So here´s "what up" ladies and gentlemen:
Anyway, this has been an exciting week for the Lord´s work here in Villa El Salvador. Yesterday, we had the privilege of having stake conference. Two members of the Seventy, Elder Wardell and I forget the other, came to speak and make a special announcement. A brand SPANKIN´new stake! There are currently two stakes here now, Villa El Salvador and Pachacamac! Elder Waddell expresed his great thanks to all the members for working with the missionaries in this great work with his lisp using a Spanish accent from Spain. So that was fun to hear as well. Also, our beloved mission president, President Douglas, talked how now it is the time we catch the wave and climb to even greater hights using the words from Elder Nelson in General Conference. The attendance was so packed that after filling the sacrament hall and all the classrooms to the brim there were two huge tents with seats outside and a broadcast of what was going on inside the chapel. Even then there were about 200 people without seats just watching and listening to the conference for two hours standing on foot, which included me and my companion.
This next week we´re focused on the baptism of dear lil´ Lucero. She´s a quiet type, and it´s been a long road working with her for the past month and a half, but she´s feeling more and more confident each time we visit. She left behind many things in her past as part of her repentance process, and this Wednesday will be her baptismal interview. On Saturday we should have a great attendance of members and family to see her baptism.
Our other dear investigators, the Miranda family, was almost lost from our grasp this last week as they announced the possibility of moving to another living space in another area of Villa El Salvador. When they told us the news, I wanted to cry, but I just smiled and told them that there would be some changes, and that they should do what is best for the family. Where they live is a tiny space without heating, and witht the winter coming on, it´s been pretty cold at night and in the morning here. They weren´t happy when they asked me what kind of changes and I let them know that if they move, other elders in our zone, and in another ward, would be able to visit them. So we kind of just left them hanging after the visit, and I was feeling pretty down, but prayed that whatever happened, the parents would be able to be baptized into the restored gospel, completing the family. Two days later, just before I was about to pass the reference to the other Elders, Alexis, Amy and their Mom let us know that as a family they all voted against moving. So they´re here to stay! They let us know that they would just look for a living space within Floresta so we could continue teaching them. Hooray!
Also, we continue to teach Luis Urbina, whose parents, Yhon and Rosa, recently got baptized on the 18th, and whose brother, David, was baptized in March. It´s amazing to see the change in heart that Luis has had so far. At first contact, he didn´t want anything to do with us, but now he listens, reads and prays with real intent to know for himself if these things are true. He continues to progress well towards his baptism on the 22nd of June. His older brother, Andres, is the only person left in the family, but after inviting him to be baptized he decided he didn´t want to. And now he might be headed to Cusco in July to live with his biological mother (Rosa isn´t his actual mother). But I guess we´ll see what the Lord has in store for Andres. I feel like there still might be hope before he heads out o´ town. Rosa and Yhon continue to prosper as new converts, and little by little are becoming accustomed to the church culture. Yhon will soon be advanced to the office of Priest in the Aaronic priesthood. David will be able to bless the sacrament with his Dad! What a blessing!
Regina is an absolute gem of a convert. As the second counselor in the Relief Society, she has literally lifted the spirit of the whole organization, especially the President, Hermana Lucinda. Last week we visited Hermana Lucinda and she told all about how Regina really has surprised her with her spirit, love of God and for the gospel. She was surprised how a convert of only a month and a half could have such a strong testimony and dedication in a church responsibility. It was also a fun visit because we got to learn some quechua from Lucinda´s mom who was visitng from the Sierra. Such as, Alilachokaykanki, which means, "how are you?" and some other sweet frases! I´ve come to the determination that one day I will speak quechua, the language of the Inca! Anyway, been practicing some good ol´ frases with some of the members who speak quechua, and all of them have been surprised to see a gringo now speaking quecha. Such as "Imataruraykanki pani/huaque?" (what are you doing sister/brother?) or frases like "huarakama!" (until tomorrow!). Oh dear! Peruvian Life is too good sometimes.
My time as a trainer has gone pretty smooth so far. Elder Borda is a great missionary who really tries his best and has progressed nicely so far. He continues to be teachable and humble, which makes training a lot easier! We´ve been working hard and walking fast together. His legs have been hurting as he gets used to the fast walking as a new missionary, and I haven´t really been too merciful whenever he complains that his calves hurt. He has a bit of a belly, so he needs to lose weight anyway haha.
Yup. So that´s my report for the week. I´m so happy to be a missionary. More and more I am convinced of the power of the gospel in changing individuals, families, and communities in places where Satan takes more and more control of the wheel each day. There´s nothing like winning the Saving Game. I love this work and love working hard in it. Remember to stay faithful and to continue doing the little things like saying your prayers, reading the scriptures, and going to church to particpate in the sacrament. The little things seriously make such a huge difference! And I´ve come to that simple realization here in the mission. I know this church is true. The Book of Mormon is everything to me. Peru is better than Guatemala (aka Elder See) and I´m pleased to say I don´t miss you guys at all, but I sure do love you all and pray for your behalf!
Enjoy your week!