Monday, March 18, 2013

A Fast Movin' World

Hello Gringos,

I feel like things are happening so fast in the world today. Last Wednesday I had a division with my district leader, Elder Lawry, another fellow Gringo. We were sitting in a restaurant eating lunch and listening to the news about the new pope, and whattya know, he´s Argentine. (Argentinian?) So that's cool that he's from South America and totally a Jesuit too. I really hope he can influence the Catholic church to help out in this fight against immorality cause. So if Pope Francis can help us out that would be great! He was definitley all over the news here. 

Everything is doing pretty darn great! This next Saturday we have a baptism for three: David, Luz, and Maria. And with the other companionship in the ward we´ll actually have four baptisms. The ward is super excited and both the young womens and young mens programs are planning something special for the occasion. 

Last night we had a lesson with the parents of David, Jhon and Rosa. We challenged them both to marriage and to baptism, and they accepted! I was so excited for them and their marriage date is set for the 26th of April, and their baptism the following day, on the 27th. Ealier that morning Elder Apagueno and I did a practice for the lesson which really helped us how we would help them accept the invitation later that night. The lesson went so smoothly. We had the bishop´s wife, Fanny, and Brother Julio accompany us, and they both bore wonderful testimony of this gospel. Jhon is super ready to make a change, but with Rosa it´s been a little more challenging with her Evangelical background. However, she opened her heart and at the end I bore my testimony while looking straight into her eyes. I don´t know but something changed inside her, and now she wears a big grin whenever she sees us. This family is GOING to change. That´s just what this gospel does you know.

We´re also working with a less active family, the Cabreras. They have a lot of challenges in their home, but Elder Apagueno and I have really been able to get inside their hearts. We found little precious Iven, age 8, to help her get baptized as a written child in the church records. We saw her as the opportunity to open the heart of her grandfather, Jose, who´s had about five thousand elders try and get him to accept baptism (or something around that number). He´s the only one in the family who´s not a member and we know that if he gets baptized, he´ll be super loyal and his family will become a great strength to the ward. This last Saturday we held Iven´s baptism, and her uncle did the baptism. The whole family came out, shed tears during the service, and now we´re doing a FHE with them tonight. So yup. I love this family.

Anyway, my times up. I love you all. Really, Just stay strong. We do not need more people falling away from the gospel, but coming towards it in a time when the world is moving faster and faster every day. Have a great week!

Elder Lundberg

How can this not be the work of the Lord?

This week has been a bunch of hard work and a lot of tough decisions: filter out those who´ve decided against changing their lives for the better, and find those who are prepared. Thankfully, David, Luz and Maria continue to be super excited and committed for their baptism on the 23rd of March! But sadly we´ve had to leave behind others who just don´t want to commit. That´s probably the hardest part of being a missionary, watching people use their agency to make wrong choices. But it´s all part of what we do: INVITE people to come unto Christ and not FORCE them. Unfortunately, Peru has a lot of confusing, wicked, and worldy influences that make it so hard for so many to see their path clearly when it comes to religion, family, or happiness. Everyday I thank the Lord for always being so clear with me and for continually lighting my path, even when the vast majority of His children do not choose to have that privilege.

We´ve been able to find several new investigators: Violeta, the Andrade family, the Merino family, Jose, and several others. Violeta is really great because she´s super intelligent and loves to read what we leave behind for her to study. Her husband has been inactive for nine years and recently came in contact with some missionaries of another area who gave us his address and number. Violeta has previously studied with the Jehova´s Witnesses (there are actually a surprising number of that faith down here, and it´s not uncommon to find many of their ¨investigators¨ as well.) Violeta always has great questions and insights. Yesterday we had a great lesson with her about how it´s up to her to discover whether or not the Book of Mormon is true through reading and prayer. The member who came with us to the lesson said afterwards, ¨if she gets baptized, she´ll be an incredibly committed convert.¨

The Andrade family was a member reference. The parents, Olga and Jhon, have two daughters, Jimena and Alexandra. We´re still trying to visit with the father, but Olga and her daughters seemed interested to find out more. More news will follow the coming Monday.....the Merino couple, Audina and Merardo, are also super interested in what we have to share, and after leaving them with a lesson on ¨praying as a family¨ we set an appointment for this coming Tuesday. Their only drawback is getting married, but who knows, I´ve done it before! Jose is a long-time friend and investigator of the missionaries. His wife and kids are all members, but he just won´t make the commitment. His main fear is that he might dissappoint God after getting baptized, like his son, and so bit by bit, with lots of prayer, we have the hope that maybe this will be his time to commit. 

Wellp, it´s been a great week and I´m so happy to be here in Villa El Salvador, Lima, Peru. I´m learning and growing closer to the Savior every day. I feel like he´s shaping and molding me for his wise purpose, and know that I am becoming more converted to his plan each and every moment as a missionary. The scripture I would like to share this week is in Alma 46:14-15. Like it says, let us all be faithful and true Christians in this great cause, because after all that has been said, felt, seen, and done, how can this not be the work of the Lord?

I love, pray and think of you every day!

Elder Lundberg