From the Parent of a Missionary
Every week as I go through my mission, I marvel at how many ways the Lord can try you and make you stronger. And Ipala just happens to be one of the best areas to do that!
This week was a bit crazy, as usual. On Monday we had a super awesome P-Day as a district. I took them all on a tour of a nearby waterfall, since I had gone once before already. The waterfall is full of sulfur and smells disgusting, but is really pretty and in the middle of the jungle. Since it’s finally starting to rain here, everything is turning green and the fruits are abounding! (I’ve eaten waaay to many mangoes.) Even though the sister missionaries were too scared to go up the waterfall, I went with some other Elders to climb rocks and take pictures. And I didn’t even get sun burnt! Victory!
We’ve also been working really hard with our investigators this week, even though a lot of them have been escaping us. One sister, Hermana Karla, has always been the only member in her family. I always told her that through her example, her family would eventually come to accept the Gospel, and she never believed me. She recently had a baby, and one night talking with her mom about the child’s future, she said, “I know that this is the church I want for her.” Her mom, Lilian, softened her heart and now wants their whole family to be in a church together! She is now listening to us and reading the Book of Mormon. Never give up on your own family — there’s always hope.
We also had a big breakthrough with another partially active family, the Ceròn family. Their dad drinks and has never been too interested in church, but has always been a good friend of the missionaries. We asked him if we could do a branch activity in his house, and he accepted. We helped him and his family to prepare setting up chairs and getting the snacks ready, and he even whipped out his violin (yah, he plays in a Mariachi) and played “How Great Thou Art” as we all sang. The activity went great and we challenged him to get baptized so that he can have an eternal family, and he accepted! Now we are working with the whole family to get him baptized next month and to help him stop drinking.
I also had a really intense meeting with my eternal investigators, Juan and Vilma. We taught them the entire plan of salvation and helped them to know how they can become an eternal family. Then we taught that baptism is the door that they have to enter, but Juan continued to insist that he is already baptized and won’t do it again. He comes to church, he participates in activities, and is more faithful and diligent than most of the members, but he won’t get baptized! In that lesson, I put everything on the table. I testified with the strength of my soul that this is God’s church here on earth. I continue to pray that one day he will be able to recognize the blessings God has in store for him and his family.
We had a great little adventure to Los Olivos, my far-away village! We went to visit Zoila and Wendy, our two faithful sisters who take two buses and an hour of travel time to get to church each Sunday. After so much faith that they have shown, we finally decided to set a baptismal date with them. They’ll be getting baptized next month. Yay! The best part of the trip was going back. We had a problem with the bus schedule and it turns out that because it was Saturday, the buses ended early and we were stranded there, about 2 hours walking distance from our house. I decided to say, “Come what may, and love it” and joyfully started my walk down a gigantic hill. My companion had huge blisters on his feet, one of the members we were with had the soles of his shoes rip off, and another sister had only flip flops. It was actually pretty funny. 🙂 But we bore our afflictions with patience and we found a tuk tuk taxi that was able to take us alllll the way home.
On Sunday the branch president wasn’t able to come, so I got to preside, give a talk, direct the music, do my first ever worthiness interview, and give our first ever priesthood meeting in Ipala. The Lord is teaching me loads of how the church works and grows, and I will be ever grateful for that. We also organized an open house to invite all of our investigators, but turns out that no one came. Oh well!
I have learned this week to have faith like Nephi. Like he said, “Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions. “Nephi never complained for his afflictions, and he always prayed to God for help and then went and ACTED. He never doubted that the Lord would provide the way and continued forward with faith. I know that I need to have more faith and bear my afflictions with patience. Do you?
Love you all,
PS: Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday Elder Seeeeee! Happy birthday to me!
20 years young!