How is everyone doing? Tali, how do you feel being a legal adult? What in the world! Time is whippin' on by!
This was a great week. Me and Elder Barton have seen how the Lord has been working through us as we continually put ourselves in the place where he wants us to be.
This week we had a great lesson with Daniela, our investigator who is the girlfriend of one of the ward members here. We also found out that she is PREGNANT! I may have mentioned that last week. We had the suspision....but you know how it is...you dont ask a lady about those kinds of things :D Well, we taught her the law of tithing and the word of wisdom, which were the last two commandments that we needed to teach her. We also reviewed the baptismal interview to make sure she knew what she would be asked in it. She accepted them and we set up a time for her baptismal interview. On Thursday our district leader came out here with me and we had a companionship interchange. Her interview went exceptionally well...When she was asked about the restoration of the gospel and the actual prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, she said that she gained a testimony of them during general conference. :) She also said that she had a lot of doubts specifically about the restoration and Joseph Smith. Elder Merrell asked her how she was able to resolve her doubts...she said PRAYER. She prayed and asked a lot. I knew the interview was going to go well, because I have seen the most amazing change in Daniela! But it made me so happy when he told me everything that she said and felt, because we have fasted and prayed so much for Daniela. A few months ago she was the hardest most stubborn girl ever! It all started with her desire. Just like Alma 32 talks about. Even if you have the DESIRE to believe, let that desire work in you. I was also so happy because as we got closer to when her baptism was going to be, it seemed as though we couldnt find her anywhere. Lets just say that I really made myself mentally and emotionally exhausted last week because of her...whenever an investigator just disappears its not good news because it means that the adversary can really work on them and try to get them to choose the wrong. But I was so so so incredibly relieved and filled with complete happiness when we finally did find her and we found out that she still had all the desires to keep keeping the commandments and be baptized! She has truly been converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. It makes me so happy to see this type of conversion, even out in Santa Barbara in the middle of Chile! It strenghtens my testimony that the work of the Lord will just keep on moving forward.
So after the interview, me and Elder Merrell went right next door to where Daniela was and we taught Teresa. She is 18 and is a member of the evangelical church. She is incredibly smart when it comes to the scriptures, but its crazy how even people who are so smart religiously lack so much of the fullness of the gospel! That is why the restoration was so important. The precious simple truths were restored in their perfect form. It has really humbled me being able to teach Teresa. I know the Lord just just using us to communicate his word to Teresa. In the lesson the spirit was so strong there...I really just wanted to cry of happiness throughout the whole thing. Just thinking about it now makes me want to cry of happiness also. Going into the lesson we werent thinking that she wouldnt accept a baptismal date still. We figured we should teach her some more before we invite her. "Oh man of little faith, why did you doubt?" -Matthew 14:31 We felt towards the end of the lesson we should challenge her to be baptized. We invited her that when she finds out that all of these things are true the next step would be to follow in this church. We asked "as you come to know that these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God? She just looked tenderly forward and a moment later said softly "yes, I will" It was so neat. The spirit was literally working inside of her. It showed on the outside!
The spirit is so amazing. As a companionship and even as a mission, we have really been focusing on doing missionary work in the right way...that is, WITH THE SPIRIT!! Which comes from...being OBEDIENT! There are no good excuses why its alright to break the commandments of the Lord and there never will be! That is the truth. Like it says in 1 Nefi 3:7, the Lord doesnt give commandments unless he gives the way to complete them. When we obey, we literally receive heaven's help and we can do anything we worthily desire. All of the great missionaries in the scriptures who did amazing things only were able to do them because they listened to and did what the Lord commanded with exactness.
Training has been good. Elder Barton is a good man. I have seen the gift of tongues work in him also. Only a little over a month and Chile and he can already carry on a normal conversation with people. Experts will continue to be stunned...but we know the secret to why lds missionaries can learn so fast. ;) This companionship has been really good. We get along great, and I really love that we both have the same idea about this work. Keep the mission rules and go to work and the Lord will use us as instruments in his hands!
I think I have been the most patient in the last couple months then I ever have been in my whole life! It feels good. Ether 12:27 is true.
One day this week something interesting happened. We entered into a house of someone we know here. She is an investigator but hasnt ever really made much progression. Her mom, who is an older lady, is a member. We went outside to chop wood for her and about 20 mintues later we went in the house and there were some Jehovah's Witness missionaries sitting on the couch. We just said goodbye and left. Ha ha. I know that service has a strong impact on people. I hope it did this time.
We finished the week with a baptism, which made any stress, grief, sadness (if there was any) go away! It was amazing. We were a little bumbed out that practically no members came to see it, but it was still very special for her. I was able to baptize her and I asked her how she felt afterward and she just said "good" with a giant smile on her face. Her and Ricardo are so awesome. (her boyfriend) They are planning on getting married next month, and then a year later, they will be sealed in the temple with their baby!
I love families! Shoutout to mine! Then on Sunday during the confirmation I felt the most peaceful feeling, testifying to me that YES, God is with us, He has sent his Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to be with us always. Daniela was so happy and her eyes were lit up after the prayer was over.
The last thing that has been on my mind is "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me." I just want to testify to all of you of the reality of this phrase. We found an inactive lady who hasnt come to church for quite some time because she doesnt like another lady. The other lady supposedly did so much stuff to her...even though before they were good friends. Well...we told her that she needs to come back to church and forgive this other sister. She said that she will, but she is going to go "for the things of God, not for Sister So-and-so" We said, "Sister Julia, forgiving her definitely counts "a thing of God""
Its made me think a lot this week about how we treat people. I thought of the scipture at the beginning of this paragraph. I thought....what if we go our whole life being such good people to everyone we possible know and ever come into contact with....except for one person. Who we just avoid for some ridiculous reason. Maybe their social class, or maybe they smell bad, or maybe they are "just too annoying" or any other reason. What if we do good to every single person except for one? Well, we know what Christ said about it. If we do it to anyone, we did it to Him. Like the scriptures say, "I you have not charity, you are nothing." I testify that is true. Charity is all that matters.
Today we went fishing and we got soaked wet but it was great. God truly created this world on which we live.
Tender Mercy- How God always is faithful and keeps his end of covenants and promises- always. He will make us into our best selves if we come unto him. One major way we do that is by prayer. It can be such a special experience every single day if we pray from our hearts.
-Fishing today for p-day! I love Santa Barbara
-Me getting in the water to go unhook the lure that my companion got stuck :D
-Supposedly the most dangerous street in Santa Barbara. We live really close to this street, and people always say, "oh my goodness! You live THERE?! That is so dangerous!" But nothing bad has happened to us :D
-Patricio and his bigger fish.