Buen dia from here in El Talar :) This week we had a lot of things going on and it kept us real busy which is what I love! El Talar has two sets of missionaries: us and a set of elders. Until about 2 weeks ago, the area of El Talar wasn´t split, so we both had the same area. It has been fine, but we just thought it would be better to officially split it into 2 areas. So now Hermana Jensen and I are in El Talar 1 and the elders in El Talar 2. They received the more dangerous part of El Talar, which is where Hermana Jensen and I have been finding a lot of great people to teach! So now all those people are going to the elders. But it´s okay, because we know that what happened was the Lord´s will and that these people maybe only needed to be found by us, but taught and baptized by the elders! :) We also have most of our recent converts in the Elders area. And we talked to the pres about that and we decided that we can continue visiting them and the investigators that we had in the elders area before the split. So that was good news :)
Karina was baptized on Saturday!!! :) And mom, her full name is Karina Beatriz Lavado Coronel. :) Once again, it was a crazy process but finally happened. None of the baptisms that I have had have been easy. No matter how prepared the person has been, satan always tries to find a way to prevent the baptism. We had decided that Karina was going to have her interview on Friday before the ward activity, her baptism on Saturday, and her confirmation on Sunday. On Friday everything worked out great. The activity started atand she got there at around for her interview and did great :) Saturday at 4:00 was the scheduled time for her baptism. An investigator of the elders was also getting baptized at this time. Karina really wanted the bishop to baptize her and we had called him and talked to him about the baptism and everything was great and he was super excited, but saturday came and he texted us when it was almost 4 and told us that he wasn´t able to make it because he was super sick in bed. He told us to have Fabio, the ward mission leader, take over. Well Fabio had told us early that day that HE wasn´t going to make it either. And no one from the bishopric could be there so there would be no one to preside. So we called the bishop and told him that Fabio was not coming either and I told us to do what he had to do all the time on his mission: Elder Alfaro would conduct and Elder Alfaro would baptize. I asked him about who could preside and he said no one, even though that should never happen. Ugh. Karina got there and we told her about the bishop and she was super sad because she really wanted to be baptized by him. But we talked to her about the only thing that is important is the authority and that Elder Alfaro had the same authority so he could do it if she wanted. We wanted it to be a special event for her so we told her that if she really wanted the bishop to do it, we could wait. She decided in the end that waiting to be baptized just so a certain person could it was silly and that Elder Alfaro had the same priesthood authority so that he could baptize her. Ahh we were so relieved and happy!! The baptism didn´t start until like 5 but it finally happened and was so wonderful! Hermana Jensen and I sang Abide with Me and I was super nervous but Hermana Jensen made it sound good :) Karina said that she felt so good and happy after she came out of the water. She said that the week before her baptism, she was receiving lots of weird thoughts and temptations and felt at times that she shouldn´t be baptized. We told her that it was the adversary and she said she knew. And after she came out of the water she said that those thoughts were gone and that satan was just trying to prevent her from feeling the way she felt after her baptism.
So as I said to you ma, I forgot it was valentines day until I woke up and saw hearts on the wall and a sign that said happy valentines day. Hermana Jensen remembered and decorated the house! She also made me breakfast! We don´t really eat much for breakfast but we had some canned peaches and rice cakes so she put some peaches in a bowl and cut the rice cake in a heart shape and put that with the peaches. It was so cute! She loves Valentines day and always has pink heart shaped pancakes but since we didn´t have that, she improvised and it was so fun! I am so grateful for my companion and I love her so much! We also had a ward activity on this day that us missionaries put together but it didn´t have anything to do with valentines day. It is not really a big thing here. It started at 8 and not very many members were there at first but then more started coming and we had a pretty good turn out. We just watched a few Mormon messages on hope and patience and bore testimony about that. Then we played charades (i don´t know how to spell that ha) and it was super fun and hilarious! Seeing the members act out James Bond and Santa Clause and things like that was really fun and entertaining. After that we ate the food that the members brought. It was a fun night with them! And the first ward activity that i have been to in Argentina I think!
