I´ll start this week answering the questions that you asked. First being: I will watch conference in the stake center in San Felipe, two zones of missionaries getting together to watch all four sessions in Spanish. We will likely bring Reina and Gustavo with us to watch the Saturday evening session after eating lunch with them in between sessions. They are actually more active than a few of the members!
My companion right now is just Elder Oliva. That happened a couple of weeks ago, and we have been putting a great effort into growing the area since then. The elders before us weren’t putting a full effort into achieving the area´s potential and so we are talking with absolutely everyone, working with members and really injecting some excitement into the ward.
Gustavo and Reyna have a few more obstacles to get over before the marriage, but we are hoping for the end of Abril they will have all of their papers in order to get married. They are working hard to do everything to get the money together right now. For example, they did a pollada this weekend and will do one more in Abril to fundraise. The other awesome thing about them is that they have opened up their house to host seminary during the week. The seminary program here is Monday to Friday at either 6 AM or 6 PM in two or three locations throughout the ward boundaries. The classes are around 8 students in each one, in which 6 go regularly. It´s great to see so much dedication to seminaries, getting up at 5 or 5:30 in order to get there on time.
Kolby doesn´t want to kill me right? haha that was the first thing I thought reading about Joseph in your letter. It´s true that we pass through a foreign land experience, but to be honest you get really used to everything within a couple of months. The only thing that I still have trouble with is the sheer amount of rice that they give me. The language and the customs and the people are all a sort of part of me now and nothing really shocks me except for being rejecting cold at a door. That still makes me sad.
We are teaching a man right now who got married to let his wife get baptized about 15 years ago. He has been going to church for three months now. His sons have all gone on missions and returned. He stopped drinking little by little but since two months ago he is dry as the sahara. He literally has no obstacles to getting baptized. We went to his house and asked him to be baptized so that he and his wife can be sealed in a year. He told us not until September. Investigating a little more, that’s when his son will come in a temple caravan to Lima and when his son will baptize him. We asked him if his son could come whenever and he said of course. We asked him what would happen if Christ came next month, and promised him greater blessings for being obedient to this commandment. At the end of everything he told us not until September again, but firmly. He knows exactly what is righteousness and won´t participate in it. I told him from my heart that I honestly fear for him. I didn´t think I would say something so direct and cutting, but I said it tenderly, hoping it would reach him. At the end he still said no.
It´s experiences like that when I feel powerless. We can teach the people a million ways why they need the gospel, but if they won’t use their agency to "work righteousness" we can´t take their agency away. I felt sad, a little, but not really more like a lot worried for this man. I don´t want anything to happen, but I have this prescience that says he won´t get baptized in September :/
I don´t want to finish on that note so I will tell you all how incredible conference is. It´s an opportunity to receive revelation from apostles and prophets in our days. They are literally witnesses of God, I think people discount that too much. They are witnesses of Christ and the atonement. Take this week to prepare yourselves, and don´t let anything, I mean ANYthing get in the way of seeing all of the sessions that pertain to you.
I love you all so much and hope that you receive the blessings you earn through obedience to the counsels we will receive this weekend!