Monday, September 26, 2016

Power in Testifying

With Elder Troche, headed to play soccer with the zone
A typical street, lined with mango trees. A lot of the streets have asphalt,
but a lot are also dirt.

Nathan's first zone conference, with Elder Falabella of the Seventy
The Falabellas with the Gallego Family
Thank you all for your emails, I love to hear from all of you. To start, this has been a week of highs and lows. I rolled my ankle late Tuesday night and it was very difficult to walk for a little while and very painful. The next morning was very hard for me, I felt very homesick for a long time. I actually felt pretty depressed. What helped me most was our training. Elder Falabella came and that day we heard from him, his wife, and President and Hermana Gallego. Their messages helped me a lot, and the things I have studied this week have been very powerful for that. I've definitely learned a lot about the Atonement this week and how I can apply it for myself. I think my biggest struggle is similar to the struggle of President Hinckley in his mission, I need to forget myself and go to work. But sometimes that's difficult. I'm working on it and getting better.
But everything is pretty good. I'm starting to adjust to the heat, more or less. The food is all fantastic. I had fish for the first time yesterday, and it was pretty tasty. It was the whole fish, head and all, fried. But it was very good. I definitely know that the blessing for missionaries is real, because I'm able to eat everything that people put in front of me. Even the tomatoes and green beans. I've learned to just mix it with the  rice and other stuff. As for food, our meals usually consist of rice, sometimes beans or lentils, with some kind of meat like chicken or beef cooked in some different form. And often potatoes. It's all very delicious. There are also usually some form of bananas, fried, roasted, every form imaginable. It's all very good. And the juices are all fantastic. So far my favorite is from some fruit called mora. But last night we tried one made from green mangoes and it was divine. And we learned that pretty much every tree that we walk under is a mango tree. But most of the mangos aren't ripe yet, but apparently their juice is still fantastic.
Elder Troche doesn't speak much English, but it's helping me to understand Spanish a lot. Our biggest problem is time. Sometimes he and I talk too much to the investigators and have a hard time getting to all of our appointments. But we have plans to fix that. Also, we aren't starting the area up again. There were missionaries here before us, but we've heard rumors that some of them were pretty disobedient, which means that we really need to win the trust of the members. Which we are working  at. The branch is really small. There are about 90 registered members, but about 50 attend regularly. But we had a branch conference this week and had almost 70, one of which was an investigator.
But I've realized that I'm a lot more confident in my Spanish during the lessons, and I'm starting to be able to understand more and more. I know more will come with time. I just have to focus almost completely in what they're saying. But when I do that and make an effort to love them, I definitely feel the gift of tongues.
I've learned that it's very hard to teach effectively, it requires a whole lot of thought and effort on my part. But there is an undeniable power when my companion and I testify. It's hard, but there is power, and I love to feel it. I need to be able to make the gospel applicable to the lives of the investigators, because that's when they will feel it. We received a reference for an investigator names A_____ this week who was awesome. Hes been searching all his life for a church, and said that as soon as we stepped on his porch, he felt something different. We hope for good things from him. He's searching for work, and of course the one day he found a short term job was on Sunday, which we were very upset about. But it's alright, we are going to work with him a lot.
As for our area, we have Santo Tomas and an area called Sabana Grande, which we have yet to visit since we've barely started learning our area. It's difficult, we are exhausted every night. But I also learned that Elder Troche loves music like I do, which was pretty great. He wants you to record yourself playing Come Thou Fount on the piano, Mom, and send it so we can listen to it.
I think that's all for this week, if I think of more I'll send out some more! I love you all, thank you for your prayers and thoughts on my behalf, and I look forward to hearing from everyone this next week! I love you!!

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