Sunday was a crazy day as well. We had talked to Karina about being at church at 9 en punto so that she could be confirmed. It was almost 9 and she wansn´t there yet so we called her. She and Karla said that they lost their sube (bus card) and couldn´t find it anywhere. They didn´t have money to take a taxi and their house is too far to walk and make it on time. So Hermana Jensen and I decided that we would pay for a taxi so that they could make it on time. They didn´t want to make us pay for them but that was the only option so they finally accepted it. They told us that they would meet us outside the church so that we could pay the driver. Ok. By this time church had started. The Elders investigator was confirmed already and we were just waiting for Karina and Karla. Then Hermana Jensen and I realized that we didn´t have enough money haha. Here in Argentina we should only carry like 10 pesos with us at a time unless we need to but something, so we didn´t have enough. The elders didn´t have any either. I asked Elder Alfaro (district leader El Talar 2) if I could quickly go on spilts with another hermana from the ward to get money for the taxi because my comp had to give a talk. Instead, he offered to run to his house with his comp and get some money. So they left sacrament meeting and ran to their house and just as the taxi pulled up they arrived with the money and it all worked out! Hermana Jensen gave her talk and did so amazing and after, Karina was confirmed :) She was truly prepared by God and now is a member of His church! Even though she was so prepared, satan worked hard to prevent her baptism, but in the end God conquered like always, and all went well. I have been thinking a lot about how to help the recent converts stay faithful and strong in the church. It seems like so easily they can start falling because satan has such a grasp on them after their baptism. And even if they have been prepared, it can still happen so quickly. I know that it takes great faith and diligence and hope to see someone get baptized. But I have learned that it takes even more faith and diligence and hope to see someone endure to the end after baptism. I know that when people are converted to Christ before baptism, they will more likely endure to the end and continue making sacred covenants throughout their lives. We were so grateful that Heavenly Father answered our prayers and that re received so much divine help from him and also help from the elders! We are so blessed!
I have some good news about Laura!! She has been so concerned because we do not pass by as often as we used to because she cannot progress so we can´t continue teaching her. But every so often we pass by and share something with her. She just thinks that we don´t care about her as much and that we are never going to pass by again and we told her that that is not the case and that we continue praying for her and her husband. Well this past week so told us that her husband said that he would be okay with us coming to their house and talking to them both and that he wanted to ask us some things. She told us that she didn´t want us to go to their house because her husband was just going to bash and say bad things about the church and that we would feel bad. We told her that we were used to it and that it wouldn´t be a problem and that we would just bare testimony to him anyway ha. So finally she agreed and yesterday we went to their house with an awesome return sister missionary (Diana Ramos) and we had a chat with them. Hermana Jensen and I thought and prayed to know what to teach because we knew that this was such a great opportunity to have the spirit touch Gabriel´s heart and that it might be the only one. We felt that we should start by testifying that Christ is our Savior and the head of this church and that we love, worship, and depend on him. We also felt that sharing the 13 articles of faith would help him understand what our church believes and that the things he read on the internet were false. We got to their house and the member hit it off so well with both Laura and Gabriel. Gabriel is very hard headed and he gets what he wants and it is his way or the high way. We testified and he stated his opinion and argued with Laura a bit, but it turned out pretty well in the end. He talked about how you should stay in the church your parents raise you in he is Catholic but doesn´t live it at all. We talked about prayer and coming to church so that he could know for himself. We didn´t end up sharing the articles of faith but what we talked about instead was needed. If Diana wasn´t there I don´t know if we could have done it! He was pretty rough but really softened up towards the end and said that he wasn´t going to commit to coming to church or anything, or allow Laura to come to church, but that he WOULD pray to see if the church was true and if it is Christ´s church. So that is some great progress!!! I really think Heavenly Father wants this family to receive the gospel and for that, they keep coming up and miracles are happening! Tomorrow if everything goes well, we have an other lesson with them!! We hope that everything works out. I know I have to give my best effort in order to see a miracle out of this. It will not be easy but I am excited and ready to go through anything if it means that they can become an eternal family!! Pray for Gabriel please! :)
Mom just for journals sake I will add that we had interviews with president on Friday and they went really well :)
Also for the journal, I went on exchanges in Tigre with hermana lobo and had some great experiences with her finding escogidos. Roque, Ramona and her daughter Vanesa. I felt the spirit helping me ask inspired questions and give me the confidence I needed to testify and know what to say in the moment. A great exchange!
