This week was awesome! Completely awesome! It was packed with miracles and with the spirit! Our area is doing great. There are too many things to write about than the amount of time I have. So I am going to try to fit in as much as I can.
At the beginning of the week I was surprised when we went to a member's house and Silvia and Nicole were there, (Nicole is our recent convert from February and Silvia was baptized at the end of 2011) I was so happy to see them because I didnt thnk that I was going to see them ever again...or at least for a long time because they are going up to Santiago soon and they live in a town about 40 minutes away from my area...so it was going to be complicated to see them. But we walked into a different member's house, and there they were... Nicole answered the door and had a huge smile on her face and I was so happy! I love when she smiles because when we first started teaching her she was more stubborn and she wasnt the friendliest person. She has had a 180% turn around! She literally looks like a different person completely! I was so happy when she opened the door, and then we saw Silvia her mom, too! Silvia is awesome! She has had a lot of challenges in her life but they are doing so good now! My companion was confused out of his mind because he is new to the area still so he doesnt know anyone...so he whole time he was trying to make all of the connections and remember which people were who based on what I had explained beforehand.
So...we took advantage of sharing a little message with them...and we started with an opening prayer. We were planning on sharing a scripture in 2 Nefi 32 (the last verse) but during the prayer, for some reason Alma 32 came to my mind. It didnt leave my mind, so when the prayer was over I said "we were planning on sharing a certain scripture, but I feel like we should share something in Alma 32." So then we all turned to Alma 32 and read 3 verses. verse 21, 27, and 28. We had Nicole read all of them and at the end of the reading..she kept her head down and I could see her eyes getting wet. Her head stayed down for about 2 minutes! A long time.. and I was just smiling and kept looking at Silvia, who was smiling really big as well. Nicole finally put her head up and she said that this was EXACTLY what she needed. She said that this week she has had some doubts...but they were completely answered! We invited her to read all of chapter 32 of Alma. She said "I WILL!" very excitedly. I felt so grateful for the impression of the Holy Ghost to read Alma 32...something so basic that we have already read with her before...but it was exactly what she needed. I WOULD HAVE NEVER KNOWN THAT if it wasnt for God revealing it to us through the Holy Ghost! What would have happened to her if we didnt read those exact verses? Follow the impressions of the spirit!
Felipe is the 18 year old brother of Nicole who we have been teaching for about 5 months now. He has come to church EVERY SUNDAY since then. He is ready to be baptized! He told me that he wanted to get baptized in Santiago from his uncle who is a member of the church, so we just let that be...because we knew they would be leaving soon. I was super happy that he was going to be baptized but I was a little sad to have to see him go obviously...anyway, they all showed up to church yesterday and everything was going great like normal. After sacrament meeting, Felipe came up to me and said, "Elder Gomez, i think I'm going to get baptized this weekend before we leave to Santiago. It will be too complicated to do it up there." I said "You got it, pal!" ha ha. So the bishopric and a few of the members were all talking to him all of the sudden planning everything. SO WE'RE GONNA HAVE A BAPTISM THIS WEEKEND!!! We still had to repass some things with Felipe,so we went to a members how with him after church and taught him everything that he faulted. He went over the baptismal interview with him and he is SO READY for baptism. He is one of the most converted people I know. He is attending institute and loves it. I will try and quote my favorite part of the lesson- (this is Felipe talking. Remember, he is 18 years old) "At first, I was nervous to get baptized because I knew that everyone would start saying that I had to go on a mission, and I didnt like the idea. Some people mentioned it..so it was one of the things keeping me from getting baptized..but now, since about a month ago, I decided that I want to get baptized...and now it's weird, because I started wanting to serve a mission. I have the desire to now." (this moment right after he said this was sooooo cool! I was SO HAPPY!! Great moment in my life, great moment.)
So....yeah, Felipe is good! We are stoked for this weekend. Last night we were at Brother Kiger, our ex-ward mission leader's house (he was just called to he bishopric but is still acting as ward mission leader too) and we were planning the baptism and getting everything ready. Brother Kiger is awesome! He is one of the best men I have ever met. He does so much in this ward! He was just baptized a year and 7 months ago and he shared his conversion story with us. His wife was already a member and whenever the missionaries passed by he was pretty angry with them. He was stern and wasnt convinced. He said that at the time before he met the missionaries who baptized him, he was doing BAD...him and his wife were about to get divorced...and he was making bad decisions which carried very high consequences. He said that when the missionaries got there, and they shared about the redeeming and cleansing power of Christ, and he gained a witness from the spirit in that moment that he should get baptized and he decided to do it. So...he is awesome and he has helped us so much. The baptism is already all planned!
