Another week in Paradise! (No, but really! Our zone is called ¨Paraiso¨, how perfect, huh?)
We had our exchanges Wednesday, and it was certainly bitter sweet. Even though Hermana Bautista and I are still living together… it was hard to break off the companionship- we have learned so much from each other, experienced so much together… and have sincerely enjoyed our time in our companionship… it was hard to hand her over to another sister. Yet… I´m excited to build another relationship with Hermana Fuentes! She is from here.. from San Salvador. The Lord knows that I love and need El Salvadoranians…so he has continued to blessed me to engrossed in them… and it´s perfect for me.
Hermana Fuentes is totally different than Hermana Bautista in so many ways… and I can already see how the Lord is trying to teach me some very specific and important things through those differences…so here we go!! Her family has 18 years in the church, and her younger brother is serving in Costa Rica right now. Hermana Bautista´s new companion is Hermana Salizar from Honduras (almost everyone in the mission is from Guatamala or Honduras! It´s great!) and is SUCH a doll. Our duena is in her house for the next 2 months… so we worked out a better living arrangement… - the Lord is so clearly providing for us in the little and big things- it´s incredible. So.. Hermana F and I are in the other house and we just cook with Hermana Bautista and Salizar. It´s SO nice.
Thursday we got off the bus quiet little Pajonal… and just started making some noise! It´s almost like everyone is hanging out in their hamakas… just waiting for us! The people are SO chill and SO nice… it´s easy to get in their doors. I think our struggle will be helping them get to church to have that special experience. We really have to teach the Restoration so clearly and powerfully… and they HAVE TO feel the Spirit… like always! – because it´s not like the church in Candelaria is just up the road. So… people are happy to listen to us… but the obstacle will be helping them have the personal drive to read, pray, and come to church. – but thus is the mission life, right? Still.. we are seeing how the Lord is preparing the way…………. And that He truly and completely answers prayers.
We´ve been continuing to work with the Family Exume… and I felt all last week… that we definitely needed a strong priesthood holder with us at the next lesson. Yet… who? Candelaria doesn´t have the most members.. and strong priesthood holders are even more scarce… and the odds of finding someone available almost ALL DAY to travel up to Pajonal, and then make the hike up to their house… then down from their house… and then wait for the bus until the afternoon…….- was such a far cry. Yet… nothing is impossible… and if I had received revelation that that was what the family needed as I was praying to know what they needed…. Then surely the Lord would provide. SO… as I was then praying to find someone to help with them…. The morning that we were in the bus headed to Pajonal… entered Bishop Ramos and his counselor Hermano Silba. When Bishop sat next to me in the bus and told me that they were sent by the stake president to go to Pajonal to look for a house for us and for the upcoming branch… the Spirit washed over me… and I knew that this was such a clear answer to my prayers. I asked him if they could come with us to the lesson with this family… and he quickly arranged everything… and off we went! – I couldn´t have imagined anything better or asked for a situation more perfect. The family told us how Jose was enchanted by everything he experienced in the church… and Jose told us that it was so wonderful and he loved it. As we talked… I knew it was the time to invite them to be baptized. As expected… they had concerns and questions about the need to be baptized again… and it was SO PERFECT to have bishop and Hermano Silba there to teach and explain, and testify so powerfully of the restoration of the Priesthood…. And that again we have the exact power of God that Christ gave his Apostles… on the earth for us to use. The Spirit was so sweet and powerful… and they told us sincerely… that they would ask God if this was true… and if they needed to be baptized again. – I know that the Lord set everything up that day.. because He loves the family Exume.
Sunday we worked in Candelaria… like it was our area again. I don´t know how many more times we´ll do that… because we don´t know when we´ll start meeting in Pajonal… but I was so grateful for more time with the ward of Candelaria. It was so sweet to see the investigadors that I was working with come to church. Carolina and Herrardo are continuing to progress- very slowly..but ever so surely. We had a family home evening with them and Hermana Blanca and Hermano Mario… and it was SO perfect. They are SO SO SO close to just making the date to be married on the 14th and baptized on the 19th. SO close. – I came to church fasting, praying, hoping, and basically expecting to see the whole family Exume there. Yet… no one was there. Of course… I was bummed… but still had some mysterious glimmer of hope… even though the bus had already passed through Candelaria.. and the families were there. So… I found myself continuing to pray…and when they opened the doors again after Sacrament meeting.. in came Jose again!!! The Lord answers prayers. – again… he loved his experience in the church and is excited to meet with us again on Tuesday. The Lord loves him.
Another sweet miracle. Last week Hermana B and I were trying to contact a reference.. and we found a family hanging out in their hammock. Turns out… the mother is a member.. but inactive. As we talked with her.. she said that she would come on Sunday. (like they all say, right?) – Sunday came…. And so did she!! SO… Hermana Fuentes and I went to visit her that afternoon. As were sitting in her front room… I saw someone pass by outside… and the Spirit penetrated me.. and I asked, ¨who else is here?¨- and she replied that her son was her. I asked if we could invite him to join in with us… and she laughed with doubt, but invited him. He refused… and she seemed defeated. Whether it´s just my stubborn rude nature… or pure inspiration… I started yelling out to him, not knowing where he was hiding, ¨Is it because we´re women, or because we´re from the church? Venga!!¨…. and after a while… he sauntered in. As we started teaching Louis… this 17 year old teenage attitude.. changed. As the Spirit settled into the room… his face lit up… and he started answering our questions…. And really understood. He really caught the reality and concept of the apostasy… and by the end… we could really see and feel that he had a sincere desire to know for himself if Joseph Smith was a real prophet of God. It was so sweet to see the reaction of his mom… as he changed…she became more and more elated… and when he would be looking down to read a scripture, she would give us the thumbs up and mouth ¨gracias!! GRACIAS!!!¨- and when he quickly agreed to pray with us and when he prayed that his parents would return to church… she was glowing. The family is also an inactive member.. but the Spirit gave me such a sweet confirmation and view of them in the temple… sealed for all eternity. So… though they are not in my area… I am so excited to hear about their progress and miracles.
I KNOW that this gospel is true. I KNOW that the Lord is ever so mindful of us. I KNOW that a huge manifestation of that love… is that he calls and uses prophets in this very day to guide us to the path that will bring us eternal life and happiness. How glorious is this work… and how thankful I am to have the opportunity to thrust in my little sickle in beautiful El Salvador