This week my thoughts have been filled with you! We had plans to see the celebration with a less active family in the ward and in the end, it all fell through...but I hope you all enjoyed the celebration and dedication. I hope you can find a video of the celebration so that I can see it when I get home. I cant believe that Mara is finally going to the temple as well. I will be thinking about you all day tomorrow! Cant wait to hear all about it!
This week was full of ups and only a few downs. We were able to talk to lots of new people, especially families, recieve lots of references from the members and see lots of progress in our investigators. The week before last, we found a man named Manuel. I was a little afraid to talk to him because he was laying on the sidewalk and I thought that maybe he was drunk, but I felt the impression that I needed to talk to him. So we sat down with him and shared a small message. In the end, he told us that had visited our church when he lived in the states for almost 2 years but had never been baptized. We set another appointment with him and also invited him to church.morning last week, just before the sacrament, he walked through the doors! We went back to visit him with the bishop and were able to put a baptismal date with him on . We visited him almost every day this week and found that his biggest difficulty will probably be coffee, but he said he is willing to give it up. He is looking for a spiritual change in his life and we have been able to help him recognize the spirit. Every time we get to his house, he gets a big smile on his face and is ready to learn. He even started to read the Book of Mormon this week and said he feels like it is something good. Finding people like him is what makes this work so wonderful.
My first day in the area, we found a woman named Norma. Norma quickly attached herself to us and started to show signs of progression. We have been visiting her ever since and my companion and I both have felt so strongly that she is missing something in her life. Well, I think she started to feel the same and this last week, things went a little downhill with her. She has been able to recognize the spirit in many of our lessons, but has recognized it in the wrong way. Instead of deciding to act and go to church with us, she decided to go back to her old church. Sometimes I just wish I could know exactly what she needs. I feel right now that maybe it is the book of mormon, but I just dont know yet. ay no. We need lots of prayers for her this week!
The family we have been teaching is still super good...we are just waiting to find out what we can do with their paperwork. We are going to call President Spjut this week to see what he can do to help. Also to see if he can visit a few of our investigators with us this week. It makes me a little nervous, but he said he would be willing to leave with us. So this week will be a little stressful as well. haha But we need his help. Our investigator, Domingo, is what they call here in the mission "an ancient investigator" because he has been listening to the missionaries for almost 8 months. Normally, I would have dropped him and waited a few months to visit him, but in our first few lessons after I got here, I felt that his problem was that he just hadnt understood anything. We started to ask him a bunch of questions of understanding to see what he had understood of everything he had learned, and found that he really hadnt understood anything. He is 79 years old and is very active in his church and I think more than anything else, just enjoys the company. But these last two or three weeks, we have been able to help him find the desire to really learn. He has alot of questions and things he doesnt understand, so we have been really patient with him and have taught everything very slowly, simply and throroughly. He has attended church almost every week since I got here and our goal with him has been to baptise him. I think the only thing he lacks is to really understand the Book of Mormon. I think that if we can just help him understand the book of Mormon tomorrow, he can be baptised . He is praying and doing everything to recieve an answer, and I think tomorrow, especially if we can visit him with President Spjut, we might be able to put a baptismal date with him for this weekend. Again, we need lots of prayers for him, and the rest of our investigators. They are all so close to accepting the gospel or have already accepted the gospel and are just fighting to repent. I know that each and every one of the 7 people we have progressing can be baptised and many more of the people we are visiting. It just takes alot of prayer.
It seems pretty crazy that I left a year ago for my mission, and even a little more crazy that I only have 6 months left here in El Salvador. I didnt do anything crazy for my year mark, but we celebrated with the other sisters that are serving in our area eating tamales. I feel like every person we talked to this week asked me how much time I had in the mission and they all said "Wow, its almost your time to go home" haha The mission flys by so fast. I just hope these last 6 months go by a little slower than the first 12. ;) Looking back a year, I feel that my life has changed completely. Maybe the Latin culture has just rubbed off on me, but I feel like a completely different person. But more than anything else, over this last year, I have gained a testimony of the truth that will last me a lifetime. I have learned that the gospel is not just something we listen to, but a way of living. That if you apply it, you will recieve blessings. God has become a reality in my life here in the mission. I cant thank Him enough for all He has done for me over the past year and am excited to see what the next 6 months bring. :)
Love you all and pray for you every day. See you! hahaha
PS...sorry for this super long letter. hahaha
Heres' my "year in the mission" pic. ;)
A picture from the conference with Elder Oaks. I got to see Jose Roberto and his family (investigators from my old area. He said he is going to call me soon when he decides to be baptized. I love them so so so much!
Just a selfie with the ward members on the bus headed to San Salvador. hahaha :)