Egdardo and Vicente are doing great! Edgardo is the 68 year old who is way excited to get baptized. I dont know how he was before now and why he hasnt already been baptized...but he is prepared to be baptized, and his grandson, Vicente, is also going to get baptized with him on April 28th. We went by one night to visit them and a lady was there. We were with Brother Quezada, one of the coolest members in the whole member, and so we started talking to Pilar, and found out she is Edgardo's daughter. She works as a manager of a school and when we started talking about how the gospel blesses families she was interested. She let us into the house and we were able to teach her full lesson before Edgardo even got home. Without even bringing it up, she mentioned going to church by saying, "I'm not completely shut off to going to church." and she kept saying stuff like that, which showed that she has a desire to learn more! She even said "I'm not opposed to listening to this message and going to church and following this religion." I think that was her way of saying "TEACH ME!" (I took it as that at least. ha ha) We have a family night with them with a member tonight so hopefully by next week she will have a baptismal date as well as her son and dad, Vicente and Edgardo! Also, Everytime we see Edgardo he gives me a huge hug, it's great! Almost all the men give hugs, but Edgardo gives an Edgardo hug!!
We passed by the house of a lady who we found a few months ago who I have felt for a long time now that we should pass by. I dont know why we never stopped by...because when me and Elder Beatty went she was so willing to learn. Her name is Soledad and her daughter is Valentina, who is 12 years old. Until about 6 months ago, they lived in Spain for 8 years, so it's been hard for Valentina to become accustomed to Chile. She is pretty shy but at the same time not really...that doesnt clear things up at all, does it? She's hard to explain. She is very smart for her age, and understands things good, and is mature for her age, but at the same time doesnt talk very much. She doesnt have much faith in God, but we can already see that she is developing it and "coming to the light" Literally! On Sunday we went to their house to go to church and Valentina didnt want to come because she has never stepped in a church, but her mom was all ready, so she came and loved it! Soledad and Valentina accepted to prepare to be baptized on May 5th. After church we went to their house and Soledad was able to tell her how amazing church was! So she is definitely going next week.
Alrighty, I'll tell about Luis, the OTHER Felipe's dad (the 15 year old Felipe who was baptized about 3 weeks ago) Luis is awesome! He wants to get baptized but just needs to stop smoking. We havent been able to talk to him for a couple days because his son had an accident where they had to take him to the hospital (Crisitan 8 was playing and his friend threw something with little spines on it at him and it hit his eye and he started rubbing his eye and he made the spines go into his eye more..I think things are more under control now though) So if all is going well with the cigarettes, Luis will also be baptized his weekend with Felipe. If not, then it might be the next week. Pray that Luis Fonseca can stop smoking!
The last thing to talk about happened on an interchange of companions. I was working in a different area and we went to an inactive member's home, and one of the daughters of the family, Lucia, who is in her twenties, said she's inactive. " I asked, "are you planning on coming back ever?" "no, never" she said. "why?" I asked. "Because of the people. The members. They dont ever change", she said. Hmmm.... I asked "do you still have a testimony of the gospel?" "yeah, I still live the standards of the church and everything. I'm just never going to go back to church, but I dont need to" (that was obviously not the most intelligent thing to say so I didnt even try to contend) she said that the members of the church who she doesnt like are never going to change, so she is never going to come back. I was thinking..."that isnt the best way to face with problems..wait until everyone ELSE and everything ELSE change...without changes something yourself." We started talking about change for minute, and she said "people cant change" we assured her that yes, people can change, and yes, they do change. She said "no they cant. They wont." I felt an impression that in that moment it was VERY IMPORTANT that I testified of Jesus Christ, so I shared my testimony...It was something like this... "I know that Jesus Christ died for us. Everything that Jesus Christ did was so that we can change. So that we can be born again and have a new life. I know that people change because I have seen every single day for the last 19 months. If we werent able to repent and become better, then us missionaries would be of absolutely no value here. If we try to say that someone can never change, then we are denying the mercies of God to them and WHO ARE WE to do that? Who are we to not forgive someone? Just because YOU decide not to change, you cant say that nobody else can change either...just to justify the bad things that you're doing. Jesus Christ lives. Change is what His gospel is all about!!" We said we would come back to help her to come back to church and she softened up a little bit by the time we left, so that was good.
Tender Mercy- God's love for us...it is amazing. More specific, it is constantly a tender mercy for me watching people FEEL God's love for the first time in their life of for the first time in a long time, and then being able to see the changes they do in their lives to follow Him.
Well, I love you all, sounds like you all had a great Easter!! So did I. Hope to hear from you soon.
Elder Dallin Gomez
Sorry...I didnt take any pictures this week! We were too occupied! Next week!