the internet, and she found Mormon.org. She is joven, about 24, and her family is pretty Catholic, and we got there and were teaching her and her brother. I don’t know, she was just another person that just asks good questions. She was prepared. She just asks “hey I don’t know if this is allowed, but can I invite the rest of my family to listen?” and again it was another jaw-dropping moment. We had to get our brains working again just to respond. But ya, that was a really cool visit. She accepted the Book of Mormon and the invitation to read it and the invitation to be baptized as well. If you guys don’t know it, but at the beginning of the first lesson, we say “at the end of this lesson, we are going to ask you to be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood power of God.” And then we teach the lesson and then we ask them “If you read the Book of Mormon and receive an answer, will you be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God?” and she said “yes.” The majority do say yes, but this is different. We are excited because our next appointment with them is this week. I don’t know what happened with the lesson, but it was a little bit rough. Just lack of practice this week I guess. We have gotten better at it as we have studied it in companionship study and things, it’s just that we need to go back. We learn lesson 1 in week 1, and it’s week 7 now and we have to go back and continually revisit the lesson. My companion said that “in the middle of the lesson I didn’t know what to do.” But it turned out well and we have a return visit this week.
Well family, we went to the temple again, we took advantage of the Holiday here in Colombia, Here in Colombia certain Mondays are called lunes festivos, and today is one of those. I don’t know what they celebrate, but they celebrate it!
The district is doing pretty well, we had a good week. It sure was weird, because we had a really crappy first part of the week, and then it just took off from there. Then we had 7 people at the church when it’s normally 2 or 3. So that’s pretty good. I pray that the Lord will keep blessing us. We really do feel unworthy of all the blessings that he gives us in spite of our shortcomings and things that we drop or forget to do. Of all those things, he still blesses us. He still blesses the people here. That really goes to show you that it isn’t about us, not because we teach well, we try to teach well, but it’s really the Lord’s work and I know his hand is in it. I have seen it.
Well, let’s see. I think that was the week. I just want to leave you guys with the knowledge that I know that Jesus is the Christ, the very son of the living God. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet. All of these things I really do know, and as I speak about them I feel my heart burn within me. That’s how I know. I told one of our investigators, Griselda, that I really can’t pin down one day that I gained my testimony. For me it was different. For me it was I read the Book of Mormon. A lot of my testimony came here on the mission. I read the Book of Mormon every day. The feelings that I got and the things that I learned, the things that came to my mind, the things that I learned about my Heavenly Father testified to me that they’re true. Eventually, I just knew. As much as I am living and breathing, they are true. I love you guys so much, and I hope you have a great week. Chao Chao!!