This past week has definitely, I would say, been one of the hardest so far on my mission. What a contrast it has been compared to all of the weeks before!
This is the first time I`ve had so many challenges with the investigators accepting baptismal invitations, and also just been feeling low overall. However, I have hope. There`s always hope because two good things happened this week:
1. Carla got baptized! It was actually sort of a miraculous feat. On Tuesday we brought a member with us as usual to accompany us in the lesson. We got on the theme of living prophets and Carla, confused, didn`t want to accept that there`s a living prophet named Thomas S. Monson. To make it worse, the member began to argue with her, and the Spirit zipped out of that place on rollerskates! Carla got all annoyed and said she wasn`t sure if she wanted to be baptized because she had a weird dream the night before. I had this urge to punch the member in the face, but being a missionary and as members of the church, we don`t normally punch people in the middle of lessons with investigators. It was just a bad thought. So I witheld myself and said we would just come back the next day, leaving Carla with Jacob 4, which talks about the purpose of prophets.
Thankfully, it worked! The next day we came back with full force of the Spirit,and cleared it all up. On Friday she had her baptismal interview, and Saturday afternoon she was baptized. Normally, converts get confirmed the next day at church, but in Carla`s case, she had a surprise news source let her know that her university enrollment back in the selva (or jungle) had started early. So she was confirmed right there on Saturday, and had to high tail it out of town at like 4 am on Sunday morning. We sent her on her way with a couple gifts, and a letter from each of us as her missionaries. The good news is that where she studies, she lives across the street from the LDS chapel! The place is called La Merced, in Junin, Peru.
2. Elder Cook gave a surprise visit here in Lima! It was literally a "Cook" Off. Saturday morning we had the privilege of shaking the hands of Elder Waddell, a seventy, and Elder Cook and their wives. During Sister Cook`s talk, she had us all stand, 400 missionaries, and sing Hark! All Ye Nations for her. She conducted the whole things with big happy arms and had us do some interesting renditions of the hymn. It was fun haha! She bore her testimony on the power of the hymns in helping us develop Christlike attributes. That lady has musical talent!
Elder Cook spoke to us about the accelerating speed at which the missionary work is progressing. He said that before the age announcement, it took two apostles each week to make about 500 assignments. Now, it takes about four or five apostles to make about 1500 each week. Before he was an apostle, he worked in the missionary department in the church offices. He told us how President Hinckley called him to the office for an interview, he was taken aback by the calling extended as an apostle. At first he wanted to reject, but the prophet just waved his hand up and down saying, "I don`t want to hear any of that. Will you accept?" After about an hour of sobbing after saying "Yes." He went home later that evening and, opening the door, he saw his wife and said "Honey, we´re in BIG trouble!" Anyway, he was able to testify that, as an apostle who now makes the mission call assignments, he was absolutely amazed by the power of the Spirit in letting them know where each and every single missionary needs to serve, and for what reason. He testified that we are where we are meant and needed to be as messengers of the Lord.
Anyway, thinking of Christlike attributes, I read D&C 4 this morning while studying which reads:
Now behold, a amarvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
If you look up chapter six of PMG, you can read in detail about each and every one of those attributes stated in that scripture. What a marvelous time in life to be able to serve a mission. There is nothing more precious than representing the Lord in his great work and a wonder. I love this gospel, and know it is true. I testify that Jesus Christ bears us up as we strive to be more like him. He promises us to guide and protect us as we serve, and to bless us eternally as a reward.
I love you all so much! Have a great week!