Hey- Anna Daines- are you alive? You have been sweeping into my mind many times this week...and I would love to know that you´re ok!
Another week has just flown by- I feel like I was JUST at this computer an hour ago... not a week ago! This is getting ridiculous how fast this ride is! I don´t even know where to start with this week! I feel like I´ve hardly been with Sister Bautista this week because we did divisions every day! As a zone we visited each other´s areas and did contacting activities- but because our area is so far away from civilization... and we have SO MUCH work to do (seriously- it´s so full of potential.... I never want to come back to the house at night!)... we´ve been doing divisions. When I first came out to the field... I had some faithless insecurities about doing divisions (Way to go Joel! Divisions your first month! Good boy!).... so now it´s cool to see that I can go out with 17 year olds who aren´t super comfortable with contacting and teaching.... and the Lord has truly provided the way for me to fully communicate, connect, and effectively teach in this language. I KNOW this is not me- the Lord´s hands are SO CLEARLY manifest in my life every day- it´s blowing my mind.
I feel like this has been the week of drunks! Everyday we have found someone new that is so caught up in alcohol.... I´m doing a lot of studying on addiction recovery. If anyone has tips or super good information- I would love it! It´s so sad to see their pain... and it seriously hurts me to see them like this...... and I´m really starting to understand the power of the Atonement... and how it applies to EVERY THING in this life! So... I am loving and relishing my drunken brothers... and am having to really focus in on the Spirit to know how to help them.
We are continuing to recieve answers to our prayers- every day. For example... Juan Carlos. As I have said before... he lives REALLY far away. Hour long bus ride and 30 minute walk. We know that he has to be really strong and secure in his testimony to continue to wake up early, walk, pay the significant price for the bus (.75 each way really adds up for them)- every week. We have tried to teach so clearly the need for personal testimony and the vitality of studying the scriptures and praying EVERY DAY.... but we know that this is new... and we love him so much..that we have been praying that he will continue to have the experiences necessary to build a strong foundation and that he can continue to spiritually grow. We are really seeing the Lord´s way of answering our pleas.
First of all... I wanna explain where Juan Carlos lives! He lives in the beautiful/secluded mountains of Pasjonal. ( I sent pictures of the mountains and his house nestled in a few weeks ago..) It is a little tiny town with a view and ambiance that I can´t explain. I LOVE IT THERE. It is SO magical... and I have serious fantasies about having a little house there... and living in such peace and tranquility that is found there. The first time we ventured out there to find Juan Carlos... I was so enchanted...but more than that... I felt so strongly... that Pasjonal would have a strong presence of the church there in the future. I didn´t know if that was the Spirit or a dream... but every time I go there... I just feel like the gospel will blossom there... though there aren´t any members there- until now! Then... a few weeks ago... a family moved there from Santa Ana (this main city)- and they are SO strong in the gospel and are making the travels so dilligently for church and activies in the future. A few weeks ago when we went to visit Juan Carlos... Sister Ayayi (the mother that moved to Pasjonal) was on the bus... and when I shared with her my dream for Pasjonal- she said that she has felt very strongly the same. She said that she was prompted strongly to move to Pasjonal...away from Santa Ana where the church is pretty strong... to Pasjonal where there is NO ONE and the nearest church is Candelaria. She said that she knows she´s supposed to be in Pasjonal for a very important purpose. Then... as ¨luck¨ would have it... a family came to church yesterday- and they were from Pasjonal. CRAZY! A member from Santa Ana wanted his family to know the church and the missionaries... so he brought them yesterday. We have work to do!
SO... yesterday was ward conference... and all the leaders of the stake were there. It was an AWESOME meeting... and the Spirit was nearly tangible! Juan Carlos was confirmed... and he GLOWED. In his blessing... he was told that he would he would be a tool in the Lord´s hands to help the gospel spread to new areas.- woah! After church... the stake president wanted to know where Juan Carlos lived. SO... the whole high council and Juan Carlos jumped into the back of a pickup... and we drove the hour plus drive to his home. I could tell that Juan Carlos was really blown away by how much these men loved him... and all this attention! haha. We hiked up to his house and they took pictures of the ¨first missionaries and member of Pasjonal¨... and Juan Carlos talked about wanting to serve a mission... and the Stake President talked about starting a branch there soon. The Spirit was so tender... and I could see that Juan Carlos was very moved.... and I know that our prayers were answered. I am so excited to see what fruits are to come forth in the future years and generations from Juan Carlos in Pasjonal.
We are working with some GREAT families right now and having some really powerful lessons and experiences with them. It´s so true and evident that Satan is really focusing in on families.... but we know how to fight him... and that we will!
Life is still so different here... but I feel like I´m almost totally acclimated. I even asked myself this morning... ¨what was it like in my past life to shower alone?¨ ..because I feel like I´m living the discovery channel every morning with my colony of scorpions, geckos, spiders spiders spiders, cockroaches, misquitos, and flies to keep me company!
The Lord has truly blessed me with energy and abilities beyond my own- I can NEVER deny it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this work... I love spanish, I love these people, I love Hermana Bautista, I love El Salvador, I LOVE this gospel.