So this week went really well! The elders in our ward had a baptism on Saturday (it´s the first one i´ve been in since ours in august!) and we found 7 new investigators this week!
Let´s start from the beginning of the week. We´ve been going through former investigators in our area book recently and on Tuesday we rang an apartment looking for a family. Someone answered from the call box yelling basically so I thought it was an older woman, someone else was entering the building at the same time so we just told them we would come up. When we get to the door a young 21 year old girl named Melody answers and tells us that her sister (who apparently got baptized like 9 years ago) had moved and that they weren't interested because she didn´t believe in God. She was standing there smoking with her two toddler aged daughters and a tiny little kitten. We got to talking to her and she kept telling us that with all the bad things in the world there is no way there is a God.
After talking to us for quite a while in the doorway she invited us in and we soon met her mother Adela. Adela was more open and still had some faith she said. We tried to get all the information out, why they didn´t get baptized like her other daughter and why they stopped investigating the church. They remembered basically everything even though it had been almost 10 years. The names of the sister missionaries, the bishop, the chapel, making brownies. But to set the scene a little bit you have to know that they are the type of Spanish family that yells instead of talks and everyone talks at the same time (all the while smoking). I think they very well might be gypsies. Anyway, we then met the father, Eugenio, a blind man who started to talk to me in depth about the Book of Mormon. (I´m guessing he must of read it in braille back in the day...) He remembered names like Zarahemla, Mosiah, and stories like the iron rod and the 10 tribes. He knew A TON and I was sitting there with my mouth open and trying not to laugh at the weird situation we were in. The mom and other daughter couldn´t even read and here this man was talking to me about Abraham and Isaac and how tragic the Book of Mormon was (although he made sure I knew that he liked Evangelicals better than Mormons and thought our prophet was rich).
It was a struggle to get them to stop yelling enough to share a message and say a prayer. We kept getting millions of interruptions and I was floored by what was going on. You´d have to be there to truly understand but it was the craziest experience teaching I´ve had so far. Eventually the youngest daughter (20) got there and she could read so she read the scripture for us on faith. We set up an appointment to teach for yesterday but were sleeping when we got there, but we are apparently making brownies with them on Tuesday...we´ll see what happens haha. What impressed me was (and with a another appt we had with an old investigator this week) that even though the people never got baptized they still remembered the peace and happiness they felt in the church and with the missionaries and that is why they gave it a second chance.
We also were out with our ward mission leader yesterday since he came with us to the appt that fell through and we were let into a house of these older Spanish women (a mother and a daughter). A bit crazy as well and wouldn´t let us say ANYTHING about the Book of Mormon, but instead talked about how they could speak in tongues (evangelists) and knew that God would save them. Towards the end they broke out into one of their songs about killing Satan. I laughed a lottt yesterday, crazy people make our work interesting.
We had a special training with Pres Deere on Thursday and the Cartagena stake president spoke as well. I love that man! He always gives the best talks. It was about making people understand that they need the gospel, our message. Because when they don´t understand that they aren´t going to want what we are selling. We have to make it irresistible (i can´t remember is that´s how you spell that word...i´ve corrected it like 4 times...Spanish is messing with my brain) to them so that they ask us what they need to do and how they can repent.
We talked to Carmen (the investigator who had a baptismal date for the 1st) and taught the law of chastity. Like I said last week she isn´t sure if she will continue with the father of her son and get married or if they will separate. She said she would think and pray about the decision, so we will just be waiting for a little while. But she did come to church on Sunday and she has been reading :)
One of the YSA girls invited her friend Jenifer and Jenifer´s mother, Maribel, to the baptism on Saturday. They are both from Bolivia and really nice. We taught them after the service and set a tentative date for March 1st to be baptized when they know what we are teaching is true. It was a good lesson and we will be teaching them again this weekend!
This week we have had a lot more success than normal and have been blessed a lot, not because we were better missionaries and not because we were more obedient. It is curious that even being incredibly imperfect the Lord continues to bless us (or let others be blessed through us). It´s humbling and puzzling, but we can´t understand God´s plan and will as frustrating as that can be sometimes. Anyway, this is a long email, but it´s been a long week. Missions are hard, they try your faith A LOT and I´m trying to not let it affect me, because as Pres Uchtdorf said we need to doubt our doubts and not our faith. Have a good week everyone, love you all!
1. Jenifer and Maribel, the two investigators we taught after the baptism (with Elders Peters and Bakers, they wanted to be in on the lesson for some reason...)
2. Marilyn, also from Bolivia. She is a recent convert and will be moving in a few weeks back to her country so she invited us to a BBQ on a rooftop with all her family (none of whom are members, she´s the best!)
3. Janet, she is Marilyn´s cousin. She has come to church a couple of times and the elders gave her a blessing and when we taught her after the BBQ she started crying, telling us that since she was given the BOM and a blessing she has felt alleviated and like a weight has been lifted of her, that her pain is going away! She’s great but also not married!