First of all I want to thank those of you that were able to send me a happy birthday greetings!! This birthday really was a great one! I had a great time at the Berrù`s. We had a little FHE with them and then had cake, which you can see from the picture I sent! It was also a very spiritual night with them. Ana is the mother of Felix, one of our recent converts. His dad, Michael, finally came home from a long business trip! Initially, he didn`t even want to listen to us, but we just watched the video of `Together Forever`. He loved it so much he asked me for a copy! I really think that God is touching his heart as well, and I`m hoping to see the entire family baptized!
On Saturday, we also had a lesson with Ana and her sister Nelly. I felt the spirit super strong during that lesson! We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ in very simple terms, and about the blessings we receive from it. They both testified to us that they are receiving and seeing the blessings from listening to us. I felt the spirit witnessing to them that what we taught is true. They both accepted baptismal dates for next month on the 8th. I really hope that things follow through. Hermana Ana even started to cry as she talked about how her husband was even changing after just 3 days! I know that this gospel has the power to change lives. I have faith that God is touching many other people out there, preparing them for me and my companion to teach. I hope that we can recognize them when we find them.
We also had a baptism this week! Milton Laureano was baptised by one of the recent converts in the ward, Carlos! It really was an amazing experience for me when I could see, yet again, how God is in everything.
First of all, we did not have a place to hold the baptism! We don`t have enough money to be able to go to the Union like before, so we had to search for a pool here. After visiting three places, we found one that was willing to fill one of their little play pools for us. We paid the five soles and just expected it to be ready! Well, we got there at 8 am and it was filled up to about my ankle...well, in the Church of Jesus Christ, we baptize by immersion. Not just our ankles. ;) So, that was a first problem. Another problem was our investigator! Milton told us he would wait for us in his house, so when we passed by and he wasn`t there, I was a bit worried! Also, another investigator from the center, Julio, was late as well! Turns out that us four elders were waiting for an hour there until the first people came. 2 and a half hours after it was supposed to begin, the service was underway! Thankfully, the big pool at this rec center had enough water...although they were trying to clean it and there was some scum at the bottom...but hey, a baptism is a baptism!
Claudia was also able to attend the baptism! She was there at 8...and was a bit stressed about having to wait so long. Let`s just say that the name of the church isn`t flying so high in her books right now, with her church experience and now the baptism. However, she was able to see the baptism, and I believe that she also felt the spirit as we sang songs. I sure felt it really strong...witnessing to me that God really is behind everything, and I didn`t need to worry about a thing!
Another challenge also hit us this week...that of our Pensionista! She provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us! However, this last Sunday she found out that she`s super ill! She has kidney stones as well as another sickness in her stumach. She has been in and out of the hospital and is now taking a lot of pills. This past week her mother was kind enough to cook for us, but now we`re without pension! We are eating with the other elders in their pension, but she has told us that this can`t be permanent. There are other ladies in the branch willing to provide meals for us, but the problem is that they have daughters! (Aren`t they always behind all of the problems Mom? I always told you I wanted a brother...haha, jk! Love ya sisters! :P ) We obviously can`t be there in the house every day for 3 hours with a family that has a teenage daughter...even the best of people can fall to temptation. I honestly do feel comfortable with one family because Chesy (That`s Chelsey actually!) is in school and really would only be there for dinner. However, President needs to check into it more, and we will continue looking.
Also...CHANGES this week!! I just barely found out that I will be staying in Sechura! As much as I know that Sechura is a hard area, I really want to continue to see the progress of Claudia and the Berrù family. I have high hopes for them. Elder Naranjo will be leaving, and if my suspicions are correct, he will be training a new missionary! All of that will be confirmed tomorrow. I am really excited to have a new companion...Elder Naranjo has just been kind of a downer these last two weeks. I`ve found out that I need to marry an optimistic. :) We`ll leave it at that. I am eternally grateful for what he was able to teach me about being more patient and temperate. He also taught me how to have better relations with members, and I learned that our purpose as missionaries is more than investigators...it`s members too. That`s been a focus this last month for us as well. We`re getting all the less actives back! It`s just as amazing to see them come closer to Christ as it is to see someone baptised. It makes me sad to see people fall away. They once had a close relationship with God, but they stopped praying. They stopped reading. They stopped making Him the priority. All of us can easily fall off the path. All of us can easily lose track of what is most important. I have done it. I have even done it here on the mission. However, there is a way back.
This last week we visited an 18 year old that was just baptized two years ago but stopped coming to church. Cecilia just started at the University a year ago and has been preoccupied with all of that. Happens to a ton of teenagers, right? When we visited her, I just tried to make her remember. I felt the spirit guiding me as I asked some really simple questions that made her reflect on her life before, when the missionaries where coming. She was able to recognize that she had stopped doing some very simple things, and because of that her life was not as happy as it was before.
A lot of times, with less active members, I don`t know what to say! At least with investigators, I know the next principle that they need to understand from the lesson plans. However, less actives are more difficult. It`s like home teaching. Well...it IS home teaching. The only thing is we don`t have home teachers so we`re trying to help President Bazalar, the branch president, with reactivation. It really makes me [It appears that DearElder.com cut Dallon's email here. We did actually get an email from President Bazalar saying that Dallon had trouble sending his email.]