From the Parent of a Missionary
I have just finished the craziest week of my mission, which just happened to be the happiest and funest week as well. As I told you last week, Elder Jimenez left me after only one change together. On Monday we said goodbye to the folks, packed his bags, and headed out on a bus at 4 in the morning to get to Guatemala City by 10:00 for the change meeting. As I have described, the changes are very nerve-racking and exciting. I sat nervously, waiting to see who my new companion would be in Ipala. I learned that the largest group of missionaries in the history of the mission came in this week — a whopping 45! President Stay gave an inspiring speech about how the lord is pushing the work forward and how the Gospel is spreading to the whole earth. And then they announced the changes. My name came up on the projector screen under Area “Ipala,” and next to it came two more: Elder Ramirez and Elder Maldonado. A trio! To make things worse, under both of their names was the title “New Missionary” and my photo had “Trainer.” My mind was literally blown — didn’t see that coming. And the final surprise came when they announced that they were forming a new district in my zone, and that I was the new district leader!
All at once I was senior companion, trainer, and district leader. I felt a bit sick.
Of course, with some prayer and fasting, along with the new trainers meeting I had afterwards, I felt a bit better. And as I came to know my new “children” even more, I ended up having one of the best weeks in my mission!
Elder Maldonado is from Peru. He’s a bit quiet but really funny in his own way, and he is full of questions. Even though he is quiet, his teaching ability is astounding and he really invites the spirit and teaches with clarity and power. Elder Ramirez is actually just a temporary companion. He is from Guatemala and is waiting for his visa to be able to go to the Mexico City West mission, but I don’t want him to leave! He’s a load of fun and is learning very quickly. He is very charismatic and invites the spirit well. The three of us make a killer combo, and we have really livened up the little Ipala branch. I put these two new Elders to WORK this week. All day, every day, we were running from appointment to appointment. I feel like the Lord has put everything into place; whereas before, with Elder Jimenez, I felt like the Lord was trying my faith, now I feel like he is giving me results.
Our beloved investigators, Axel and Maria, told us that they felt they have found the true church and want to go with us. They continue to make sacrifices despite their extreme poverty and are anxiously awaiting their baptism. Two more investigators, Juan and Vilma, are putting together their marriage plans so they can get baptized on the 2 of March (hopefully). And the REALLY old blind guy we teach, Hermano Jose, finally came to church after a month and a half of trying to get him to do it. He has a baptismal date for the 23rd of February. And if not, I’ll be sure to get his baptism for the dead done. 🙂 The members here have really taken to our little trio and are already welcoming us into their homes. The grudges and gossip have seem to be left behind and replaced by excitement to reach the branch goal: get to 60 people in attendance and build a chapel. And I really think we are going to do it. I have seen every day how our prayers and energy are giving fruit, and the Lord is putting prepared people and lost members right into our path, letting us to bring them back into the fold.
My district leader and trainer responsibilities only seem to make the time go faster. I have a tiny district that consists of us, the zone leaders, and two sister missionaries, so I don’t have too much work to do. I just have to call them on Thursday and Sunday nights to get their numbers for the week. And I have to give district class on Mondays (and I gave a workshop in our zone meeting on Friday) which is really humbling because I have to figure out how to teach to missionaries that have more experience than me. But like I said, the time just flies by.
I wake up every day excited, and my companions go right along with me. We laugh, study hard, work hard, invite the spirit, and build up God’s kingdom. And boy, do I love the mission.
I hope your week was as fantastic as mine. May the Lord by with you in all of your paths. This is the true church — there is no doubt in my mind. I know that God has a purpose for me here and that his work is moving forward to reach every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and the Gospel will sound in every year. And there is only more good news to come!