Wow has this week been a great one! I smashed down my kilo of Gridos ice cream in 23 minutes, our Lo Lo´s chicken and waffles were amazing (thank you for the waffle iron) and I had so many great spiritual experiences.
I am using this year mark as a “restart”. Fix some great goals, start a new journal, leave some bad habits and attitudes behind and start fresh with a new year. I am feeling incredibly excited about the work, so I am hoping that I can maintain this excitement. I love the mission so much.
Saturday, we had the great opportunity to see Carolina Matto be baptized over there in barrio II. I left barrio II back in April, and since the baptism of Andrea, we have been waiting for everything to work out so that Carolina, her sister, could be married and baptized. A good half year later, we were able to see this amazing woman set the example for her husband and daughter and follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by immersion, and by the power that God has given man here on the earth. I have such a testimony of this Priesthood power—only by this power can baptisms, sealings, and other incredibly sacred ordinances be valid. It was such a touching experience to sit by Agustin and Gabriel, the sons of Andrea, who are now fanatics of the gospel who are truly converted and know that this gospel is true. Andrea faithfully holds a calling and has rock hard set goals to go to the temple when financial circumstances permit. I feel so blessed and humbled to see some of the amazing fruits of the prayer, study, and work we dedicated to this family. All of it starting with a “last door” of Elder Howlett and I on a hot humid night in February when all we really wanted to do was get on the colectivo and head home. I know that the spirit guided us to that home. It has been such a blessing to see this family make incredible and life changing gospel as they have come to accept the restored and only complete gospel of Jesus Christ here on the earth. As Ammon said while glorying in the Lord:
“Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever.Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel. “ Alma 26:16
I cannot express the smallest part of the feelings I have as a servant in the work of the Lord.
Sunday night I went on divisions with a recent convert 16 year old priest in the ward Ezequiel Gomez. I love working with the future missionaries. One of the reasons is because I remember the days when the missionaries dragged me out to go work with them. Such incredible missionaries that had such an impact on my life. Surely they had so much patience for my lack of knowledge and teaching skills, poor guys. But they made a difference in my life and made it assured and firm to me that I needed to go out on a mission. Although Ezequiel wanted to take pictures of every single thing we did—waiting for the bus, in the bus, walking out of the office, and the list goes on, I had an incredible experience with him.
We are working so much better with members as well, and I am seeing such results in this ward. As I gave a small talk as Bishop Shulz asked yesterday to say farewell to the ward, I was so filled with emotion. I came into the ward missing Barrio II. I missed the members, the priests, my converts and the less active members with whom I was working. I learned to love the ward when I fixed the goal to change the culture of the ward—to help us be a rescuing, finding and loving ward. The ward still has a long ways to go, but as I looked out into the congregation, I felt the love I had for each and every member of this little group of saints God has here in the middle of nowhere Argentina Resistencia. They have made SO much progress, and are excited about extending a hand of love to those that need it and to start working together in the work of the Lord. I love them so much, and it hurts my heart a little to start saying goodbye to them. We have divisions and lessons with members planned out for this last little amount of time I will be here in the ward.
The talent show turned out AMAZING. We did the chin act upside-down thing (if you want a performance, all you need to do is ask president). We were named Los Pericles, and just had the whole crowd on their feet. Even though we practiced the least out of all the acts, we just made everyone so happy. Just a really great time with these Elders that I love so much. I don’t know if that helped out image as missionaries in the ward or if it just turned us into upside down singing chins that don’t know the words to any primary songs… (Who would have known that popcorn popping would be so hard? Palomitas isn’t even a word here…)
Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
I started pday a little late today because we had an audit of the mission. Last night and all this morning. But then he took us out to a nice parrilla (Hermano Gomez Paz is the best). Oh man. Im sorry Uncle Sam, but American barbecues (how in the world do you spell that??) have nothing on a nice Argentine Asado. I was just about the happiest thing alive here in Argentina during that lunch. He explained to us that, sure, we might not have tons of time out in the field bringing others unto Christ, but the hours we sacrificed are multiplied by 20 in the precious hours missionaries have to preach and bring others to Christ. I loved that.
President will show us transfers TOMORROW! MAÑÑÑAAANNAAAA. So Ill know where I will be shipping off to this upcoming wednesday. Ill be on Tuesday to let ya know momma.
I love this work. Its just TOO good. How was I so blessed to have this gospel in my life. Go share it with someone :)
Elder Williams and I after the audit