I can barely contain how happy I am to be in Mala. This is a chosen location for the Lord, and I can certainly see his hand in the middle of everything good happening here. This past week it got to the point where I literally couldn't stop smiling in church yesterday. Here's why:
Well, it all started last Monday when we had transfers. Elder Tohara left for Lima, and Elder Luque took his spot when he arrived with two huge red white pokadot suitcases and a big grin on his face. I had seen him before at a couple of Multi Zone conferences during December because on both occasions he conducted the hymns. And wow! What an incredible week it has been since we became companions! I learned that although he was born in Ecuador, he grew up in Barcelona, Spain in a family of strong faithful members. So he's got that crazy animated Spaniard personality combined with a strong testimony and passionate conviction of the Gospel. Ha! What an inspired choice by the mission president to send him to me! In the end, I feel as if our companionship is unstoppable.
This past week we've found lots of new investigators to teach, because we both like to walk fast and just get things done. We've decided that the best way to work with the members here in Mala is to work with Partial Member families, to complete parents and children in the gospel. So here we go, try to stay with me! On Monday we found Laura Cristina, who's ten years old, and her parents are less active. Right now her father wants to return to the church, repent, and become worthy to receive the prieshood so he can baptize his daughter on the 23rd. Just down the block from Cristina we found Jordan, who's 20 and is a cousin of another partially less active family. Right now he's praying to know whether or not he should be baptized on the 23rd, but I know the Lord will answer his pray of great faith. On Tuesday, we came accross Rosa Angelica, who is 17 and whose sister is a member, and she has a baptismal date on the 23rd as well. Earlier that morning, we were just walking to see if we could find an old investigator when we passed by a house with two younger men in front. At first I didn't really notice but I felt a strong urge to look back and observe them. Suddenly, I realized that one of them was Alberto, a guy that we came across but didn't think much about a couple weeks earlier. I thought that we should go back and greet him. It turned out that the other man, Jorge, is actually a returned missionary who fell away from the church due to bad influences from peers, but who now wants to repent and return to the church. We taught a lesson to Alberto on baptism, invited him to be baptized and he said he wasn't sure. Right then and there we challenged him to pray about it, so we kneeled down. After he offered a beautiful prayer, we just listened to the silence and waited for his response. After explaining what he felt, he said "Yes, I want to be baptized", and so he's preparing himself for the 23rd too! We also found Keysi, whose mom is inactive, but she's nine, and has such a pure heart and desire to learn about Jesus Christ, that she also has her baptism on the 23rd. On Wednesday, we taught an older couple, Lucio and Mercedes, and Elder Luque and I really pumped them up for setting a marriage date for Valentines day and they want to be baptized on the 23rd as well! As you can see, the 23rd is going to be an absolutely fantastically spiritual day! With so many, we're actually thinking of doing something special by holding the baptism at the beach during the sunset. I can't wait to send pictures! Delicia is getting baptized this saturday, and Juan Diaz on the 16th.
I can hardly believe and keep track of all that's happening! But I absolutely know that the Lord is blessing these people and us as his servants, according to his will and our prayers of faith. Last Sunday, we had record church attendance of 128, and I know that soon Mala with become a ward, and later a stake. I know that this gospel is true. The church is true because after feeling, seeing, and hearing the things I've experienced as a missionary, how could this all not be true?! I love this work. I love the Lord. And I love Mala. After a powerful testimony sacrament meeting yesterday, many members came up to me and asked, "why were were smiling so much during the meeting?" I just told them, "the church is true!"
Love you all! And have a splendidly fantastic week!