Monday, March 10, 2014

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - February 17, 2014

Dear Family,
That's really sad to hear about Gadget. Granted, I already said my goodbyes over a year ago, because I was pretty dang sure I'd never see him again, but still sad. 
So Monday was Elder Fewel's Birthday (who lives in our pension). We had some really yummy pancake covered oreos! I didn't know those existed, but it was a fun way to celebrate!
Pablo got baptized! I'm so happy! It was really great! There were a lot of kids playing soccer just before the baptism, and so we invited them all in to see it. It was a great experience. He was extremely prepared for it. I gave one of the talks on the Holy Ghost. I just happened to have an umbrella, a towel, and a cell phone. I gave a modified version of the talk Grandma Clark gave at my baptism. It may have been a little juvenile for a 40-year-old guy and a bunch of 15-year-olds sweating from soccer, but I still enjoyed it! Brought back great memories of my baptism.
We had our weekly Family night this week again. Lots of people showed up! It's so great that people are finally starting to come! Enduring really has its pay-offs. We also started a movie night on Friday, where they watched The Testaments. We had about the third of the attendance we usually have in sacrament meeting, so it was pretty great! Also, if you see TC Christiansen, tell him that he made a lady cry with 17 Miracles. She didn't want to watch it because she thought it looked sad and gory, but I told her it was really great. So she watched it and later came and thanked me for recommending it. She said that it totally changed her perspective on her life right now and helped her through some problems. Our talents can always help others out, even though we may never meet them!
We visited a referral that some other missionaries have been teaching for a while now that recently moved here. Her dad came at the beginning and told us in a very nice, yet somewhat condescending way, "We're all Catholics here, and there's nothing you can do to make my daughter get baptized again. You never need a second baptism." Man, am I ever grateful that Luke decided to write about Paul's experience in Acts 19 with the rebaptism. We cheerfully invited him to read in the Bible with us. And we just read. No explaining, nothing. The scriptures speak for themselves. After reading, he just kinda shut up and walked out of the room. Reading the scriptures invites the spirit, and the spirit is more powerful than anything we can do or say.
We had an awesome less active lesson! We just happened to find them in a time when the whole family was there, which is really unusal for big families of 6 almost grown-ups. We opened and read in the Book of Mormon with them. Again, scriptures have power, but that time it was different. The fact that the whole family was there was just something special. I'm glad I have experiences of reading and praying with all my family. The cool part? This last Sunday they went to church for the first time in my time in this area. And we've been visiting them since the beginning. I reiterate: complete families have power and invite the spirit.
Another less active asked us for relationship advice. He recently started coming back to church and is working on receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. We're trying very hard to teach his girlfriend, who is really cool and comes to all the activities. As missionaries, we don't give advice. But we can read scriptures! We pulled out Alma 37:37, which was just great! If we have hard decisions, just ask God!
We went to Fraile a few times this week. The branch there is kinda dead-ish. However, when we went on Sunday, there was one family that showed up apart from the President and his counselor! That was really great! Later, we committed the President to go visiting with us. That was just great! There were so many people just waiting for the invitation to come back. Plus it was very cool to see the respect they had for the President, calling him by his title and all, even though they hadn't gone to church in years. He's not the most charismatic guy I've ever met, but even so, he carries the mantle of branch president, and that was very cool to see. The power of the priesthood and its offices is something undeniable.
Anyway, we still have lots to work on. Like mom was telling me, the mission can really bring out your weaknesses and make them apparent, but even so, I always love writing you guys, because I always realize just how blessed I am and how many miracles I'm priveleged to see daily.
Love you all!

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