On Wednesday there was a worldwide mission broadcast. In other words, it is kind of like a general conference for missionaries. It was really powerful! It was a video of 7 church leaders discussing missionary work and answering missionaries' questions. Of course I got all hyped up after, so we went and challenged half of our investigators to be baptized :) I'll tell you how it went. First we taught Miguel and Yamila. Miguel has had 2 or 3 lessons and Yamila is his wife. She hadn't participated until my companion did a service for her in divisions with another missionary. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. She was way interested and asked so many questions we had trouble keeping up! At the end we asked her if she would get baptized if God told her the Church is true. She said yes, so we knelt down and she prayed to know. We waited kneeling down for about 30 seconds after and she said that she felt a peace that she has never felt and joy. We gave her and her husband baptismal date for February 18th. We still don't know if they're married though, so today we will ask them and perhaps move the date back two or three weeks. Then taught the Sosa family. The dad wasn't there, but his wife and two of his sons were. She was looking for a change because the dad drinks and there are troubles in the home. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and prayed with her as well. She started breathing hard and said that she felt really warm and happy. We set her a baptismal date for the 25th of February. Yesterday at church we had some great surprises! We got there and Yamila showed up with her son, Eliana (an investigator that lives in a different town that we are going to challenge at lunch on Wednesday), Simon (another investigator), and a new face. His name is Ezequiel. The high councilman assigned to our ward invited him. He is 28 and lives alone. He was really into all of the meetings and I was surprised by how much he participated. We have a lesson tomorrow. Lots of blessings! This week I officially only have less than 6 months to do a lot more work. Please pray for me so that I can get done all that the Lord needs me to do in these last months! I need it :) I love you guys. Keep up all of the great things you do and don't ever stop reading and praying. Have a great week!
Here are some clips of Carlos' companion videoing the rain on the way to church ...
This week hasn`t been as crazy as last week, but it was getting there :) We have had service every day trying to clean up from the flood and get some needed items delivered to the people that lost everything. It is wonderful to serve! That has actually been the secret to success in finding this week. All but one of our new investigators of the week were consequential to little street services. I`ll write about one family we found. On Saturday we were walking to an appointment and we saw a man with a giant sifter and was shaking sand to get the weeds out. I thought it looked like he was panning for gold :) We almost passed by them but the Spirit slapped me in the face and told me to help them out. We did and after protesting a lot the man handed me the shovel. We couldn`t do much before his wife was inviting us to sit down and offering us soda. We ended up teaching the whole family. Gustavo the dad, Mirta the mom, a 23 year-old daughter named Rocìo and a 16 year-old boy named Facundo. It turns out that both of the girls had talked with sister missionaries before, and they were really open to listening. We started with the restoration and Rocìo and Mirta were interested. The kid was on the phone and the dad was looking bored up until we felt like we had to teach about eternal families. We started to explain and the whole attitude of the family changed. All of the sudden Gustavo was dialed in and everyone was laser focused on everything we had to say. As we finished explaining the First Vision the Spirit was so strong I felt like I could reach out and touch it. I told them that what they were feeling, that good feeling that they could almost touch, was the Holy Ghost and that we feel it when God wants to tell us something is true. After a moment of silence Gustavo shared that they had lost a baby 2 years before and in their church they couldn't seem to find comfort. We told them that they will be able to see and live with their baby again... It was special. It ended up not being gold that Gustavo was sifting for, but I feel like we did find gold that day!
I had a fun time this week at a huge zone conference last week that I couldn`t tell about because there was so much to tell about the rain and water. We had a zone conference with 6 different zones the other day and I was able to see Elder Gutierrez (My last companion) and the other Elder Gutierrez (My trainee that had to go home over a year ago). He came back to the mission!!!!!! I was SO excited! The kid looks great. We had a funny moment when Elder Gutierrez the 2nd met Elder Gutierrez the original, haha!
I love you guys, have a great week! These are pictures of some of my Christmas presents. Sorry they`re coming late!
The weird cup thing is a mate (not mate in English haha. It`s pronounced mah-tay). It is a cup thing that you use to drink an herbal drink called mate as well. Super cool :)
Oh my goodness. Yesterday we headed for the church and it was pouring hard on us. There ended up being 12 members other than the missionaries there, and after the first class President Ruiz said we would go out and help members that had flooded houses. We grabbed a few buckets and squeegies and we went to work taking water out of houses. After helping a few members, Elder Hanson, and Buckholz and I went to a neighberhood called the Toads (Las Ranas in Spanish). It is an extremely poor area where the houses are the size of a laundry room and made completely of scrapwood and rusty sheet metal. The roofs were so low that I couldn´t stand up straight in one of the homes. We had to take all of their things out of their houses because the river rises and covers everything. The saddest part was to see the little ones... Then we made it back to take the Sacrament and we were sopping wet, haha! The afternoon was all running around with buckets and squeegies helping people. One family was not a member family, and their whole backyard had filled up and their house was a river. We were there for about 2 hours making barricades, breaking brick walls, and a lot of bailing water. Then we saw a sister that had her roof start falling apart. On the other side of the town there families that had over a meter of water in their homes. 3 or 4 families had to be evacuated to the church and other homes. Elder Beutler and I were taking mattresses from the other Elders´ apartment to the church 15 blocks away, and we were wading waist deep in water with mattresses on our heads. There is a part called Barrio Guemes that had so much water that the firemen sent boats in to rescue people from their homes. Many families lost everything. It was a very humbling and very fun day! Today we made pancakes for some members that we evacuated to the church for the night. Fun day, but we have seen some really sad sights. I have felt a sweet spirit as we have been helping others. That is the true Gospel! I love you all. Ciaó!
