On a different note, this week has simply FLOWN. I don`t even know where to begin! So last monday was pretty crazy...I had to travel practically all day for Elder Naranjo! Turns out...he`s training a new missionary!!! I`m super excited for him and I know that he is going to do a great job training in the humidity of Tumbes! Everyone says Tumbes is a punishment, but I also know that they are having a lot of success there! Heat, humidity, and bugs...but the gospel must go to all four corners, right?
My new companion, Elder Castillo that`s in this picture I sent, is AMAZING! He truly is an answer to prayers. I prayed for a companion that was obedient and that really wanted to be here in the mission. Boy, have a received the greatest companion in the world or what! I kind of feel like the two really super dorky elders from `Saturday`s Warrior` because both of us are just excited to go out and teach the people of Sechura. It`s amazing what the difference a positive attitude can make. Elder Castillo talks like the people are already committed to being baptized and have accepted our message. I think it`s a little word called FAITH. However, works miracles!
So a little more about Elder Castillo...he is from Lima! However, he actually knew about the church for the first time in Huanaco, that`s where Elder Ramirez, an anterior companion, is from! While he was studying there, one of his friends (yep, one of his GIRL friends) invited him to learn more about the church. He went to one of the dances, saw her dancing and...well...he changed! Haha. Flirt to convert, right? However, it really wasn`t like that. He has changed a ton. He`s told me just a little of what he went through to become a member of the church, and it truly inspires me.
He is the only member of five children. He got baptized without their approval, because they are all super catholics! He didn`t even tell them that he was in the mission until about 3 months in! He truly is an incredible example to me of what sacrifice is and how the gospel can change people. He left everything behind to be here, and is putting his whole heart and soul into the work! Ugh, I could literally write pages and pages of the story of his conversion and the conversion of all of the people I`ve met! Isn`t it simply incredible how the gospel can change each individual to become someone COMPLETELY different? One day I`m going to create a blog of the conversions of everyone...the world will listen and be able to share in the joy of the gospel through the experiences of their brothers and sisters.
So as for our pensionista...we`re actually eating in our own apartment! The owner said she was willing, and so we`re there. She is a JW, so we`re trying to slip in a little teaching at every meal time. She`s really a great lady, and I know that little by little, she`s going to see how the gospel truly changes lives. I have no doubt that the gospel will change each and every person that we meet.
So this week we were also able to have an incredible lesson with Ana and Nelly Berrù! We went with Prdte Bazalar and his wife. After teaching a tiny bit about the Word of Wisdom, which they were already living, we began talking about the way the gospel can bless and change lives. The spirit was super strong! Towards the end of that, Ana`s husband walked in, Michael! Although he really isn`t too willing to make a lot of changes yet, I can see that his heart has already changed a TON! We ended up spending FOUR HOURS in that house! Every time we were about to leave, something else came up. Although I normally would NEVER say that was a good thing, I do feel like we made a lot of progress with the family and with Michael. Had we not waited to leave, we wouldn`t have been able to talk to him.
Sunday was a very emotional day for me for many reasons. First of all I did NOT participate in the Sacrament! Yay! For the first time, all four of the holders of the priesthood were members of the ward. I know that is going to be the same from here on. Also, Felix gave a talk! He was super nervous, but did great! Another speaker was Sheyla, the girl in the photo I sent. She has been less active for more than two years with her family, but we`ve got them back and they are now trying to gain their own personal testimonies! Sheyla, Martina, David, and Leidy are all in that photo. Leidy is 10 years old, and is Martina`s neighbor that we teach along with the whole family. We`re working on trying to get into her house, but it always begins with one person.
One more thing that I had to write to you about is Claudia! She came to church on Sunday too! Although she really didn`t agree with all of our rules on dating, I know that she felt the spirit while she was there. It`s a whole new world in the church. That`s why we are `born again` during baptism. We have to learn everything like little kids! We also had an awesome lesson with her where my companion was able to share his conversion with her. He was COMPLETELY Catholic, but now has changed 100 percent! He shared how he came to know the truth, and I know that helped her as well. I hope and pray that she will continue to progress and that we can get the rest of her family to listen to us as well.
Well, it`s time to go...so much to do! I love you all so much...it`s crazy to think I`ve been gone so long. Please keep up the letters and emails! They really do mean a ton. I`ll try to be better about sending them back too....
Back Row - Dallon, Elder Castillo, Sheyla, Martina
Front Row: Leidy, David