Monday, November 14, 2016

The Gospel Can Change Lives

 Zone soccer p-day (Nathan is the blond one on the left--hard to tell in these pictures)

As you can now see, I've found my twin in my zone. His name is Elder Rollins,
from Montana. The zone says that he's my more muscular twin.
To me, he looks more like Jalen.
My first baptism! It wasn't ours, it was the other two elders--Sanchez and Gilt.
 They're in the town next to ours, called Palmar. But G_____ and B_____ attended;
they're the two older people to the left.

Elders Gilt, Lezano, Gibbons, and Sanchez
Another typical dinner
I can't believe that I'm already 3/4 of the way done with my training. It's so weird. I only got here a few days ago. But suddenly I'm realizing that I can more or less understand what the people are saying, I'm able to focus more when they speak and I'm slowly able to teach better. Which means that maybe I can talk for 10 minutes rather than 2. Far, far from perfect, or even decent, but that's just how it is. Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like I could be helping more, but I can't. It's been a bit difficult, but I'm learning more than ever to have patience with myself and my companion. He's really great, but he's obviously not perfect. But that's ok, I can't expect perfection from him, any more than he can from me.
As for G_____ and B_____, we had an interesting surprise there. I think last week I talked about how they always say that they're living in union libre, but when you ask they say they've gone to the notary and signed and everything. So we've always taken that to mean that yes, they're married. (As we know, we can't baptize people who are living together but aren't married). So this Saturday, we went over in the afternoon to fill out their baptismal record, because their interview was scheduled for that day. One of the requirements here is that they show their Marriage Register. So we asked if we could see theirs, and they once again said that they're not married. They showed us the document, and it's a register of co-existence. Which means that essentially the government recognizes that they've been living in union libre for many years, and if they separate or one of them dies, the other gets their things. It's basically as close as you can get to being married without actually getting married. For that, I've decided to call it the devil's marriage. But I know that this gospel, the message and the spirit that it brings really changes lives. As we talked with them, B_____ told us that G_____ has always thought that that was enough, he never wanted to get married. As we explained that it's a commandment of God and a requirement for baptism, they said "Ok, no problem. We can do it this week." It's incredible to see the changes that have come in them. I've really seen this hope change them. They really are happier, it's something truly incredible. I hope to be able to see that often. I'm really convinced that in 2 or 3 years, they're going to be temple workers. They're incredible, and the goal now is for the 26th of this month.
Everything's going well, we found a young guy named J_____ who's really great too. He attended for the first time yesterday. We are excited to see where he goes. Other than that, I think everything's pretty normal, we are working hard, the weather is starting to change a bit. Which means that instead of being blazing hot and humid with the sun, there are a few more clouds and sometimes a breeze. But after weeks of the first, the breeze feels amazing.
I really love it here, the mission is incredible. I know that this gospel can change lives, and that Heavenly Father really can work through each and every one of us, weak as we are. I'm definitely not the greatest missionary or the greatest teacher, but He's still granted me some success and allowed me to find some amazing people. I know that He is willing and able to do the same through the members too, not only the missionaries. The only thing we have to do is be willing to open our mouth and be brave, and trust that He will do the rest.
As for Christmas stuff, I don't know. Some Reeses peanut butter cups would definitely be welcome. Maybe a small strand of Cristmas lights to help me feel more festive. And ties, ties are always welcome. I already feel limited with the 10 or so I have. A new journal might be smart too, I still have a bunch of space in the one I have, but who knows when I'll be able to get another package. And maybe some shoe polish, here it isn't quite as good. I don't know, I don't really have time to think of stuff I need. Maybe one or two books on teachings of the prophets that they use in Priesthood. This year is President Hunter, and next year would be good to have in English. I don't know, just ideas.
I love you all so much, I hope that you're all doing well, and that you can all feel the spirit of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and missionary work! All three of these things are some of the greatest blessings we can possibly receive!

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