I am so sorry for not emailing last week. We had an appointment at six and this brutally huge zone progress report to finish...I got about halfway through it and then Excel crashed...so I started it again. I had two lines left to finish and then Excel crashed again. I quietly excused myself from my chair and got down on the floor and did push-ups right there in the computer shop. I ended up finishing it later in the evening.
The last couple of weeks have been good. We had our last Mission Leadership Council with President Martino this week and the topic was on Accountability and Stewardship. It reminded me a lot about the large amount of trust that the Lord places in us when he gives us a stewardship, whether it be as a stake president or a ward chorister. He expects us to give our best and use our talents wisely whatever the assignment may be. He will reward us equally for those assignments. The highlight of the evening was the testimony meeting. It was great to be there with so many of my batch and missionaries I've come to know and love and feel the strength that they have. Elder Clark, one of my roommates in the MTC is one of the AP's now, so we get to hang out a lot. It's crazy how much has changed since the MTC.
We also had a baptism this week! Charmaine Ombac was baptized...she is Brother Marlon Ombac's little sister (she's 16). It was a simple, but nice service. The ward arranged for some of the YW to give talks and I got to be the baptizer. The Ombac's are such an amazing family. Ever since Bro. Ombac became active his wife and her little sister, and two of his little sisters, have all been baptized. We are currently setting goals to meet with his parents and have been able to teach several other less-active families that live close by. They all live in this little compound on the side of the highway.
One cool experience this week: One of our recent convert's kids got really sick this week and her husband wasn't home. This poor sister was worried about her little kid and didn't know what to do, so she fell back a little bit into her old traditions and took the kid to an abularyo (a sort of Catholic witch doctor type thing that they have here). She told us about how after they went there, her daughter didn't get better at all, but as soon as her husband came home and gave a priesthood blessing, she immediately began to heal and stop throwing up. She shared that her testimony of the church and of the priesthood has been strengthened. People here have such strong faith and I've seen so many simple and great miracles happen through the priesthood.
Last last week we had some wonderful finding opportunities - I was on exchanges and we got lost and asked this lady for directions. Turns out, her and her husband are both "rebelling Catholics" as they put it. That is, they were Catholic, but then they read the Bible and decided that the Catholic Church isn't true (I wish more people would pick up their Bibles like that), and now they have no idea where the true church is and are LOOKING for it. We've been able to teach them and their youngest daughter (20 yrs. old) a few times and they are amazing. I can tell that they are really searching for the truth. Sister Nora (the mom) says that she already has felt the spirit testify to her that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. We just need to help them get to church.
We have tons of great investigators but we are having trouble helping them come to church. I don't know why that's such a hard thing for people. I'm just grateful that the ward is so strong here. The ones that do come to church always feel the love of the members for them.
As far as things go, I am doing good. It is so scary to think that things are coming to a close. I might be in my last area...and next transfer, I will have started my 12-week program again. I wanted to have a few things made before that happens and so I need to know a few things from all of you guys:
- Favorite 2 Stories from the book of Mormon.
- (Josh) Requests for basketball jerseys...they can basically be made however you want, in whatever colour, size, design, or whatever, for less than $10. You design a few and tell me what you want.
- Anything else you want me to get while I am here.
I love you guys. Have a great week!
- Love, Jared.