Funny story: We were leaving from a lesson with a less active family and the little kids were playing with a banana like it was a pistol. They handed it over to me and I put it to my ear like a phone and said ¨Hola¨. Right as I spoke our phone rang and we all stopped and looked at each other with scared faces and then cracked up. It was hilarious!
Funny story 2: So the rainstorms here are crazy. In a couple hours it can rain more than six inches and all of the streets turn into rivers. There was one intersection that was almost 3 feet deep in water! On Sunday morning at midnight a massive storm came a wave of hail hit to kick things off. My companion was up in the middle of the night with squeegies and rags trying to keep the water out of the house and I slept like like a baby. When I woke up I saw that the streets were filled with water and tree branches and I informed Elder Beutler that it had rained. I got a rather sharp look in response.
I would use the word solid to describe this week. We saw some great progress in the investigators! The two investigators that went to church last week are named Pascual and Darío Silva. They are doing really well and this week they accepted the invitation to be baptized!!! We are way excited. Things in the branch have been hard. It has been raining a ton here every Sunday morning, so church attendance has been more or less. We had a ward council and we decided to unite and help the members that are scared of the water :) Every member of the council has a couple families to visit. We are excited. Yesterday we had a really cool visit with a recent convert that hasn´t gone to church during the time I´ve been here. We met him and promised blessings for attending church meetings and most importantly taking the sacrament.
This weekend we had a test of faith. It was fast Sunday, and a family of members invited us to have dinner with them Saturday night. We thanked them but explained that we were going to be fasting and that we weren´t going to be able to make it. That night we were able to find 3 new investigators and teach 2 more lessons that we needed to be able to reach our goals. Fast Sunday was very spiritual and I got to prepare and bless the Sacrament. I can definitely feel the blessings of fasting.
There has been a hold up on the Liahona magazine and we just barely got the conference report from October. My comp and I have been reading it like crazy. As I read, I can feel that the apostles are true prophets of God. It is amazing. I love you guys. Have a great week, and don´t forget to pray and read the Book of Mormon every day!!
2017 is not okay. I go home in 2017... What the heck?! I can´t believe so much time has passed by so fast. This last week was super good. I have been cracking down on a few things that are tough for me: Cleaning well every day, organizing my desk, etc. It is a struggle but I know it´s worth it :) There have been lots of bugs this week-like a ton! We killed about 10 roaches, countless, mosquitos, about 50 maggots and a scorpion this week. It´s the ¨lucha¨!
Funny Story: We were walking to an investigator´s house at around 8:30 am on New Year´s and we saw a young couple that was really drunk. We said Buenos días (good morning), and she said ¨Buenos días... buenas tardes.... buenas noches..... buenas lo que sea....¨. In English: ¨Good moring..... good afternoon..... good night..... good whatever it is!¨¨ Haha, it was hilarious! Kids, don´t drink!
But bigger things have been going on than just bugs and drunkards. The other week we had met a new family that are cousins of the Martinez and Ledesma families, and this week their son Darío got really interested! We went to teach and he had read the restoration pamphlet. He started firing out questions about the priesthood and prophets and other things and was way excited. He also said that when we talked to him he felt like he should stop drinking. We challenged him not to drink anything on New Years (In Argentina that takes a miracle). We also invited him to wake up early and walk with us to church on New Year´s Day (Also a miracle). Well we went on Sunday and he was ready for us with his little brother Pascual as well. We all went together to the church and and Darío loved it. We are going to play soccer with them today. Besides them, a few other of our new investigators are starting to progress. Miguel prayed to know if the Church is true and is waiting on an answer, and the Coronel family received their answer!!! We are going to set a baptismal date with them this week. So many miracles!!! I know that God is behind this work for sure. It is real. I love it! Have a great week!
P.S. Happy Birthday on the 4th Mom!!!! I love you. I am always astounded by you and the amount of the Lord´s work you accomplish. You are a super woman. Whenever I have a problem I ask myself what you would do or tell me. And when I am doing something I shouldn´t I can hear you saying ¨Don´t be a dough-head¨ or something like that and I get back on task :) One day I want to be like you Mom!