Mi Querida Familia
What a great week! To start off, we found New Investigators! One of the highlights of my week, was when Hermana Madrid and I decided to go to Cochapamba to visit a family of recent converts, the family Pillajo, and we always pass by a house of an investigator we used to have, named Alexandra (recent because she dropped off the face of the planet about 3 weeks ago) We would call her and her phone was disocnneted, we would knock on her gate, and yelled "Buenos" but she never would come. Hermana Madrid would say, she doesn´t want to listen to us, but I always knew that one day we would find her again. And this week we did!!! We were walking by her house, and it just so happened that her husband was walking towards, we asked him if Alexandra was home and he said yes, and that their 3 year old son was very sick. Alexandra then came out to greet us..after 3 weeks.. and we found out that she had been out of work for awhile, that their phone line was cut, also their water, and also their lights. But she told us that she was praying for help, and that she had been reading the book of Mormon all this time.. Wow! Right? She came with us to the adult meeting for the stake,and although it was entered in missionary work she thought it was very interesting, She was even taking notes! We are going to visit her tonight to set a date for her baptism. Miracles are real!
Also we have been working with Fredy Puma, who is actually part of a less active family, and he was baptized when he was 8 but the baptism was never recorded, and so he will be baptized again next Saturday. I think its sort of a little blessing from God to this family, that they are relistening to all the missioanry discussions and re-living their testimonies. Also a little blessing for us as well, cuz we´re going to have another baptism! They were having trouble with Dia de Reposo, but we taught them a very direct, and sincere lesson on keeping the commandments to help them realize the gravity of their decisisons, especially when it comes to churh attendance. Fredy is great, and has a very good memory, our district leader was super impressed in his baptismal interview yesterday... I hope that Fredy will be able to strenghten his family and one day serve a mission! Although he is only 14 now, now is the time for him to be an example to his family and those around him and build his roots in the gospel.
We have been teaching another investigator, Dani Quiñaucho, who is 11 years old, but super interested in the gospel, because her cousin, Maria Jose just got back from the mission. Dani is so sweet,a nd very smart for an 11 year old. We asked her if she prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and she said yes. We asked her out it went, and she said that in her mind and in her heart she felt the same taht he did, like their was a big column of light pouring down on her. I am really gianing a testimony through Dani, that Christ is preparing all ages to receive the gospel. And children have the purest hearts, they can receive answers the easiest. Think about primary, how easy it was to believe in everything, to hear that Jesus loves us, and we need to be like him, and have that be enough. I want to be more like a child, forgiving, faithful, trusting, and pure. Right now with Dani, we are praying that her Mom will give her permission to be baptized on the 10th. Maria and Johanna (Her cousins) are bringing her to church every week and she loves it so she has support. We are hoping that her Mom will be able to see the change in Dani and that her heart will be softened.
We also were able to teach Poala, who was a reference from a couple weeks ago and who is super eager to learn about the gospel. She has a baptismal date for the 17th of May, and was facinated when we taught her about eternal families and applying Christlike attrtibutes in the home. She is golden!!
Oh! And one more investigator with a baptismal date: Jorge. We met him yesterday, he was a reference from two members of the ward, Fabian and Jarvi. Jorge, was flying to Ecuador from Canada and met missionaries on the plane, he beame interested in the church and then he met Jarvi at school. Jarvi gave him a book of mormon and invited him to institute. Jorge became infatuated with the Book of Mormon. When we asked him yesterday about why he like the book of Mormon. He gave us a golden answer: I know that the Bible doesn´t have everything.. its not that clear. That is why I like the Book of Mormon.. it has everything. Then he told us he wanted to know how he could be baptized. We asked him why he wanted to be baptized and he told us that he had investigated a lot of churches and he felt that our church was the closest to Jesus Christ. We told him that the reason he felt that way was beause this church is in realidad the Church of Christ. And that he needed to pray to receive that testimony with assurety before he could be baptized. We set him a baptismal date for the 17th of May as well. He told us that he is sure he will be ready. Jorge is a blessing! We have been waiting to have an investigator like him! Thanks to the members, Fabian and Jarvi!!
Quick tangent.. I know you are all dying to know how Easter was in Ecuador. And no.. I didn´t really treat myself to candy or treats. In all of Latin America, Easter is 3 days, Santa Viernes, Santa Sabado, y Domingo de Resurreción. Mostly no one has work.. and everyone goes to the Playa to party.. A little ironic if you ask me.En Santa Viernes, we ran into a procession... that almost broke my heart. There were men in purple robes that were carrying a cart. On top of the cart was a statue of Christ in a very Baroque looking, regal purple robe holding the cross..The cart was supported by 2 large crosses and so the men carrying the cart were literally carrying crosses. They were all chanting something in Spanish that I couldn´t really understand. But there was a different kind of spirit. And I didn´t feel comfortable. Bueno.. I guess that´s a catholic Tradition here. Also everyone in ecuador Makes a special dish called the Fanesca. Which takes like 5 hours to make but is super delicious. It is a soup made out of 12 granos to represent the 12 apostles. Also has fish, bananas, mini Empanadas de Harina y pico de gallo. May sound nasty.. but it is super rico and fills you up like none other! We had Easter dinner with some members that was really nice.. the Family Martinez.. one of my favorite families... I feel like they have become like my family. Also for Easter we had stake conference, it was televised from some of the general authorites. Elder Scott spoke to us in Spanish.. and I didn´t even know that he knew Spanish! It was beautiful... And also Elder Holland talked, he had to have a translator. But what struck me the most was when Elder Holand bore his testimony in Spanish at the end. It was very simple, and it reminded me of when I had to bear my testimony at the CCM. But the spirit was so strong. It touched my heart that all the members could hear his voice and his testimony coming directly from him. Yo se que el Señor vive. Yo se que me ama. Se que el tiene un plan para nosotros. Se que con Él vamos a vivir para eternidad. After all its the spirit that touches hearts, not people. I know that God speaks through his apostles. And when we learn from them, we are actually just learning from the spirit.
This week was amazing. Hermana Madrid and I feel like everything is jbeginning to just fall into place. We have really learned to depend on the Lord and just do our best. I have gained so much confidence in teaching and following the spirit. This week my goal is to be more like a child. To be more pure in my thinking, and to trust in my Lord. I love this work so much!!