Hello Family!!! Here´s how my week went!
Monday night we got on the bus at about 5 pm and then headed back to Iquique. We were on the second floor of the bus on the front row! Haha it was crazy because there are these big windows and it felt like we were going on a roller coaster or something. As we drove I was just amazed about how there is absolutely nothing out here. Nothing but mountains of dirt and sand. I thought about the people who first colonized this place and I cant imagine what their first thoughts were. I like to joke about this being the desolation referred to in the Book of Mormon.
I arrived back to Iquique at 9 pm and then headed back to the apartment.
Tuesday morning we went to district meeting and then the zone leaders had talked about presidents goal for our zone. As a zone we had set the goal to baptize 12 but then president told the zone leaders that he wanted them to baptize 13. We had 2 baptismal dates planned for this Saturday but we needed to find someone else. We had thought about the kids Benjamin and Jeremy that we have been working with. We said it could be possible to baptize them but we needed more time to teach and prepare them. The next day as a zone we were going to fast to see what we could do to reach this goal of baptisms. After that we went to a cita with hermano flores. He is the man that is going to baptize his daughter Javiera. The girl that we have been working with. He had received his interview from the bishop and had been cleared to baptize his daughter. He said that he is having struggles with his wife because his wife does not believe in the church anymore but his life is much better. Later that day we met up with Elder Zufelt a zone leader and he wanted to come with us to visit these two potential baptisms here in our sector. So we went with him to go visit Benjamin and Jeremy and he talked with them. After the lesson with Elder Zufelt he said that if we could finish teaching the lessons with them by the end of the week that we could baptize them. We finished the night with teaching Javiera her last lesson about tithing and then the family fed us hamburgers! Haha the mom wanted to make me something american and so they had made us hamburgers. It was nothing like home but it was still good!
Wednesday was our word of wisdom day. We went to go teach our Bolivian friend Leninka about the word of wisdom. She knew that this lesson was coming and she has had a problem with cigarettes. But her friend Mary (who we baptized the week before) is a great support to her. She said that she would stop smoking and that she would live the word of wisdom. She gave us her box of cigarettes and then we left it at that. It is incredible how the Lord blesses people when they really strive to follow him. To have been smoking for years and then as she tries to live the gospel she is able to just drop it like that with the help of the Lord. To finish that night we went to teach our other baptismal date Carlos. He was going to be baptized that Saturday and we reviewed the baptismal questions with him. We determined that he was struggling with the Word of Wisdom and with drinking tea. We retaught and reemphasized the importance of this divine law and then he took us to his kitchen and gave us all of his black tea. We left with two big boxes of tea and a box of cigarettes that night. We had great success that day with helping people leave their addictions and follow the Lord. To bury their weapons of war like in Alma 24 and to follow the Lord, make a covenant and never return.
Thursday the district leader came with me in our sector to go complete the baptismal interviews for Javiera and Carlos. They both passed and were set to be baptized that coming Saturday.
Friday was incredible we went to teach an investigator who is the mother of a less active. She accepted our message very well and then we invited her to pray. When we had come back the next day to visit her she had received her answer that it was true! I love having the confidence in our message and absolute knowledge that if someone prays to God to ask if our message is true and if they ask with faith in Christ, real intent, they will receive an answer!
Later that night we went to go work with a less active family. The wife has been a member for most of her life and the husband is not a member. They have a 4 year old son and live in a small apartment. They are in their late 20's and their names are Andrea & Jose. We have been working with Andrea and she has been coming back to church and the husband has started to come too. The husband has met different sets of missionaries for the last 8 years!! We had taught him a lesson about 2 weeks ago and then lately we have been focusing to get him to pray and actually ask. Friday when we talked to him he said that he had prayed and felt the presence of God a feeling in his heart. We were amazed! Incredible! He has been meeting with missionaries for 8 years and now he finally receives his answer! It is incredible how time and other experiences can prepare people to receive certain answers and things to their questions. So we ended up setting a baptismal date with him for the 20th of October and the family is super excited.
Saturday was a bummer. We get a call from one of the youth telling us that Javiera had talked to him on facebook saying that she was not getting baptized anymore. We were so confused. We go over to the house to see what the deal is and we go to talk to the mom and she is not good. The mom is just crying and we try to figure out the situation. Basically she is convinced the church isn't true and that she is not going to let her daughter get baptized into a church that she "knows isn't true". It was a bad situation, later the little daughter came in and was screaming and crying and then the dad came up to try to help the situation and it was a disaster. Later when we went to go pick up Benjamin and Jeremy for their baptism their mom said that the kids needed more time. So we went from baptizing 4 to baptizing 1 in a matter of 6 hours. It was really a bummer and we were pretty bummed that we had lost these 3 souls. However we baptized Carlos and it was a great service.
Although that we lost these baptismal dates, we will work to get them back! There is so much work to do in this sector and not enough time do to it! We are going to work really hard to use the ward more to go on divisions and things with a few priests in the ward.
I know that my savior lives. In times of craziness and outright disasters he will always be there! When we struggle we just need to remember that in the end all will be okay! Be of Good Cheer he told his disciples. I love this work, it is so fun to see peoples lives change for the better! Have a great week!