So I guess I won´t ask the investigators’ grandpa for caoba, but he made it sound super exotic and unique to here. I´ve always had that a little bit in mind, looking for exotic woods for Grandpa Andy. I always remember his story of the muebles (furniture) he made from the Hawaiian wood he and Grandma had, and then the pens he makes for us and their unique origins. If you do end up getting pants or shirts, short sleeve shirts, with maybe one long sleeve, and I have about all of my pants that go with browns and greens for ties and only one pair of grey pants. I´d like some gray pants and maybe a few different colors now that the mission guidelines have changes, lighter colors are totally okay now and that’s intriguing to me, especially right now when its super hot out.
I did get the package on the 12th, the day before hump day, no worries. The tie is great, the tootsie rolls don´t exist here, so Elder Viza didn’t know quite what to think about them. The music is great, it´s always good to mix things up. Elders here are big fans of the Nashville tribute albums, even though they don´t know what it says until they have a gringo to write down the lyrics during language study time. Also, any idea why there are two new films now in the temple?
Our zone in this next transfer will be growing to 20 missionaries, 8 of which will be sisters. Just thought I´d mention that because you had mentioned there are a lot of sisters heading our way. As well, the mission received a couple of married missionaries from you wouldn’t guess where: Nampa Idaho. They knew what Wheeler Circle was and at least know what stake grandma and grandpa are in. They are great and will be serving a regular proselyting mission, currently in the Independencia zone.
As for the hymns in church, some of the other north American missionaries and I had had this conversation during the week. The hymns carry the same power, but only when you think of it as a devotion to God. The hymns aren´t sung in parts in sacrament meeting, I remember that in our sacrament meeting their was at least a good group of members that sang in parts and when men and women divided it was very distinct. Here, 100% of the people sing the melody, even if it’s too high for them to sing it well. When there is a great difference in the tone, they do gigantic slides to get there, and generally the hymns are sung at a different timing than in English, sometimes on a minor tone as well. It´s very different, but they sing with all of their heart and so it doesn´t matter that it’s not like it was written. I honestly can´t think of the English lyrics to quite a few hymns, even ones that I thought I would never, even forget, but sometimes the Spanish lyrics makes more sense, or brings added meaning, the same as when I think about the Spanish scriptures, though many of the visiting authorities tell us the English Book of Mormon is exact and we ought to learn English to study it, reading the Book of Mormon in another language deepens your knowledge of what happens, what it means and that its true. I finished reading it for the second time in castillano on the 13th, hump day and every time I read it I know it’s true, I feel impulsed to testify point out the details I´ve noticed, show the doctrines I´ve learned. Now my project is to read the New Testament, something I honestly haven´t done since my freshman year of high school. I´m now in Marcos and reading about the Savior´s life changes you. Coming to know Him on a more personal level can´t be just through scripture study, but through an honest search to understand His divine mission and how we can exemplify him, we start to change who we are. I feel energized, ready to leave behind bad habits, and more fully obey his call, Venid y Ved. (Come and See)
White Afternoon is in full swing. The plan was that during the first two weeks of the transfer we would focus completely on finding a massive amount of people, through members, previous investigators, part families, less actives, and contacts. Then the next 4 weeks until the last week of February (this week) we would teach them and prepare them to be baptized. This is a zone push, and the final number of people we are baptizing arrives at 25 I think, and it’s been not quite true to schedule. It’s been a test of faith, we didn´t find hardly anyone that had a true interest in the church for the first two weeks. Then we found Jean Paul, he’s 9 years old and the grandson of active members. His mom has to work on her partner so that he can get divorced from his first wife and then married to her so that in the future they can be baptized, but Jean Paul will show them the way. Lots of couples we meet are in that situation. The husband or wife is married, but hasn’t seen their spouse for years, and without getting divorced the two are already with a different family.
The other investigator we have is Ronald who comes from a similar situation, His grandparents are active members, his mom is less active and his dad works until 10 every night of the week. We are activating his mom and workings on plans to help her get married to her husband, as a door to start teaching him on Sunday afternoons. Ronald is the one that came up to me in the church last week.
The last one we met last week, her name is Susana and she´s the second councilor´s daughter-in-law. We had an absolutely amazing lesson with her on Monday night. She´s already come to church twice, but we couldn´t ever find a way to meet with her during the week. Finally on Monday night we were there talking with her about Tacna, where she´s from. It’s a lot quieter, safer than Lima she says, and the people are different. We talked to her about the family, how important it is a good environment to raise your family. I told her about the Tri Cities and how lot of dad´s generation came back to raise their families. Then we talked about how in both Lima, and the Tri-Cities, and in Tacna, the church exists, which gives us eternal principals and a strong foundation on which to build our families (Helaman 5:12). We invited her to be baptized on the 22nd, the tarde blanca, (White Afternoon) and she said yes through tears. She knows it’s true, she feels different in the church. Normally we wouldn’t have challenged her for a date so soon, but she goes back to Tacna for a long term work trip at the end of the month, and so the schedule got moved up quite a bit. She is full of faith, and ready to make this decision that her husband has been nudging her about for years.
I think our total comes to 7 families that we are baptizing and when we count families that’s also completing families (baptizing one of the parents and the kids that are of age).
I have to finish this letter, but I have more things to share, miracles abound and the insights that I gain from the people that I interviewed this week were golden. Scanty on the details, but I interviewed a man who will be getting baptized on Saturday, he said that he and his wife have always been pretty good, problems happen but they don´t get derailed from being okay in the family situation. The night before the elders arrived at their house he and his wife were talking about their future, he asked her if she wanted to be happy with him forever, and she said yes, as well as did he. They agreed that night to start working seriously on fixing a few problems they were in. The next day, the elders knocked on their door and from that moment, the brother says he can´t stop thinking about how he had a righteous desire, and God saw that, and sent him the elders to make it a reality. It´s true, when we want to do something righteous, God will give us the way to make it a reality.
I love you all, I think of you often, I have one more year here, and I plan on wearing it all out, completely and wholly.