Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stake Conference, New Investigators

This week was truly one of the best weeks here. We were blessed with many, many miracles and were able to start teaching a lot of new people. I also realized how blessed I am to be in this ward. The ward here is truly amazing and I feel blessed to be able to get to know them and to see how great they are at doing missionary work.

This week was a little different because we had stake conference. Stake Conference here is different from how it is at home. At home, we can walk to the stake center in just as much time as it takes to get to the chapel. Here, we had to drive 40 minutes to a different city to get to the stake center. Thankfully, we were able to find rides for [the family we're teaching]. The mom and the uncle actually came to the adult session on Saturday night! Amazing. A lot of lifetime members--here and in Utah--don't even do that! The conference was great and we were so happy our investigators came. For the Sunday session, we had FOUR investigators at stake conference. Such a huge blessing. We had the 3 members of the [family], and then a new investigator.... We met her in the street last week and she told us she wants to start going to a church. I was worried what she would think about sitting through two solid hours of talks because she's 19 and used to go to Christian churches with rock bands and stuff, but I really had no reason to worry. I talked to her after and she said, "I really liked it! I think I'll come next week! I like how it's really peaceful and I liked the talks." She's awesome. We taught her later Sunday night and she said (paraphrased), "Yeah, I'm excited to start going to your church. I know I'll have to make a lot of changes but I'm excited. And I know I have to read the Book of Mormon and study a lot so I can decide to be baptized." We invited her to be baptized, and she accepted, but didn't accept a date. We're really happy to be teaching her because she truly is prepared.

We had another investigator accept a baptismal date during our first lesson with us. It was kind of a weird experience for us. We'd been trying to meet with this lady... for weeks. We received her name as a referral and tried for a long time to contact her, but without any luck. On Thursday we went and knocked on her door, just expecting to set up an appointment to come back another day, and she opened it and let us in! Crazy. That never happens! She took us into her living room, sat us down, fed us cucumbers with salt (much to the chagrin of Hermana Osborn, who is not a fan of this delicious green vegetable), and we taught the first lesson to her. The Spirit was definitely there. She told us, "Si, creo que todo eso es verdad." "Yes, I believe all of that is true." We invited her to be baptized at the end of this month and she accepted. We told her about the word of wisdom and she committed to stop drinking coffee. We walked out of the appointment a little bit in shock that everything had happened so quickly! Unfortunately, as has happened with several of our past investigators who have accepted baptismal dates, we haven't been able to have contact with her since that night. We're worried, but we also know that it's going to be up to her to make the choice to prepare for baptism, and all we can do is continuously invite her. Our mission president said in stake conference, quoting Preach My Gospel, that our success is measured by whether or not we invite people to receive the restored gospel. It's true! We experience a lot of disappointment every day when people choose not to accept the gospel, but we see through the miracles we experience daily that the Lord is aware of our efforts to be obedient and to always invite people to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The [family we're teaching] is doing great. We went over the baptismal interview questions with them and they are incredibly prepared to be baptized this Sunday! I feel so blessed to know them. They are amazing. They already have desires to share the gospel with people, and they haven't even been baptized yet! The mom of the family said, "The people out there don't have what we have! We need to be examples for them!" That's really a sign of true conversion--to recognize the blessings of the gospel, and then to have a desire to live in such a way that others can recognize those blessings. They will be interviewed for baptism tomorrow night, and next week I'll be writing all about how their baptism went!

Other comments from this week: I feel so weird around white people! I was shocked at how strange I felt when I walked into the stake center and was surrounded by people speaking English. I didn't realize how immersed I've been in Latino culture until I felt immediately awkward around white people. An odd phenomenon.

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