This week has truly been incredible. I honestly dont know how it could have been better! We had lessons almost every night with the Urbina family to prepare them and help them stay strong for their baptism this last Saturday. They were to be baptized the 9th, but they asked for one more week so that they could be sure about the fact that they had fully overcome cigarrettes. They were stellar the whole week. It was amazing to see the progress in their lives.
Tuesday we taught Tamara Ramos—her husband wasnt too interested, so we will be seeing how that all Works out. But about ten years ago, she was about to be baptized. The missionaries were changed, and the missionaries that replaced them didnt comply with that which she thought a missionary should do or how he should act. So she distanced herself from the church. She stopped the other Elders on the street and asked them that missionaries passed by again. We are hoping to see progress in that family.
Miercoles we headed out to Laishi and San Antonio for to help the group out there and to look for investigators. We havent seen too much success in the growth of the church out there yet—but we sure have seen, Little by Little, the faith of the members build and their personal testimonies increase. We will be praying to know what is it that the Lord wants us to do about the colony. I love working with the members and the investigators out there. The culture is so incredibly different from that which we practice, but they have a pure faith in God and a love for everyone that is just undeniable.
Thursday we carried out divisions so that Elder Rhys Anakin Enright could carry out the baptismal interview with the Urbina family. Geez, they are so great. Elder Tracy and I headed out to his area and fought with the mud. Elder Tracy has just the purest intentions and I see so much potential in him as a missionary and servant of the Lord. I love new missionaries—sometimes I forget that I have been out here so long. We focused on diligence and the importance of using time diligently, putting all the effort you can in the work and especially enjoying your time on the misión.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday it rained. Friday night we had one last lesson in the church with Gaston only because his wife had to stay home with the children because of the rain. It was short and sweet—basically to excite him a Little more and to hand him the new baptismal clothing. He was just so enthused. I dont ALWAYS feel that I am doing EXACTLY what the Lord is wanting me to do—usually I am praying and just trustig that the soft promptings of the Spirit will guide us; there are very few times in my life in which I have felt that I was EXACTLY where I was needed to be. But in that moment, with my companion and Gaston, for whom we have prayed day and night constantly, I felt close to heaven, and I KNEW that the Lord was pleased with the changes happening in the life of Gaston. This is such a great work.
Saturday rolled around and we spent all day getting things ready for the baptism service. It was to start at 8:30 pm because of the work Schedule of Gaston. After a Little bit of stress caused by not being able to open the baptismal Font, not being able to turn on the wáter heater, and a few other things, just as we hoped it wouldnt, it started raining. Now the cultura here, which is totally understandable with all of the muddy roads and use of motorcycles, is that when rain starts, events are cancelled, stores are closed, and the world shuts down. We didnt want all of the members and investigators to think that the service had been cancelled, especially after the countless hours we had dedicated by inviting literally EVERYONE we knew to the service, including people we DIDNT know that we had in the contacts of our cell phone. After a short prayer, we headed to the service after grabbing some last things from the pension.
When we arrived, the people didnt stop entering the church! It was amazing!!!! Gaston had invited ALL of his family, and after the service, we were able to give out all the Books of Mormon and folletos that we had brought to his family members. There were about 15 new investigators there, the investigators of the sister missionaries, and they had all felt the Spirit so strongly! It was just amazing. The members were so excited—they had all brought cakes and drinks to share, and the family felt so welcomed into the Ward. Despite the rain, and all the trials that had passed to the Urbina family throughout the week, by the hand of the Lord, the family was able to have a wonderful service. I think the best baptismal service I have been to in my life!
As Elder Conway and I walked home in the rain together, full of joy, we conversed and asked ourselves, `how on the world did we do that?!´. Well, we didnt. We didnt convert the Urbina family-- The Spirit did. We didnt find them-- We were guided. We didnt make all of those investigators show up to the service—it was by the testimonies gained by the Urbina family. We didnt prepare the family—the Lord did. I remember back in the last transfer when Elder Conway and I started praying to find a family of 5 to teach that would be prepared. We received that for which we asked. A father and mother that were previously married. Two Little children. And Yesica`s sister Alexia who is preparing to be baptized on the 6th of June. This is the work of MIRACLES.
The temple dedication of Cordoba was amazing. Our Bishop tried to le tus in without showing our temple recommendations, but I si o si whipped it out to show it to him. I wanted tos ay that I used my temple recommend at least ONCE in the misión! I just thought of the sacrifices of thousands of missionaries, local church leaders, general authorities, and humble Argentines that were put into play over the last many decades so that this holy edifice could be constructed. I love temples.
I love this work!