I have been reading and studying hope this past week again because we had to give a training on it in the district meeting. In preach my gospel it says that the source of hope comes from the knowledge that we are sons and daughters of God and that Christ is our Savior. I know that this is true. When we have this knowledge, we feel loved and we feel like we belong somewhere, to someone. Hope is trusting that God will fulfill the promises that he has made to us. But He can only give us these blessings and promises when we are obedient. So like every attribute of Christ, hope is connected to obedience. I know that because Christ is our Savior, we can always have hope. I realized that in satan´s plan, we would not have needed to have hope because we would have always done the right. If hope is trust that God will fulfill His promises to us, this means that obedience is involved. In satan´s plan, we would have always been obedient and would not have hoped to receive God´s blessings. I am thankful that we all chose to follow God´s plan and that we all had faith and hope in Christ and that we continue to have faith and hope in Christ. I know that he is the source of our hope and that as God´s children, we have so much to hope for!! I love you all so much and am thankful for all you do to help God´s work progress and move forward. You are all great examples to me! Thank you for your prayers and thoughts! Love you and have a great week!
I don´t know if you are back yet, but I have a few questions for you once again :)
1. Do you have Jordy´s email?
2. For the past week I have had a cough but ONLY a cough. I am not sick or anything, just a cough. Does that mean anything?
3. How are my 3 siblings doing? I try to write them every once in a while but they haven´t responded. It has been a while since I have written them personally though. I am guessing they are just super busy, they are in high school after all! :)
4. Does Kam have an email address?
JOEL DOESN´T HAVE HIS CALL YET!?!?! Man I was so excited to get on my email today to see where he was going!! Darn. Oh well, another week won´t hurt. I just can´t wait to find out though! I am so excited!
Thank you for the pictures! I love them! Shaun and Katie look like models. What a handsom couple. Kari and Rob´s pictures are just perfect too! Man I have good looking siblings. I have shown a lot of people that family picture this week and all of them say how good looking my sisters and mom are and how handsome dad and the boys are. And then there´s me haha :)
Yes I get grandma´s letters. Let her know how thankful I am for them. They brighten my day and I love them so much! I wish I could write her back :( Mail is so expensive here. Hermana Jensen just mailed a letter 2 pdays ago and it was like 80 pesos. She said that never again would she send a letter in Argentina because it is so expensive! And about the package that you sent, it still hasn´t arrived from what I know. Neither has the one from Joel and Trish :( I am sure they will get here, but it will take a bit longer. They told us the other day though that now ANY package will cost money to receive and the minimum is like 125 pesos. So I don´t know if it would be a good idea to send any more packages :( :( And i love them so much. We just don´t have a lot of money to pay for them and we need food and such so it might not work. So if I need something from home...i don´t know what I will do. We will see though i guess.
OH YA!! I already know that about Nik duh! Thanks for reminding me again haha!
That is real exciting about Kambree!! Tell her congrats for me and give her a hug from me too!! A big one!
Ah thanks mom! I just finished my mass email and it is pretty long! I didn´t even put somethings in it that i was going to. OH! One thing I forgot to but was a funny moment of the week! We were at Ingred´s house and we are super close to her so i can really be myself when we are with her. Anyway, her phone rang and I told her I would get it. She was like are you sure and I said of course why not!? So I answered the phone and the lady said Ingred? And I said, no I am her daughter, do you want my mom? She said, oh yes sorry! Is your mom there? Then i gave the phone to ingred haha. Something really short and silly but I had a good time doing it haha :)
Sounds like your Valentines day was a good one! I actually forgot that it was valentines day! I am telling you, I can´t remember anything on my mission haha. I think that I just don´t have time to think about it, or that my mind is just not very open ha. I will explain our day in my other email. But Hermana Jensen remembered and made it so special!
She is the best! :)
Also, I don´t know if I have even mentioned this in my emails yet, but do you know how people say Syphus here? Haha, they pronounce it see-pooz. Have i mentioned that before? I always mean to because I think it is so fun, but never have I don´t think. I really like it though, it is funny when people try haha.
OK I am ready to get off now! Thanks for your email this week! I always depend on them because I haven´t been getting a lot lately, only just from you usually, so I really appreciate it mom!!!! You really don´t know how happy it makes my day when i get emails! So thank you thank you! Love you so much!
Karina´s baptism with Elder Alfaro
Karina (on the left), Karla and her daughter Kami
The ward activity we had!