Well, where can I start?! This week was amazing. I feel so blessed and lucky to be here in Ibarra, and even more so here in Ecuador. Siliva was baptized and confirmed this past weekend, and I am so happy. Although the program maybe wasn`t the most organized, it turned out beautiful. Many things went slightly array for example. The church building was out of gas to heat the water! So we brought our own gas from our house, which was a little bit of a struggle because it was super heavy.... but definitely worth it. When we had the water runnign adn everything was perfect, we came to check on the faunt a couple hours later and it was scorching hot. So we carried buckets of cold water to cool it down. On top of that the key for the church kept getting stuck in the keylocks for the different rooms we needed to access, so we were a little stressed about that as well. And when everything was in place and ready to go, we didn`t have white pants that fit the branch president to baptize Silvia. Thankfully our District Leader came just in time to attend the baptism, and had the feeling that he needed to bring white pants and a tie. Whew! It was so great that our Branch President came and directed the meeting and baptized Hermana Silvia! Our branch president is passing through a refiner`s fire right now. He has a brand new baby, and recently lost his job. He is also relatively new, and the branch doesn`t support him as much as it should. And did I aso mention he is a convert of 4 years? Ya.. well he actually is really amazing and works so hard to help the branch. At first we didn`t really understand him because he didn`t come to the stake meeting for leaders or to my first 2 ward councils, but after Hermana Silvera and I took the time to visit him, offer our service,and share a message of hope, we have seen him work even harder. Anyway! Back to the baptism! After Silvia was baptized, she bore her testimony and I could feel the spirit so strongly She bore witness of the Book of Mormon, that even though we told her to pray and ask God if it was true she didn`t need to do that, becuase she can feel the spirit and the love of God everytime she opens the book to read (We`ve only bee teaching her for 3 weeks and shes in Alma). I also got to sing Nearer my God to Thee, and you know how much I love to sing, There was a love and spirit present in the air...Silvia was wiping tears from her eyes. All of the stress from the hour before started to melt away and I enjoyed the moment. A lot of members came to the baptism as well and Silvia was able to feel the love and support from the branch. We talked about temples and how her next step is to go to the temple! In the end, the baptism was a beautiful success!
After the baptism, we taught the Familia Vinueza in the church building about the temple, and I enjoyed especially seeing David`s face light up about the prospect of eternal families. David, and his two daughters had their baptismal interviews with Elder Lindeman, our District Leader after the lesson, and everything went great! They will be baptized this saturday! We are so excited for them. One thing I have realized through teaching them, is the importance of daily checking up. We have been able to check up on them almost everyday in order to read the book of mormon with them. Now, reading scriptures as a family has become habit and they are progressing so much. On Tuesday, Our zone leaders came with us to teach this family, and it was very neat. Elder Cedeño and Elder Olivares shared their testimonies about the importance of not necessarily needing to know everything in order to be baptized, but needing a testimony, or an answer to a prayer. We also talked about the priesthood, and how its very important for the head of the household to possess this grand power. And that the priesthood is crucial when it comes to having a successful family. I really think after this lesson, David became much more excited for his baptism.
Wow! And miracles are real. On sunday, before the meetings we were pretty sad, because we didn`t have any promising new investigators. New investigators that we had been working with-- The Juma Family, and Visente--- didnt come to church. We were feeling pretty desperate for new investigators. And then, we received a phone call! From one of our contacts the week before, Simón. He told us that he wanted to come to church and was on his way to the building. Talk about God leading and preparing the elect! We waited outside the gate for him, and then introduced him to the Elder`s Quorum President, Hermano Meneses. Hermano Meneses was so great, he sat by Simón throughout the meeting, and even grabbed him a copy of the May Liahona to read (the conference talks) Simón stayed for all the classes afterwards, and then we were able to teach him outside the buiding on the grass. We wanted the purpose of this lesson to be to answer any of his questions about what he learned in church. But really he just wanted to know about prophets and the priesthood, and so we rolled right into Lesson 1. The spirit was so strong, and he opened up and told us that he feels bored and guilty with the way he is living and he wants to change and improve for the better. He has investigated many churches, but said their is something different about our church, and that he wants to be baptised. He has to leave to go to Guayacil some time in June, and so he doesn`t know if he will be here to be baptized but we are praying that everything will work out, and that even if he has to go to guayacil, he will be able to continue learning more about the restored gospel!
Well that was our week! Hermana Silvera and I had a little rough patch on Saturday, but we talked about and we`re fine. I think the way that I express myself is sometimes very direct and I need to always rememeber to be careful and mindful of feelings. I learned that I need to always ask her what she thinks and for her opinion. I was always just used to stating my opinion with Hermana Madrid, and then Hermana Madird would boldly state her opinion, but now I know that with Hermana Silvera its not the same. I need to ask and be aware of her opinions or tense feelings build up inside of her... and we fall into silence and can`t feel the spirit as strongly. I am learning so much from her, like to have hope in everyone, and to be humble. We are having a great change and I am glad to call her my friend:)
There are hard days, and their are beatiful days, and God is present always. In the way the mountains touch the clouds with just the right tint of sunlight, in the way we feel love for everyone that we meet, in the way I know that the purpose of this life is to tie families together under binding convenants in the temple for eternities on end. I am so grateful for this mission. I can`t imagine how my life would be if I had not decided to serve a mission. I love this work so much!! Hasta la proxima semana! Les quiero mucho!