I must start the letter with certainly the most important shout out I can make, HAPPY BIRTHDAY mother! I haven't been there to share it with you for your 30-15th and 30-16th birthdays but I wish you all the best. I am thankful for the great support I have always had from mother dear, from sports, to school, to church to the mission! I certainly miss the good ole days picking up the kids from school! That was certainly quite the hoot haha. I have never gone so long without hearing a "breakfrust" or a good ole genuine "mom laugh" but I definitely miss it! Happy birthday mom!
Well this week has been a blast! I must first comment on a really fun part of the week. One of the returned missionaries in our branch, Franklin, has been studying English ever since he got home, and he has been inviting us to some classes to teach! I have discovered a love for teaching English to Latin people. It is so much fun and helps me learn more about the English language that I didn't know before. I had had some experience teaching in Buenaventura but not with such advanced students.
Before and after each lesson we say a prayer in English and I am also able to tell what we do as missionaries, and a little about our message to the world. The biggest fruit we have obtained from this unique method of proselyting is a family of one of the other teachers. We were invited to an anniversary of the death of a loved one of the family and thought it would be a great opportunity to ease the pain with the peace that comes from understanding the Plan of Salvation. We attended and then shared our message. It was so wonderfully received, and it was so easy to tell that this family had been prepared to receive us.
Another great experience we had this week happened with Claudia! We got permission to travel to the small town where she lives to try and talk with the husband to see if we could help him be more tolerant with the church and to teach about marriage. We had a great experience! We thought it best to gain his friendship and trust before trying to get into a gospel discussion following the example of Nephi:
" And it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord." (1 Nephi 7:4)
We decided to play some games and tell home stories to gain the trust, and it worked great, he seemed to have a great interest in American Culture. We then were able to "speak unto him the words of the Lord." Claudia gave her testimony of the Gospel and there was no doubt that her husband felt the Spirit. His heart was touched and he agreed to no longer be a problem for her to come to church! And the easy part was the wedding because he had been wanting to for awhile. We offered our help and left with Claudia to go to church! Miracle!
Also, this week we met a family member of a family in our Branch who is named Marcela! She has received the missionaries before in Quito, Ecuador, but was forced to move to Colombia for complications with the visa. We had a great lesson in the home of a member and we were able to teach a lot in not a lot of time. The reason for that is because she had already read the B.O.M. and received an answer from God. All we did was help her realize what that meant. That she had a testimony of the restoration as Joseph Smith as the prophet of God. That the church has been restored as it was originally established by Jesus Christ. That the principles and ordinances of the Gospel have been restored to help us know what God wants us to do in this life, and that the Priesthood of God is available to make sacred covenants with God once again! That didn't take very long to teach, and we set a date for baptism this Saturday. Another Miracle!
We also were out visiting a bunch of less actives and we ran into a particular family who seemed to have been waiting and expecting our visit. We found out that the mother was a member and that the daughter of 17 wanted to be, but the husband did not want the family to leave a family tradition of a longgg time. We found out that the daughter had been to church one time and had such a powerful experience that she knew it was true at once. However, her father would not let her attend. It seems we have a lot of problems with men!! haha She told us she has been praying and even fasting for a while so that her father will have his heart softened so that she can fulfill with the desires of her heart. When she was telling us this her mother's heart was touched and she wanted to help. We set up an appointment to speak with the father on Tuesday! Wish us luck! Another miracle!
Well those are just a few of the miracles experienced this week! I have found that being grateful and humble is a power in missionary work. When we make an effort to actively seek out the blessings that we have received we realize how blessed we are and how active God´s hand is in this Work, our faith increases and we are empowered by grace to incredible things. There is a lot of disheartening things that happen in missionary work, but the key is to keep trying with faith remembering your blessings. It is actually a very simple concept, that can transform a missionary if applied to right degree. I read an article in this month´s Liahona about a missionary who applied this principle in her mission and saw it change everything,
y´all should read it!
Thanks for the prayers on my behalf! That is one of the things that I am so grateful for is such a wonderful family who supports me on my mission! Your prayers are felt when I need them the most! Love you all!