Dear Friends and Family,
It's so cold! A few days ago we were walking around carrying our coats and complaining about our leggings. Now we're so bundled up I can hardly move!
This week has been awesome. The weeks when we have the most opposition and discouragement are often followed by big blessings. This week the blessings have come in the form of having 5 people committed to baptism next month, and progression with our *many* investigators who are not married. It's been tough not to have had a baptism since February, and I was really discouraged and distracted. It's one thing to have someone commit to being baptized, and another to help them actually arrive at that date.
Last night we went out to try and contact a few references, which is not that fun since on most of the streets here you can have #328 and #1221 right next to each other. You basically have to walk the entire length of the street to figure out that the address doesn't exist. There was one who was a less active that we've been trying to contact for a long time. Two different people from our ward had asked us to go find him, but he was never there, nor did his family have any interest in letting us in. We decided to stop by one last time before dropping the referral. We knocked on the door, and instead of the less-than-polite response we've had five times before, the mom (Jeni) asked us to come in. As we began to talk we discovered that while the missionaries had taught and baptized two of her sons (who are now inactive) she was never present in the lessons with them. As we talked more, she began to explain that she used to be very active in an evangelical church. Jeni has eight children that she is raising alone and their father now wants nothing to do with them. After the birth of her second handicapped child, she stopped going to her church and praying-- everything, for surely even if there was a God, that God had abandoned her. We asked her if she wants to see change in her life. She thought for a while and then said "Yes, that would be wonderful." We taught the simple doctrines of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We challenged to her to be baptized and she accepted a baptismal date for the 17th of August. She really is a remarkable lady and I hope that she will allow the Atonement to heal her and her family. Prayers on her behalf are much needed.
We recently had interviews with President Armstrong. His leaving is going to be really hard for me. Sometimes I feel like missionaries aren't necessarily called to a mission-- they are called to specific people. It also made me even more aware of how fast this precious time is flying. I am approaching my year mark. I'll be coming home at the end of February. As the mission handbook says, the time in which we have to serve the Lord with all our time and devoted efforts is extremely short.
Mom and dad, I was happy to hear about the good weekend you had with Ethan and Ryker and Jackie. That made me so happy to hear about Ethan teaching the Plan of Salvation! I'm so glad that you get to enjoy the temple so close! Mom-- one of my roommates is from Bogota, Colombia. I asked her if I got the names of some of your converts if she could help locate them, and she said she'd be happy to! Do you remember their names?
Love you forever,