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Monday, April 25, 2016

Week #96: San Lorenzo

The last two weeks, day after day my companion, Elder Virgin and I have been split up and we have been going around the mission with various missionaries interviewing all of the investigators to hopefully resolve any concerns for those that have some doubts. Honestly, this part of the responsibilities has always been one that is the most rewarding.  There is something so special about getting to know all of the progressing investigators throughout  the mission. One of the best moments was going back up to San Pedro with Elder Kahl. He has never gone up to the mountains in his mission and so he never really understood just how different the work is up in the mountains compared to the coast. As I am sure I have said before there is a beautiful contrast between the mountains and the coast. The people of the coast are willing to take great leaps of faith at the first hints of the spirit while the people in the mountains dive so deep into their studies of the scriptures that the sure quality of their questions pushes any missionary to study to keep up with their investigators.  This week he had his first mountain lessons. After a few minutes had passed I looked over at him to see him a little shocked that the people we were teaching had actually read and had some seriously good questions. A few mins later he recovered from the shock of an investigator that actually read and had real doubts and we had some of the best lessons of the week.

Well....changes, happened and I have been transferred out of the office.  Well, changes sort of at least.  It was more like Elder Virgin and I were moved out of the office to a new area. We are opening the area of San Lorenzo which was actually part of Maclen where I have worked before. It has the same climate as Rio Blanco, so that means I need to go paca shopping to find some sweaters but it is nice to be back here in the mountains. I feel  a lot more at home here than on the coast.

Right now, San Lorenzo will be going through a trail period. If we manage to consistently have 20 people in church each week,  we will be opening up a new Rama (Branch) up here which has been the dreams of many of the members for a very long while.

Our house here is well....rather interesting....it is very "chapin" style, which means if we don't duck we will be slamming our heads into the doorframes of the house. It was really funny and I don't know if President Ruiz said it as a joke or not but he said and I quote, "Your house is one of the nicest in the mission. It is a swiss style house." I was like wow.....Swiss huh what does that even look like. Anyways,  I will be sure to send you some photos next week so that you can be the judges of our "Swiss" style house and whether it is one of the nicest in the mission......come to think of it, we don't even have blankets.....So things are going to be nice and chilly tonight.

We are literally starting from square one up here, in this new area, out in the middle of nowhere, but after a five-hour drive and getting to our new area, and settled in the new house, the moment that we walked out of the house we ran into a girl working with the peace core.  Elder Perez was with us and was looking down the street and said kinda loud "Shes White!"  The crazyiest thing happened. She yelled back "yeah I am!"  After talking with her for a bit it turns out she has been here for seven months and will probably be able to help in getting us into teaching the kids in the schools.

I am excited about this new area!  I am excited about the new opportunities that it presents, and this is just how I wanted to end my mission.  I couldnt be happier!



Monday, April 4, 2016

Week #93: Mazate, Conference and Mangos



This week has been great. So many things have happened this week. Another set of changes have come and gone. It is truly weird to think that I am on the last days of this time here.
           So as I said last week I was heading out of the office for a short little trip. I ended up going to a the area of La Union in Mazate las Flores. I was only there for two days but...wow I love that area. That area is something special, something so completely different from the area that I am in right now. Mazate, in general has always been known as a blessed area of the mission. For two days I became companions with Elder Shupe. He is an excellent missionary and I am glad that I was able to serve with him even if only for two days. I went through my limited time with him at a very busy, fast pace. This week is conference, but beyond that there will be easily 6-8 baptisms from him and his new companion this month. I got to get to know a great deal of the investigators that they have there. One is a little lady named Vanessa, she is about 16 years old. She was found when the missionaries had been accidentally  referred to a small little out of the way alley where some reference supposedly lived. Here they didn't find who they were looking for but rather found Vanessa, who had prepared for them. Things started off a little rocky as all first encounters do. She listened to the missionaries and accepted them back, even accepted a baptismal date, but then there was a time when she just simply could not be found. The elders began to loose a little bit of hope and understandably so. They would try and call her, try to  see when they could come over, but every time something came up, or she would say a time and then not show up. A few weeks later, out of the blue, a thought came to them that today we need to go and see what was going on with Vanessa. Sure enough, she was home, and the Elders began to talk to her trying to figure out what had happened. It turns out that at times life becomes busy for all of us and at this time things were just going on with her. The Elders began to prod a little to see If she still wanted to be baptized, a few weeks earlier she had been unsure of her answer, but this day she said with an a surety, " I want to be baptised". She began to tell them a little bit of how she had been reading the Book of Mormon, and how at the moment she is finishing 2nd Nefi. At about this point of the story I come in at a moment so perfect, we had stopped by her house to see how she was going and to see if she would be going to General Conference with us. There we learned that not only would she be going but that she had invited a few of her friends. I was already impressed with this but then she said that she had not only invited them but that she had been teaching two of them from the pamphlets that the elders had given her. She had made photocopies of pamphlets to give to other people. On the spot I grabbed all of the teaching materials that I had on me and gave them to her, telling her that her days of photocopies are over.
         Another Great couple of investigators I got to know were Brenda and Samuel. Well more than anything Brenda and her son. Her husband Samuel couldn't join us because he was working fixing cars in the "garage"(open field). You see the Elders had done something rather original. They decided to contact everyone that has a mango tree asking them for well....mangos. I absolutely love mangos and if any of my areas had ever had mangos I would probably be doing the same right now rather than be here sitting here writing this to you. Anyways they had gone around this day asking for mangos when lo and behold they found a nice lady walking around doing nothing less than giving her mangos aways. Needless to say,  God put them in her path and her in theirs. After eating some mangos for a while and talking, she invited them back to her home where they began to teach her and her family who are also extremely pilas reading the Book of Mormon and loving the general feeling that the gospel brings into their home.
        Honestly, Mazate is one of the most blessed lands in all of the mission and I will miss being there. Now being back in the office is nice but honestly the blessing of the mission is being able to effect a change in the life of the people we are teaching. Here in the home area, we had a little bit of success for conference. A little family came to conference and really liked it. Also, it was kinda fun to look for you guys during conference, it gave me a little something extra to do but I don't think I really meet any success as I didn't see you, you must have all had the nosebleed seats. Well I'm all out of conferences....and now that I think about it I'm out of all major holidays I think the only thing left is mothers day.



What does this 5 gallon bottle of water and Elder Wilcox have in common?
Streaming Conference...