Shoutout to the newest October Ensign!!! The Book of Mormon is awesome! I testify as a representative of Jesus Christ that is true and it testifies that Jesus is our Savior and the Redeemer of the world.
This week we had some good stuff happen. BUT...of course with all of the good stuff, there has to be some opposition as well! One example being that one day this week we tracted into a man who wasnt the nicest fella alive. He immediately called us all sorts of names and said some stuff that I was pretty confused about. Apparently us missionaries are only here to get out of military service! Mom and dad, why didnt you tell me earlier what I was getting out of?! No, I'm just kidding. Even though there are some party poopers every now and then, the good things that happen always outweigh the negative!
One cool thing has to do with one of our investigators, Juanito. He is an 18 flaite (gangster or thug) His sister just got baptized last week and he wants to follow her example but we havent been able to find him or teach him still. So one day me and my companion were walking downtown in Santa Barbara and I said "man, I want to find Juanito so we can teach him something" and right then we go around a corner and there he is walking toward us with his friend! Wow! Ha ha. I was thought *not coincedence* Then a few days later, we went to Juanito's uncle's house, who is a member, and we asked him when he thought a good time to have a lesson with him, Juanito and Ismael would be. (Ismael is another investigator) He said that he can whenever but we just need to talk to Juanito. But he said Juanito is out in his house in the country and he wouldnt come until the weekend....but right then, Juanito walked in front of his house with Ismael! Ha ha. *Not coincedence* went through my mind again! I know that the Lord is part of this work. We were able to talk to Juanito and help him make a plan to stop some of his vices to start preparing for baptism.
We had some good lessons with Daniela this week. We taught her the law of chastity which was great. She commited to live it and she is excited about general conference this weekend. Her baptismal date is for the 8th of October. We told her to bring whatever question she has to the conference and we promised her that it will be answered. I also invite any of you who would like to do the same.
Our investigator Margaret has had a little trouble with being able to come to church. She has only come once because of the difficult circumstances of having to take care of her old sick grandpa and this week she was for sure going to come and then her godfather died! She knows the gospel is true and wants to get baptized so much but its been hard for her to come. I think its because we didnt sing "Saturday is a special day" to her this week like I said we would....just kidding. We will continue praying for her and trying to help her get to church.
One of our investigators, Mitsy, has been having some really tough challenges. She has a lot of sicknesses and she is struggling right now in her family life as well. Not with Patricio, her partner, but with other family members. We have been trying really hard to help her and Patricio (member) to get married so they can live the law of chastity and so Mitsy can get married. One of the sicknesses that Mitsy has is keeping them from being intimately close because it is contageous. She doesnt want to give the disease to Patricio...so she has prayed a lot so that the disease can go away and they can be like a normal couple again....but....it made me think, can we really ask God to cure us or make us stronger so that we can CONTINUE sinning? I dont know if you are catching my drift? She wants to be cured so that she can keep breaking the law of chastity. Its like asking God if he can make us strong so we can go beat someone up or something. It doesnt make sense. I hope she gets better, but I hope she can understand that God wants her to get MARRIED after that!
OH! I have some great news! We are no longer the counselors to the branch president! YAAYYY! We are so stoked. We have been praying and working for this day. And it has come! The branch is growing and we are seeing miracles. I love this work and I love the fruit of this work. The fruit of the tree of life that is exceedingly delicious and satisfying! (the love of God) and what I love the most is when others come to taste the fruit also.
This week we had a miracle...we have been struggling to find more investigators, so we fasted on Saturday and invited all of the branch to fast with us for those who do not know God (Alma 6:6) For the inactive members, for everyone here... Well, just a few hours into the fast, me and my companion felt like we should visit a certain man who we contacted last week, Pablo. So we went to his house (right in front of the church) He let us in and he started conversing with us about his live. He has felt really alone the last couple years...and he has had a lot of challenges. He is searching for something but he doesnt really know what. We kept talking to him, feeling like there was more to it that just that, and finally we gained his confidence and he finally said that his wife died two years ago and right afterward he lost his job. It was extremely hard for him and he was left with three kids and jobless. He got another job, but the hole caused by the death of his wife continues to be a huge challenge for him. We talked about the resurrection and he really struggles to believe in the resurrection now. We read from 1 Corinthians 15 to him about the resurrection, especially v. 14 I think and v. 22 I think....that yes, we will live again. He still was a little doubtful. BUT, then we pulled out the Book of Mormon. We opened up to Alma 11:42-45. *By the mouth of two or three witnesses my word shall be established* By this second witness he was really touched. The whole time the spirit was so strong and he was just so shocked by us....by these two teenagers filling a hole in his life with joy and hope that he never thought would be filled. The Spirit was so powerful in the house. I know that we dont teach anything, the Spirit does. He said that he knows that the resurrection is real now. And we left the Book of Mormon with him and he is going to read it and pray and come to church. We finished the visit by singing "I know that my Reedemer Lives" and the Spirit was indescribable! I love the gospel and I know that fasting is a real and true principle of the gospel!
One Saturday we played futbol with all of the little kids in the town and after we had english class. The English class turned more into us teaching them about faith and prayer. We taught that faith means that we believe strongly in something....so we WORK towards that. Like a soccer game...we have faith we can win so we PRACTICE! We also commited every one of them to pray every day. It was great!
Funny story- There is a funny man here, he is about 55 or 60 years old and he is a stay-at-home-dad who plays video games all day. He only has one game though, Gran Turismo 4, which he has played all day, every day, for the whole year. He invented a whole system to play the game in the most comfortable way possible. He is the nicest guy! One of his sons is actually a member, so hopefully something can spark in him. His name is Fidel.
Tender Mercy- The blessings we receive from following the commandments. They are always in abundance! Share with someone...anyone, a friend, family member, etc. that "if they keep the commandments, they will PROSPER in the land!" Finding Pablo and his family was a huge tender mercy for us. Fasting is great.
Love you all,
-Welcome to Quilaco, one of the little towns outside of Santa Barbara.
-On the bridge to Quilaco, with the beautiful Chilean landscape behind.
-Me and Fidel, our video game friend.
-Me with our investigator Rodrigo and his family. He is learning English and has become one of my really good friends here.
-Elder Barton with Fidel.