Well hello everyone! I hope and trust that all is safe and well back in the United States! This week seems to have gone so quick! I loved it though. :) I feel like each and every week I grow and progress. Even though I am a long way away from the Missionary that I want and think I should be...every week I try to see the progress I am making. This week I seemed to have taken at least one more step in the right direction!
So the pictures that you see are mostly all from a farm that we were able to visit today! It´s about 30 minutes walking from Negritos. They had a few animals and fruits, one of my favorite pics is Elder Yupa about to eat that fruit with the face. :) We had a really great time going out there and visiting, and seeing the animals. It reminded me of Grandpa Shaw, how he always had some goats, and the atmosphere just seemed to be the same. I also like it a lot more when we aren´t a huge group of missionaries. Maybe I´m weird, but I like the smaller groups more! Just the four of us went, and it really was a lot of fun.
There is one other picture of me, Elder Compuzano, and Elder Knudson. As you can see, Elder Knudson is from Utah! Elder Compuzano is our Zone Leader and he´s from Nicaragua. He is a great example to me, and we´ve had a ton of fun in these two changes together. He keeps saying I look a lot like his trainer. This past week I actually saw a photo of him and he´s right! I am almost exactly as tall as him, and I think we have the same face! What a small world...
This week we saw quite a bit of success here in Negritos! On Tuesday and Wednesday we had companion exchanges. Wednesday I went with Elder Compuzano in his area in Talara. It was a great experience where I learned a lot from him about how to really teach according to the needs of our investigators. Every elder has a different style, and he showed me a little more about adapting the lessons, and also how to make my lesson plans a little better. I´ve already begun applying some strategies and I´m loving it. :)
On Wednesdy I went out with Elder Tylen Smith, who is also in Negritos, just in the other part where Elder McDonough was. Elder Smith came with me, and he´s really awesome! He´s going to Utah State and I´m already hoping that maybe I´ll room with him when I get back, he´s that awesome! Anyway, when we went out together, I was able to learn a lot more about using examples in my teaching. The Saviour constantly taught with Parables, and I am finding that it´s so much easier for the people to understand our message if we can find some small little story to adapt to our teachings. I´m really going to focus on trying to do that in the next couple of weeks!
Our investigators have been doing ok this week. It´s been tough getting anyone to come to church, as usual. We pass by there house and they just aren´t there. Everyone is doing something Sunday morning at 9! I don´t know what though! However, we are working hard to help them continue to grow in the gospel. This past week we taught Pedro again and found out he has stopped reading the Book of Mormon and praying. Unfortunately, he´s started a downward spiral. :( It´s sad because we can see the bad effects so plainly in front of us: His job is getting more stressful, he is having problems with his back now, his two sons have both gotten sick in the last week, his wife is sick, they all got sick from some ceviche that they ate....it´s just OBVIOUS. He needs to read. He has to read and pray, and attend church. When he was doing that, he was seeing so many blessings. Now that he´s not, well, no blessings are coming his way! We´ll keep working with him.
While I was with Elder Compuzano on Tuesday, Elder Ramirez and Iribar were able to find one really great investigator! Her name is Mirian and she just seems so ready! I guess when they found her she was having a REALLY tough day. They were able to show her how Christ can really save her from all of the tough times in her life if she chooses to follow him. By the end of the lesson, I guess, she was feeling a lot better and was ready to accept baptism! When I saw her two days later, I could just see the light in her eyes! Truly, God led them to her because she needs the gospel right now in her life. She could be another one of those golden investigators that are just ready for it! She wasn´t able to attend sacrament meeting, which worries me some, but we´ll see what happens!
Another unfortunate thing happened this week with an investigator of Elder Yupa and Smith. He had made some really bad decisions in his life, drugs, alcohol, sex, which left him with a child he can´t see from a girlfriend way back. However, he´s made some great progress and put that all behind him. On Friday, President Chipman came for a devotional we had and they were able to have him get interviewed, and he passed! However, that very night he went out and got drunk. Yesterday, the day of his baptism, he didn´t come to church, so when Elder Yupa went to check on him they found out what had happened and found out. Makes me sad, but also we have to realize there´s only so much we can do to help people. They have to make the decision themselves. We can council and show them what we know and have learned, but they make the decision.
Well, my time is running out! I hope all is well at home with everyone! I look forward to my call in two weeks! I wish you all an amazing week! Thank you for all the letters that I receive! :) I´m really really grateful for each and everyone one! They keep me going.
Love you all!