Thank you so much once again for the weekly email, I always look forward to them! The Ben Bens are sure going to be missed. I love that family so much and it will be hard to not see them there when i get home. But I am happy for them and all the miracles that they have seen this past year. Such a special family!
So two weeks ago we had interviews with the president and they went really well. He asked my comp and I if we could meet with him sometime at his house and we said sure. We had no idea why but of course we agreed to. The next sunday we had stake conference and he was there. He came up to us afterward and asked us to join him and his family for dinner that afternoon. It was just going to be us, his two sons, his wife, and two elders. We still had no idea why at this point. Sorry if this doesn´t make sense I am trying to type fast ha! So we get there at around 3 and we helped hermana ayre prepare the food. It was SO good and exactly what we have at home! It was steak AND grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, garlic bread, and this amazing homemade oreo ice cream cake for dessert. It was super weird because I felt like I was at home again and I have not been used to that feeling for 8 months. It was like I wasn´t a missionary for a few hours because we just talked and visited and I even played their piano and after dinner the president´s 11 year old son taught me how to play chess and I played with hermana ayre! Now I know what return missionaries mean when they say they feel weird when they get home haha. It was different, but that doesn´t mean that I didn´t love it! Because I did! It was nice to have a family dinner like that again and just talk and cook and clean and such :) I thought of you and dad and the fam while I was there and it was nice. So anyway, the reason that we were there is because the pres. had to talk with my comp. I thought it was us both because he just told us that he needed have an interview with us. We got to the house and after dinner he asked my comp to talk with him. After they were done I asked him if it was my turn and he said no, you are good, I just needed to have a chat with you comp. Okay. I was still unsure about things but waited for my comp to tell me later what had happened. And that is what we are going through right now. The pres. was so sweet and nice about everything. He has one of the kindest hearts ever! Almost as kind as yours! He told us that we could stay and play ping pong with his kids and that we could just hang out for a while there at their home if we wanted. We stayed for about 15 more minutes and then left. It was a great time and an experience that I will always remember! I got a lot closer with the pres and his family and had a fun time! Just weird because of the change it was haha.
Natalia and her boys didn´t come to church on sunday! We called the night before and visited them many times that week and everything was just great and prepared and then sunday we waited and waited and they didn´t show up! I thought that something had happened because they always come were so excited to come when we talked with them the night before! But yesterday we visited them and Natalia told us that they had slept in and her boys were at a late bday party the night before and were super tired. So we talked about the sabbath day again and the importance of it and they are for sure going to come this next week i just know it! :) But two of her sons have 2 asistencias at church so this sunday, two of them are hopefully going to be baptized!! Alex has only been once and so he will have to wait but the other two want to be baptized so we will see! Alex is super special though. He is 12 and doesn´t like reading at all his mom says but is reading the book of mormon like crazy. We leave him chapters to read each time and he always reads them. Natalia says that she doesn´t even tell him to read, he just does it because he like it so much. That is a testimony to me of the power of the book of mormon and the peace and joy that we have when we read it. It has been such a blessing to see these three sweet boys sprout and become what they are! I love them and feel so blessed to have this experience!
I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I know that the truest, purest happiness comes from them and following the commandments. I know that He heals our hearts and replaces the hurt and anger and sorrow with peace, comfort, and joy. This week I have learned through studying the importance of faith and repentance. Sometimes I get caught up in wanting people to be baptized, and I forget that faith in Christ and repentance come first. I know that repentance changes people because Jesus Christ is the one that has made it possible! I know that if we want to do our best, we need to have faith in Jesus Christ. I cannot say that i am doing my best if I do not have faith in Christ, no one can. Because faith in Him comes first. Everything starts with faith in Jesus Christ and I know that when our faith in Him grows, we are more happy and we have the desire to serve Him and change things in our lives to become more like Him. He lives!
Oh ya! TRANSFERS! I almost forgot to tell you! I am staying here in EL TALAR this transfer with Hermana Fullmer and I couldn´t be happier! This is exactly what I wanted! But there is also something else! We will be receiving a new companion straight from the MTC this Thursday and so we will be in a trio! I will be training the new hermana for these next 12 weeks! I have never done this before and am sooo nervous mom! I don´t know how to train a fresh missionary straight from the MTC! Her impression of missionaries is going to be us and what we do, says the pres. I just want to do it well and in God´s way because these 12 weeks will affect the rest of her mission and even life. I don´t think I am ready to train a new missionary. I am so weak! I make so many mistakes and there are so many other missionaries so much better than me! I am just grateful that I always have the Atonement to help me. I have come to feel the power of it on my mission and I love my Savior Jesus Christ and all He has done for me.
I am still not sure about the skype thing on Christmas but we are going to talk with some members this week to see who we are going to meet with and what time we will be doing it. The 23 will not be a pday because we will get to talk to our families on Christmas. But we can email our families from 11 to 12 on the 23 at least. I really wanted to right each family in the fam and give them a christmas greeting but i do not know if i will have time! I especially wanted to send something to my grandparents! I do not know if I can but I will sure try!
It is going real great here in Buenos Aires! I have been wanting to tell you some fun facts about this place and maybe will get my chance on Christmas when we skype! I have some fun stories to tell you all!
