Friday, April 18, 2014

Week 15 - Quito - 14 April 2014

What a great week! The highlight definitely had to be Francisco´s baptism on Saturday night. I feel so blessed that we were able to find, teach, baptize. and confirm Francisco Benalcazar. We were also so blessed to have the help from members, especially Fabian Martinez, who recently was less active, but has become one of our strongest assets here in the ward for helping us with the missionary work. Fabian took the role of creating the program for the baptism, and also was able to baptize Franisco. It was so beautiful. Also all of Francisco´s family came to the baptism to support him, and the next day as well to his confirmation. I could feel the spirit so strongly when Francisco was cofirmed and we asked him later how he felt and he said "el calor de corazon." This is his testimony beginning to grow. We also had a noche de hogar with him, his mother (who is Catholic, but interested in the Mormons) and the family Martinez. It was beautiful. We hope that his mother, Gabriella, can progress, we have a cita with her and Francisco on Miercoles. Also fun fact: Franciso wanted me to sing at his baptism, I decided to sing Acompáñme (Abide with me), but decided to change it last minute due to a late request by Francisco, He wanted me to sing Mas Cerca Dios De Ti,  of course I told him no, then surprised him and sung it anyways. I was a little bit skeptical that it wouldn´t bring the spirit because there was nothing, no piano, not instrumental back up, just boring little me singing. But I cannot describe the beauty I felt when I began to sing. It seems like finally I know why I have been given this gift. The spirit filled the room, Francisco´s eyes were filled with tears, and there was a power, tangible. It didn´t matter that there wasn´t back up because I was really just giving my testimony. I decide to sing the 1st. 3rd, and 5th verse, differentiating tempo and volume according to how I felt. For the first time, performing wasn´t about me, it was about the people I loved, Francisco and his family. The love I have been able to feel for complete strangers is overwhelming. I´m definitely not alone in this work, Christ is right along side me, and I know I am borrowing a little bit of his love everyday.  

Also, this  we were able to contact many references, one, in specific, Hermana Paola, is golden. We taught her lesson 1 and she just opened up, telling us how she didn´t agree with the Catholic religion, and how reptitious it is. She told us how when she reads the bible, she feels like God is trying to tell her something but she doesn´t know what. She just wants to have a better relationship with her 13 year old son who she feels like is drifting away from her due to the perilous high school life. We focused in the Apostacy and the importance of the Restoration, and I think she really "got it". She is facinated with the Libro de Mormon because we explained to her how the Libro de Mormon helps us grow in faith, by explaining the process and application of important principals more than the Bible does. Her only problem is she lives on the limit of the ward boundary, and wants to assist the San Carlos ward because it is closer to her house. She told us she was going to come to church on Sunday, and we even stopped by to pick her up, but she wasn´t ready, she said she was come as soon as she was ready and we never saw her at church. We are hoping she just decided to go to San Carlos, but we aren´t sure, we will visit her tonight and find out. 

 We are also working with the less active Family Puma, especially with Freddy (14 years old), who has a baptismal date on the 26th, but his papa lost his job and found a new one that tragically is on sunday, and so now he can´t come to church. I personally think its a prueba de fe, that he should keep looking for better work. But for now, he is not assisting la iglesia. And his family isn´t either. We are sort of furstrated because we have worked with them for so long, and they don´t seem to get the importance of keeping commandments. We even had a member stop by to take them to church but they were leaving for somewhere, so they couldn´t come with the member.
But they are such a sweet family, we just need to be very clear with them about the consequenses of not going to church. Literally the improtance of the Santa Cena (Sacramnet) is huge!! ITs our expression of love we have for Christ, and a demonstration of our willingness to be his people. It was one of the first things he established after baptism when he came to visit the Nephites.

 I feel like we are working really hard, and I can feel the Lord´s hand in this work, I just wish people would make better decisions. This in particular, the choices our investigators our making seems to be stressing Hermana Madrid out, and I can sense it. I´ve been trying to stay calm but sometimes I can feel doubts and I know that they don´t come from God. I like to look for the beautiful things in each day and I´m trying to help Hermana Madrid as well. We have become best friends and I always want to help her be happy. Pray for us that we won´t get stresed out that we´ll be able to put everything in the Lords hands.  I was asked to give a talk in church 5 mintutes before the meeting started yesterday, and I was kind of nervous. I mean my español is good, but not great. I quickly prayed for assistance in choosing what to talk about. And the thought suddenly came to my mind that I should talk about revelation through the Book of Mormon. I followoed this prompting, chosea couple scriptures and confidently waled up to the stand. (Confindence is always key to success.. especially when your confindece isn´t in yourself, but in the Lord). And then I gave my talk! It was great, I couldn´t have done it without the Holy Ghost. This taught me that we can´t worry about the little things, we can´t worry about our insuffiency, because in the end... We´re all pretty insufficient. We need to put our efforts in trusting the Lord and following the spirit, and then everything will fall into place. I feel peace right now. And its way more easier that being stressed. I like to think of what President Uchtdorf said in conference, that if we just link our yoke to Christ´s, everything is so much easier. And I can see that here ont he mission. So I invite you all to depend a little more on the savior to help you with your day to day problems, seek for revelation in your daily scripture reading. And enjoy this Easter weekend! Here in Ecuador,,, Easter is a week long Holiday.. its called Semana Santa. I probably won´t be able to eat any chocolate eggs which is a bummer, but I´ll try to make up for it in pan de chocalate which literally is my new addiction. Its like a cinnamon roll, but instead of cinnamon, melted chocolate... It can´t be replicated in any other country I´m pretty sorry all yall. I love you so much! Oh! And we also had Emergency changes today, Don´t worry I´m still with Hermana Madrid, But Hermana Cayama se fue.. which is really sad.. because I love her a lot too. Now we have a new Hermana se llama Hermana Aravena! She is pretty cool and she is from Chile. It's her birthday today... so sad... emergency changes on your birthday.. so we are going to make her a cake. Anyways that's the life here in Ecuador! Have a great week everyone!!

Attached is a pic of Francisco, Fabian, and us... Also another pic of a place once upon a time where I stood with Sarah and the rest of our HEFY group... The Teliferrico.    

Hermana Powley