Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Still Alive

 October 10, 2011

Believe it or not, I am still alive.  Week 2 and going strong.  This past week we did more work and I had even more experiences.  This place is absolute crazy and I love it.

Last week we had the baptism with Oscar in the filthy water and so we continued to visit him every day just to check up.  General Conference went great...well, I think it did.  I didn't understand much, but all of the speakers sure looked great.  Sunday night we still did contacting and some teaching, but I also got to do my first anointing for a blessing in spanish for a woman named Abuela.  I just read it straight from the manual since I would have totally butchered it otherwise.  


This week we overhauled our numbers in every category.  We have doubled our number of investigators, contacts, lessons taught and baptismal dates and tripled our number of references.  I was able to extend two baptismal invitations this week which was a very cool experience.  One eagerly accepted and one was still a little hesitant.  Most people don't quite understand the significance of the baptismal invitation or just say yes to be nice so you have to make sure you don't get your hopes up too much.  All investigators have to attend church four times before being baptized, which is turning out to be a major challenge.  In total we have 8 progressing investigators and 4 baptismal dates set.  Hopefully we can make some headway with them.  It's a very slow and trying process.

This week I was also able to give my first blessing.   One of the members was sick and asked us to give him a blessing, so my companion gave me that look and I just thought well, why not.  So I gave the blessing but I'm pretty sure none of it made any sense at all.  My english ones were bad enough and now I'm using a foreign language, but I guess it's the priesthood part that really matters.  

We walk everywhere here and I don't believe anyone has a car or a bike.  I've only been in a public taxi car once and it was quite the experience.  Four people in the back and two in the front, not including the driver.  It gets very personal very fast.  There are sick dogs walking around everywhere and the roosters get obnoxious fast.  Nobody understands the principle of waiting in line so you have to be very assertive or you will be standing there for a long time.  The people here are very nice, but that can often be a problem.  They don't want to tell you no to letting you teach them so they will just say that they're busy...always.  They will listen to your lessons as if it means everything in the world to them, but when you ask them a question they cant remember a thing and they won't follow through with any commitments.  Kind of humorous actually.

We have a lot of very humble, faithful people here however who are very teachable and are eager to learn more about our church.  Bible bashing happens a lot here and it's pointless, not only because you reach a stalemate, but because their doctrine doesn't make sense at all.  They don't argue principles, they just repeat them until you go away.  For example, Jesus Christ and God are the same.  One man just would not relent on that principle even when my companion very calmy and patiently proved him absolutely wrong.  

Church is absolutely wonderful.  Everyone just sings the hymns however they want to.  I've never heard so many variations of the same hymn being sung at the same time.  It's a relatively small ward so I know almost everyone by now and everyone is always late to every meeting.  Not much different from the US in that regard.

Overall, I'm doing great and just going a day at a time.  It's amazing how much we can accomplish in just one day and how many people we can talk to.  I feel spoiled to have such a great area and a great companion.  The hardest part is really just getting people to act once we share our message with them.  Some investigators have just accepted that the Book of Mormon is true when we bear our testimonies.  That's great, but they need to have a witness of the spirit and act on their faith.  In James 2:17 we read that "faith without works is dead".  These people have faith, we just need to show them how to work.  This city is fantastic and I am doing wonderful. 


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