|At Zone Council, Photo courtesy of Sister Prince's Blog|
|To commemorate our record number of 272 baptisms last month. Photo courtesy of Sister Prince|
|Let's Eat! Photo courtesy of Sister Prince|
|Thumbs Up! Photo courtesy of Elder Eliason's mother.|
|More ZL Council|
|Pobre Elder Cabrera who got kicked in the face playing soccer... ouch.|
|On a cliff overviewing the scenes of Ipiales. And Hook'em Horns!|
|With familia Ocampo in VG.|
|Manuel Bermudez from Valle Grande|
|Familia Bonilla Baungera!|
|We went to Las Lajas today! It is a famous catholic church built on a cliff. Google search it!|
|With the other elders in the branch at Lajas.|
Qué mas familia, bien o que??
Wow what a BroTrip dad had with the Eli/Johnson Brothers! Looks like dad had a lot of fun on those four wheelers, I remember having a ball on those things at the reunion about 4 years ago! Looking great in those Idaho mountains. I also had a great laugh at the pic code sent me of dad on that cliff risking everything for a great shot! And I think it is hilarious that dad can put the clubs away for a good year and get out there on any given day and beat everyone.. haha.
Well here in rainy and cold Ipiales things are going pretty good! After tasting the warmth of Cali again for the ZL Council I feel great, excited, and optimistic about what is to come here in the next couple months in the mission. I feel like the faith the mission has right now is through the roof after achieving what was achieved last month, and only looking forward to what will come next. We received a pretty great training this week that helped us a ton on Jacob 5, establishing the roots of the tree (established church leadership) and using it to graft in the new branches (new converts and rescued members.)
Missionary work has really changed and it is wonderful how well all of the elders are working with their church leaders to find, baptize and reactivate. The Work of Salvation has been accelerated and I am so fortunate to be in the mission at this time when there is so much excitement about it!
I did have a great opportunity this past week to go back to an old area! It was wonderful to be able to go back to Valle Grande this week while I was in Cali! With Elder Cordova having served there as well we got permission to go and see everyone before heading back to Ipiales. I saw some familiar faces, like the Familia Bonilla Baungera, who are all members now after being married and baptized! (see foto) Manuel Bermudez, Familia Ocampo and many others. It was great to see them flourishing in the Gospel. Definitely a huge treat!
We are preparing a special training for the zone this week that is about using all of the wonderful tools that have been given to us to help us achieve with success our objective. We live in an age where there is so much planning and record keeping that can be done to help the work progress. We are given planners and area books to help plan and keep records of all the inspired work that we do. It is all available but sometimes we are a little too lazy with it. The goal is to help the missionaries understand that these inspired tools will be the means that many people receive the Gospel and stay faithful to it. One of the problems of retention in Colombia is that the records of the investigators never get transferred and the elders that get to the area don't have any record of the people who have been baptized. This is something we want to change in the mission and it will help us a lot!
This week there wasn't a ton of time to work in our area what with the 2 day travel and divisions we had planned, but I am happy to report that we have a wedding set! Diana and Fernando (investigators for about 4 months) have decided to get married! What a joy when we passed by the house and have Diana immediately tell us the wonderful news with a huge smile on her face. She has been through so much what with her having a huge testimony of the gospel and not being able to get baptized because her "husband" didn't want to get married. They are looking at the 23rd of October for the date and the 26th for the baptism! How great! We have work to do with Fernando however, he still has a lot of doubts and concerns we haven't quite worked through. But if the Lord can change his heart in terms of marriage, it is only a preparation for the softening of heart towards the gospel!
Harold hasn't been able to get baptized because he has been in Pasto taking final exams and is really busy. But through phone calls we can tell everything is going well! Claudia also is coming along, we are still trying to get an appointment set with the husband. But we did see a miracle with her... she said she wanted a clear answer telling her that what she was doing was worth all the hassle that it was causing at home, she was frustrated and almost about to call it quits. But then she opened the bible and started reading in a random page. It just so happened that it opened to Acts 1:4-5:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
She took that to mean that she should not depart from the church, but should wait for the promises and blessings she was promised, and that in "not many days" she would be baptized. What an answer! I must say she is the most truly converted investigator I have had on my mission! We just have to look for the way to make it all happen!
Well that's it for today! I am super happy to be a missionary right now! I am living with more purpose now than ever before, and I feel like I am becoming a better more effective missionary every day. There is much left to learn and to do before my time is up and it makes me happy to say that! Thanks for everything!