Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baptizing and Strengthening the Branch

This is Angie! the best member missionary we have! This was taken after a rain storm caught us and we were luckily her and her family were home to save us haha

Sleeping on the way to council in Cali... 

Wonderful Chilean meal prepared by the great Elder Faundez...

Leadership Council
We discussed what we learned from Elder Bednar and what we wanted to apply.

Hellooo familia ¿Como es que les ha ido? Diga? Buenaventuran saludo right there..

How great it is to see how excited the family is for the Mother's Day call! Me too! It will be the 2nd of 4 calls home I will get to make here on the mission! I will call home around 5 Colombia time. That is when I will be free to make the call. I will repeat what Elder Bednar told us at his meeting. Have your questions ready and have good questions! I only have 45 minutes so we don't have time to count time, we just have to make the time count! I am so excited to see all your faces on the Skype cam! 

Anyways I guess I will keep this really short so we will have things to talk about on Sunday.....

Well we have been as busy as ever here this past week, so it seems weird that I am already writing again! But anyways this week was going to be a baptism week, but we had some inconveniences with the pool people. They apparently had other customers wanting to do a baby shower that were willing to pay more than we were so we got the boot. We tried getting other pools but they were just ridiculous with the prices. One of the Latin elders thought it was just because of us gringos haha. "What's the price for an hour?" They said, "300,000 pesos." WHAA......... and without the gringos?" said Elder Faundez haha. So we couldn't do the baptisms this week. That is one of the blessings of having chapels is baptismal fonts! But it is all good because all of the would be baptisms have been moved to the 18th when we are going to go to the river! It will be a cool experience baptizing in a river. 

We have changed our work strategy a little bit here in Buenaventura. With the lack of Ward Missionaries and Leader of the obra misional, we can't seem to give all of these recent converts the after-baptism teaching that they deserve, and our retention is suffering because of that. 

We are also in desperate need of leaders in the branch, Presidente Jose is pretty overwhelmed with the work load he has. So we have shifted into looking for families where there is a responsible man at the head of the home that can be converted and given a leadership role quickly. Obviously we will baptize all that have the desire but there are certain added requirements that must be fulfilled. 

I spoke with President Prince the other day about what do to, focus on baptizing all that we can? Or strengthen the branch? He told me both.. haha. We will continue fulfilling our purpose as missionaries finding, baptizing and confirming, but we will also be taking more interest in the well-being of the branch. He has authorized the zone to study online all of the organizations in the church to understand how they should be ran and apply them with the leaders we have. Elder Inga and I are in charge of the helping bishopric. I am so grateful for such an opportunity like this to serve!

I don't think I told you about an experience I had with Elder Bednar! It was during the Q and A time and I felt a question come into my heart that I had been pondering a while. How can I come to understand better the Atonement of Christ and apply it more in missionary work? As a missionary I have come to understand the Atonement so much more and have started to finally have some feelings about it, but I realize that there is so much I don't quite get. 

I feel like Nephi saying that I know it was because He loves us, but I still don't fully understand the meaning of it. I had a real desire to ask that of Elder Bednar. Just so happened that another elder asked the same exact thing! I felt like a silent prayer in my heart was answered! He answered him (and me) that we should get a cheap copy of the B.O.M. and read it all the way through marking the references to the Atonement. When we get done, write a summary of what we learned.... then do it over again and again and again until we die. 

He said a study of the Atonement of Christ is a life-long task, but that understanding comes as we seek and apply diligently. I decided to take that apostolic invitation and do what he said. This past week I have been reading through 1 Nephi with a purpose to understand the Atonement more.. and it has been absolutely amazing what has happened. Almost everything in the teachings and experiences of Nephi can be tied somehow to the Atonement. I have learned that when we study with a purpose, God puts special, heaven-sent feelings and thoughts in our minds and hearts that help us to feel and understand a little bit more of His will for us, "little by little." So amazing!

Well I can't wait to talk to you guys! I know you have great questions for me and you better expect some great ones from me as well. Please do me the favor of not laughing if I jumble up words.... haha. Know that I am doing great and working hard while have the time to do it! Time goes by too fast as a missionary and I want to get the absolute most out of this experience helping everybody that I can come to Him.


Elder Eliason

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