I hope the spirit of Christmas is in your hearts and that Heavenly Father has helped you to feel His love this season as we remember Jesus Christ, His Son. Christmas is different here but the spirit is the same and I know that although we will all be receiving different temporal gifts, we all the same gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior. I know that He lives and that His path is made. We just have to walk on it! I love you all so much and feel so grateful for the support, love, and prayers from all of you! Thank you so much for everything!
OK! I have the people and their stories! It will take a bit to write them all but I will try to do it fast! Have you written the names on the gifts yet?
I still have three more to write but I really wanted to write an email to you about my week, is that okay with you if I finish next week?
When I first got to Congreso, the only active member of this family was the dad. He asked us one day to start teaching his 14 year old daughter Rocio because they were inactive when she was 8 and she never got baptized. We taught her the lessons and as you all know, she was baptized! Since her baptism, this family has reactivated conpletely. Their 20 year old son is preparing to serve a mission, Rocio is actively involved in young wonems, her parents are examples to the ward and come to church as a family each Sunday. Their son Eliseo is blessing the sacrament and they have testified of how the Gospel has blessed their family. They have changed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have seen how much better off they are when Christ is the foundation of their lives!
Adelis: Congreso, Convert, 18 yrs.
Adelis approached us herself and asked for a pamphlet to read. She had a desire to know Christ from the beginning. She was taught and although received no support from her family, was baptized and is now one of the most happy, dedicated members I know! She is converted to Christ! Although she had a great realtionship with the missionaries, her realtionship with Christ is stonger and true. The Book of Mormon is her best friend. She recently moved to Paraguay and mentioned that although the nearest chapel was about 2 hours away, she was going to make sure that she partook of the sacrament each week.
Linda: Ephrata, WA, Investigator, 50s
The missionaries contacted Linda one day while she was sitting ourside her rundown trailer. She was sad and depressed from past experiences and it was evident in her face. They taught her The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bore testimony to her that through the Gospel, her life could change. She told them they could come back. The next visit, she looked different. She was more happy and had a light in her eyes and was excited to learn more. She started coming to church and each time we saw her she was more happy and the light of Christ was starting to change her appearance. When I left Ephrata, she was working on quiting smoking so that she could be baptized. The Atonement of Jesus Christ has changed her and her desires!
Elizabeth: Convert, Congreso, 60s
Elizabeth was an investigator who liked the church and it´s teachings, but didn´t want to have a baptism date (that NEVER happens jaja, chiste) We taught her, prayed for her, and fasted for her. She wanted to be completely ready and prepared for baptism because she knew how big of a step it was. She always told us that she wasn´t ready, even though her powerful testimony proved otherwise. She had come to know Christ but didn´t recognize it. One day Elizabeth called us and told us of a dream she had the night before. She was dressed in white and was talking with a man who was also dressed in white. Then she told us that she had decided to be baptized and knew it was what God wanted her to do. A true miracle! Elizabeth sells things on the street, like many people in the city. One week before her baptism, she was robbed. All of her merchandise and money was taken. She had been promised blessing by God through us as missionaries, that if she was baptized, she would live a happier life. Some people would have given up in this situation. But she was converted to Christ and knew that God would keep His promise if she kept hers. She was robbed two more times that week, one on the street again, and one in her house. But she still relied on Jesus Christ to help her carry on. That Sunday, she was baptized and bore her testimony about Jesus Christ and His love for her. The Spirit was present and the service was the sweetest I have seen!
Evelin: El Talar, Convert, 37
Evelin was taught by the missionaries for 8 months before she got baptized. She was living with her "husband" who she had 3 kids with but was not married. Her process was long but it was worth it! Everyone thought she was member because she did everything that a member would do, but just was not baptized or confirmed yet. She bore her testimony every fast Sunday and served the ward. She was set to be baptized the Sunday after her wedding. But two days before her wedding, her mom past away. This was very hard for her. Her wedding was postponed and so was her baptism. She relied on Christ completely, especially during this time, and had many special and sacred experiences through dreams and the feelings she received. She knew God was with her and held on to His hand through the entire journey. Her baptism was rescheduled two other times. Satan was really trying to prevent her from making this covenant with God, but because she was converted to Christ and His Gospel, she never gave up. She was finally baptized and confirmed and is a changed and converted daughter of God!
Marcelino: Warden, WA, Investigator, 40s
He had a difficult life and had gone through many trials. One of the things that he struggled with was drugs. He had a desire to stop and when the missionaries started teaching him, his desire to stop grew because he understood the miracle of repentance and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. One night we were teaching him the word of wisdom. At the end of the lesson he started crying and told us that he wanted to stop for good. He took the instrument that he smoked with out of his pocket and got up from his seat and walked outside. We watched him throw it away for good! He was pleading for forgiveness and asked for the strength to be better and change. This has been one of the most powerful experiences on my mission. Marcelino overcame this addiction through Jesus Christ and His Atonement and became a happier person because of it.
Natalia: El Talar, Member (less active), 30s
Edison: Congreso, Convert, 26
Hernan: Congreso, Convert
Are you there mom? I am just about to get off and wanted to give you one last love! Tell all the family hello and happy Christmas for me and that i love them all so much! Love you and miss you and can´t wait to see your face on Christmas! I know that I am a little embarrassed to show mine! haha but oh well it will be worth it! Even my comp said i have gained a little weight in my face but it´s ok, as long as you know before hand haha. Love you so much!