|Colombian Christmas food!|
|Pic with the branch president and his family who gave us it all (the food)|
|Mission Leadership Council|
Good to be writing again after talking to you guys on Thursday! The time sure went by fast as it always does but it is always nice to have a quick chat with the fam! I'm happy I was able to share some feelings about my mission at the end there. I apologize that I got all jumbled up with my words, one day I will be able to tell all about it without a time limit!! It was also great to see all of the great gifts, Cody's mission book took the cake for me. You can just put that on the future Christmas list! Too bad about the Cowboys... again. I think it's time for Jerry Jones to step down.
Now for what is happening here!
There is a lot of new excitement in the area right now! First of all we will be having two baptisms this week. Ana Maria and Juan David have been doing just amazing and are about to take the step that will open the doors to the eventual journey to eternal life! I think the key with both of them progressing so rapidly is getting them involved with the members. They feel part of the team, and that is what happened with the members of the Church with Alma the Older....
"And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another." (Mosiah 18:21)
It has been really great seeing them progress and I feel great about their conversions because I know that there will be people looking after them when I'm not here any more. I think that is an important part of missionary work that I didn't understand earlier on.
We had a pretty cool experience with Ana Maria this past Saturday as we went to teach her to sure up the date we had for her. We were struggling in planning what we should do to help her progress more because she was always just super willing and receptive, but we could feel something was missing. We decided to make up a plan that was about repentence thinking that would lead to what we were looking for. We taught the lesson and it felt just like any other lesson not really acheiving the spirituality we wanted but then came the impression to teach and testify of the Savior, and the reality of His sacrifice. That is when the Spirit became strong and she expressed feelings that had been given her of the Spirit, we acheived the connection we were looking for. The scripture 2 Nephi 9:21-23 came to mind...
21 And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.
22 And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day.
23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God
We invited her right then to "hearken unto his voice" by following His commandment to be baptized.
This taught me a lesson that sometimes as missionaries we get too fancy in our teaching, sometimes all the people need is to feel of the Savior's love and have the Spirit testify of His reality, that is what made it all make sense for Ana maria. I was grateful for that lesson the Lord taught me and for the fulfillment of the promise that we will know what to say in the moment we need it.
We also have an exciting development developing in the area because pretty soon the district will have different divisions in the branches. This is because there is a huge section of members that have gone inactive because they can't pay for the transit costs to get to the capilla (chapel). They are a lot closer to our capilla and finally the divisions will be changed. S
So in order to scope out a part of our new to be area we went with a member to that area to the rescue! We found a ton of families that want to come back! They felt abandoned because of the distance from the rest of the members but are excited about the change. We were really excited because that means that there are a ton of nonmembers in those homes and the missionary work in that area will blow up! It felt like Buenaventura again going to a zone missionaries havent worked in years and it was great to get to know so many new people!
So basically that is what is going on right here! It is weird killing (being the last companion of) another missionary. Elder Menendez is doing so great staying focused and not only that, but is more motivated to finish off great. He still looks to get better and doesn't think he knows it all, a great example of how I want to finish my mission. I am glad I still have a lot of time left because I know there is a lot more I need to do and become while I am here. I just love the people here, they have such believing hearts and good spirits. I feel as if I was a Colombian who was born in America. I know I was sent here by revelation, there is no other place I would rather serve.
Thanks for the support and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hard to say goodbye to my "mission year" but ready to see what 2014 has in store!