Monday, January 25, 2016

Amazed, grateful, blessed.

As I was trying to come up with a catchy title to the email, I thought of ''What just happened'' ''The work and the wait'' and some other great things. Really, yesterday was a day I never dreamed of. We always hear of these wonderful missionary miraculous moments, and I think yesterday I received one of mine. 

The vision of the mission is to work through the members. This week we worked through the members, we tried receiving refferals through the members, we visited less actives, and tried to get members to help us out in the street so we could do some contacting. I'd love to say that it all came out perfect and that we received lots of referrals and that the members never fell through when we asked them to help help, but that would be lying. The only day we had a member in the street it was for about an hour and a half, and it was because a member from Elder Caifual's last area came to show us a referral she had for us. We tried to ask a member questions to help think of people to give us as referrals that L Whitney Clayton gave us in the Missionary Seminar (do you guys even know how much I love that man? He is the best ever), but she couldn't think of anybody that fit into those categories in our area. At the end of the week though, we had a list of around 8 people that we were were waiting to see in the church, 6 less actives and 2 investigators. 

Out of all these people, only one less active actually came to church, but she attended with the ward of San Miguel (but for the time being I am just super happy she came to church). So much for our efforts of the week. But then the miracles started to occur. About an hour and a half into our church attendance another less active came with one child and four grandchildren. The grandchildren aren't baptized and she wants us to teach them. Then, later on I was talking with an Hermana and she told me she was going to visit a less active family that evening. I asked if we could come and she said yes (we'll get to this later.). So with hopes a little higher we continued on our way.

After church we had lunch with a part-member family. This family has had the missionaries working with them for a while, there are like 3 registers for them in the Area Book. Last time we ate with them we talked about baptism and invited the nonmembers to be baptized, but they told us no. During the lunch I shared the spiritual thought about the OLA, and after Elder Caifual expounded a little bit more. We were talking about about the Book of Mormon or something along the lines of the Restoration and the wife of the member told us she never had heard of Joseph Smith. WHAAAAT? In the registers it says that she had already had that lesson before, but I don't know what happened, so we quickly changed and gave the lesson of the Restoration. She told us after that now she understand the importance of the Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and all that good stuff, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized the 14 of February, as well as one of her kids (we need to get the signature now, but we have the oral consent) and her mother. The wife already has the three church attendances but we are still planning on three weeks with her so we can teach them all as a family. They are so prepared! 

After lunch we had the visit with the hermana. We applauded outside the gate, but no one came. She turned to us and asked, ''Alright, where are we going now?'' ready to get some missionary work done (this hermana is the person most dedicated to the missionary work in the branch. She loves to accompany but due to complications could not help out this last week) we started off and a little bit later I said hi to a person in the street and right after she asked us if we wanted a drink at her house in the corner. It was a day pretty dang roasty and we accepted her gesture and this opportunity to spread the Gospel. So as we sat and drank she told us she loved the missionary work. We got talking and she told us some things and it was was pretty clear that she was wanting some help. We talked about our purpose, and taught in a very roundabout way the Restoration with her as well. At the beginning of our visit she wasn't the type of person that goes to church, but by the end her perspective changed and she accepted the invitation to be baptized (she might have a vacation but we will see what we work out).

After that, we went to the house of a referral from the elders in San Miguel. We talked with the lady there and began to work with CoCo (Como comenzar a enseñar, or How to begin teaching for you English folk). I asked her why she gave her direction to the elders and she told us she likes to listen to other peoples' perspectives, but wasn't going to change her own ideas. My companion said a few things about how we aren't here to change people, rather to help them follow Christ (or something like that, I still don't know exactly what happened at this point) and then he invited her to be baptized and she said yes! I was so confused, I though she was going to say no, but hey Elder Caifual knows better. 

I'm still kind of in awe, but just like that, we have five people in our three semanas. We also did some math and figured that if we congregate with these two women we found and receive the signatures of those grandkids we met in the church, we have the possibility of around 14 baptisms February 14. What a happy Valentines Day it will be. This area has been so hard for me. I have been trying to work a lot here and I have been really sweaty and stressed and frustrated sometimes, but it seems like things are starting to fall into place. Our efforts didn't reap a whole bunch of results this week, but I believe that God saw our desires to follow the vision of the mission (and really, of the Church) and work through the members, and even though there weren't very many fruits from our efforts, He saw them sufficient to give us one day jam-packed of miracles, with people in the right places at the right time. God is good, and I feel really blessed, guys. He works with me, is patient with me, and helps me to learn, because let me tell you all, I have a lot to learn. It never stops amazing me how perfect everything is, and I love that about the Gospel.

I hope you all have a great week and also HAPPY BIRTHDAY Thursday to the best twin even and the best Dad ever. =) 


Elder Hardcastle

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