Hola! Coma les ha ido!
This week has been a great week despite some days where we couldn`t work in our sector for much time due to searching for a house and working on getting a contract signed and stuff... did I mention a new pair of missionaries is coming to Ibarra!? We are super excited. But that also means the sectors are going to change and we are going to lose some people we are teaching but its all right, we are more excited because the sectors are going to be smaller!! My companion and I found the perfect house. Its cheap, there's tiendas and internet within 30 seconds from the front door, members for neighbors, and there`s a park for exercise just across the street. Talk about the dream of any missionary right? We had interviews with Presidente on Tuesday and I asked him from the bottom of my heart to keep in Ibarra for the next change. He said he`d think about it.. So that basically means I`m leaving right? NOOOO. Speaking of Tuesday. My first earthquake ever! It was wild. We were just sitting down to eat lunch, and casually the room starts to rock. I`m thinking, wow the wind must be pretty strong to make the building rock. Hermana Pinto just looks at me and laughs. Es un temblor! I replied, Un Terremoto! Ah vamos a morir! But luckily for us we just felt the temblor, or a tiny little earth "shake". I heard that Quito was a little worse. Hopefully everyone's fine!
Anyway! We have really great news. Por Fin!.. con fe... Marco Bone will be baptized! He had his interview on Saturday and everything's all clear for his baptism this weekend. I don`t know if you all remember but Marco`s baptism fell about a month ago and we had a really hard time getting a hold of him for a couple weeks after that. But with much help from the young single adults in the branch, he is back on track. His greatest fear (the reason he didn`t show up to his previous baptism) was centered around how he didn`t want to miss out on being a regular teenager after his baptism. We were like, but wait! We have MORE fun when we`re members! So we worked with the Branch council. Many leaders went to visit him without us, including the President of the Elder`s Quorum and his son, our ward mission leader (who also was baptized around the same time so him and Marco have a special bond) the President of the young men's, and the president of the Young single adults. After all that work, the young single adults put together a dance specifically for Marco.. he never found that out of course… and he loved it so much! And better yet, during the weeks we weren`t able to visit him, he had been reading his Book of Mormon. Now Marco is in Alma, and just coasting along in his lectura! Looking back, he is more prepared for his baptism this week then before. We are praying and fasting that everything will go smoothly this week for Marco.
Other investigators that we still have high hopes for include, Andreina and Bilma. They both have open minds, and are anxious to read the Book of Mormon. Their Evangelist mother came to town last week so that caused a little bit of confusion, but everything's all good now, and we have a family home evening planned on Wednesday in the home of some stellar members, the family Montes de Oca, whom just happen to be neighbors to Andreina and Bilma. We were able to watch the first Vision with them last week, and it really touched Bilma`s heart . She told us afterward that her curiosity had just grown like 10 times more to know if the church was true. We feel so blessed to have them as investigators. They also love to feed us. And they cook coastal style which is even better… When our Mamitas fall (our planned lunches with the members) we call Andreina and she is more than happy to help!
Also, we are working with a less active member, Marcelo Ortiz, who has a major problem with smoking. But since we have started visiting him he has gained so much desire to change. The change that we have seen in Marcelo has been a miracle pero de verdad. He has so much more confidence in himself, and he really understands now his relationship with Christ. We shared with him on Saturday that his war with the cigarillo is like the wars we always read about in the Book of Mormon. God always helped the nefites win when they were righteous and when they prayed for strength. And so.. in order to win this war Marcelo needs to depend now more than ever in the Lord, and less solo in himself. He had a new light in his eyes when we left Saturday. We left him with the goal that every time he passes those little tiendas (shops) and thinks about buying a cigarillo, he has to buy a chocolate for Hermana Powley instead. He told me that by our next cita, on miercoles, he will have a lot of chocolates to give me! Wahoooo! Double win! Saving souls and eating right! (seems to be the theme of the week)
I know that we are called to serve as Christ would serve. I am trying everyday to align my will with God`s . I know that we are not perfect, but through the atoning sacrifice of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ we can improve ourselves daily through repentance. I have started to read the Book of Mormon yet again here in the mission, but this time I`m reading in English, and I`m marking everything that relates to diligence and how we can be more diligent servants to our Lord, not just in the mission field but in life as members of the church. I invite you all to ponder, are we truly being diligent members of the church? Are we putting others needs before our own, are we always trusting in the savior, or trusting more in the day to day way of life that the world knows so well? Are we humble? Are we patient like Nephi, always forgiving and loving his older brothers no matter how hard they bring him down with doubts, sharp words, and even violence. Ask yourself in situations of toil with family members or friends, when means are tight and everyone seems to be complaining. What Would Nephi Do? I am receiving revelation that I never before have received. I love in 1 Nephi 15:11, how Nephi straight up promises us we will receive answers to our deepest desires and questions if we just ask, but believing we will receive. It is so true. God wants us to have the faith sufficient in our hearts, to believe that he truly is right along side us, ready to give us the words and promptings we desire through the Holy Ghost. First step is to soften our hearts, second have faith, third believe we will receive, and fourth be obedient. I have felt the power of prayer more than ever here in the mission. I know that God is with us. Just a quick story that I want to end with, it was 8:00 Friday night and all our plans had fallen. We were on a main road where its pretty tough to contact. We decided to say a prayer to know what we needed to do. I felt in my mind the words distinctly to look in your planner. We looked and we noticed we had written as back up plan a recent contact we made a couple weeks back. We turned on our heels in the direction of his house, and 10 seconds later we made a golden contact, Joanna, who started talking to us first and asked us to come visit her! Wow! Talk about miracles! We see miracles everyday. I know Christ is with us. I know we need to make the steps in order to align ourselves with his plan and his desires. The scriptures teach us according to how much effort we put into them. If we casually read them from time to time, we will casually learn from time to time the ways of God. If we want to live the way of God, we have to live and love the scriptures. This is my testimony. I am so grateful for all and your support! Tengan una vaconasa semana!