Hey friends and family!
Let´s just say this was an awesome week! So much happened that I was dead tired every night! I had the opportunity to listen to El. Holland and I got to see a bunch of my peeps from Yaruquí!
It always makes me sad when members (especially older women) start to cry. We were talking to our mamita after lunch and asked her if there was anything we could do for her. She, like everyone else all 9 billion times we have asked this, said no. We talked to her a little bit more about her son who is leaving for his mission in a few months and she started to cry telling us that she was in so much pain from arthritis, she was afraid that she would not be able to keep working to help him afford his mission. We decided to, without asking, start to wash the dishes and clean her kitchen for a little bit. She protested at first but then gave in. You could see tears welling up in her eyes from gratitude. It always feels good to give even a little bit of service because you never know how much it will mean to them. She was able to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and playing with her grandson.
It is interesting to do house contacting here in the heart of Quito because everyone is so closed and DOES NOT want to talk to us but that does not stop us. We did a little house contacting and then went to eat lunch. We had an appointment with an investigator, Victor, who has been investigating the church since last February. He keeps telling us that he just has not received his answer and that all he has to do to receive his answer is persevere to the end (you cannot really do that until after you get baptized...). He is a funny guy.
We had our regularly scheduled meetings and then went to lunch with Mama Cruz. She made us some awesome enchiladas and then we had a quick little lesson with her music teacher for her kids. Her name is Gaby and she works in the international school. She was fun to talk to because I got to teach a little bit in English (let´s just say that teaching in English is hard...). We then went to the church and had our weekly family home evening as a ward. We, as missionaries, put it on every week so that our investigators and less actives can find and make friends in the ward. It is always a blast! Tonight we watched "Finding Faith in Christ", a super good video about the life of Christ and what he did in his time on Earth (btw, you can find it on YouTube and you should watch it!).
I love when we have members agree to come make visits with us and then all of our appointments fall! We went on down to Zambiza to do final prep work for Joselyn´s baptism and prepping Stephany for her baptism but all of our other appointments fell! Oh well! It was still a good night because we were able to help Joselyn´s mom feel better. She was having a rough night and did not want to listen to us (she is less active and tells us that she is Catholic now). Little by little she has been listening to us but she said no for tonight. I have a bunch of the Mormon Messages on a flashdrive so we went and put one on about having personal challenges and how the gospel can help. I turn the volume way up so you could hear it all throughout the house. You could hear her cleaning in the other room but then stop. As we were leaving, she popped her head out and told me that she was listening. I told her that I had hoped she was because I knew it was a message for her. She said thank you with tears in her eyes. Little by little, I know we can help her come back.
We had a baptism and boy was it a crazy day! We had our weekly meeting with our ward mission leader and talked about several of the problems that we were seeing in the ward. We came up with several solutions and I have my fingers crossed that they will help. I had prepped brownie batter that morning for Joselyn´s baptism but did not bake them until later in the afternoon, so they were a complete failure! But have no fear! Mama Cruz came to the rescue and fixed us up a bunch of brownies. Everything was all set for the baptism and the rest went smoothly. Nelly, Joselyn´s older sister who is less active but we have almost completely reactivated, bore her testimony during the baptismal service and you could tell that she was ready to come back to the church fully. Joselyn could not stop smiling before and after her baptism! Also, Joselyn´s mom came to the baptism and you could tell that she could feel the spirit!
I would have to say that this has probably been the best Valentine´s Day that I have had. We got to listen to Elder Holland!! How cool is that? And I get to listen to him again on Wednesday! Before the meeting (it was a stake conference), I got to see a bunch of people from the Yaruquí branch! It was truly a tender mercy of the Lord! Yadira did not want to let go and could not stop crying. An hermana that I started to teach before I went home asked me if I recognized her. Come to find out, she got baptized!! :) Also, a less active hermano was there with his whole family! Sometimes, we do not always see the results of our labors right away. There was a slight theme to the talks about miracles and how they still exist (I can testify of that!). El. Holland shared three amazing miracles that he had seen recently and then shared Moroni 7: 29, 37. He bore a powerful testimony like always and then left a blessing on us.
We went and ate lunch with the family McOmber, a bunch of gringos from Oregon who when they return to the states will be living in Utah. We had a very gringo dinner of roast beef (makes me feel super trunky!) and homemade brownies and ice cream. We then went to visit people in Nayon. Our family of less actives, the family Santa Cruz, are doing awsome. Unfortunately only the mom was able to listen to El. Holland today but she said that that was what she needed to help her family come back to church.
This week was super exhausting but amazing. We got a comment that Joselyn´s baptism was very well organized and that was extremely very personal for her (which is how it should be every time). Now we have to start prepping Stephany´s baptism for the 26th! Busy! Busy! Busy! Hope you all have a great week and that you had a happy Valentine´s day!
Until next time,