One of the ward members owns an ice cream machine and for p-day we decided to rent it. We played games and ate soft serve ice cream and I don`t even want to know how many calories I consumed. I stopped counting around 5 ice cream cones. I didn`t even have breakfast or lunch today. Just straight ice cream. It has been a great day. The p-day was a huge success for our zone. Chair soccer, water balloon capture the flag and ice cream. It always get a bit exasperated managing large groups of people. Sometimes I feel like I`m herding cats…you`ll tell them to do something a million times and they just don`t do it. It is making me a better leader though and also helping me have more patience. Plus, it feels good finishing knowing that the missionaries had a good time.
This week, the area president for the countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, Presidente Texieda, came to our mission and had a special training meeting with the sister training leaders, assistants and zone leaders. I really loved his remarks. The guy is a convert to the gospel when he was 18ish in Portugal. When he was baptized, the church wasn`t that strong in that part of the world and there weren`t even church buildings. He had to attend the church in the windowless basement of an apartment building. The sacrament room was always dark and super hot during summer. President Texieda said none of that mattered though because he was converted to the gospel, not to the missionaries, not to the church building, not the amount of members. Due to his conversion to the gospel, it didn`t matter to him how many people went, how big the church building was, etc. When he read the Book of Mormon, he knew it was true and couldn`t deny it. That is why he was baptized. He shared those thoughts with us because he said sometimes as missionaries we don`t believe we can be successful because of exterior motives. For example, the church is small. There aren`t that many members. The ward doesn`t do activities. The leaders don`t complete with their callings. Sometimes we put a lot of excuses on achieving success. He also testified of the power of conversion. If the investigator reads the Book of Mormon, prays, finds out it is true, nothing else should matter. I am going to try my best to be less critical this next week.
This week, we had some interesting experiences in the sector. We helped an older investigator named Alfonso with a job application for the US Embassy as a driver. The application had to be filled out in English, so we babied him through it, giving him help with the sentences he didn`t understand. I even had to call the US Embassy to find out how we had to send it and that was probably a once in a lifetime thing. After we filled in the application, we started talking about how his life was going and we ending up sharing with him about the nature of God. Alfonso knows God is out there, but he isn`t sure who he is. We shared about how God loves him and has provided a plan so he can be happy and we also watched the Mormon message, Padre Terrenal, Padre Celestial. In the end, he was in tears. I loved helping him out. We set a baptismal date with him for the 25th of February and we are going to do everything in our power to get him there.
We were found a Haitian immigrant that is named Marie. She worked in the UN (United Nations) for a long time, and speaks perfect English. We talked about her life for a few minutes, then we shared with her about the restoration of the gospel. It was kinda funny teaching in English. I think it was one of the first times in my mission that I`ve done it. We met her on Friday, and she came to church on Sunday. We gave her a Book of Mormon in French, and she said that she would read it and if it was true, she would be baptized. We are crazy excited for her.
We also had the chance to teach Tatiana this week. She is the sister of a member and is from Ecuador. She has an eight year old daughter and is living with her boyfriend with her parents. She wanted to know what happens after this life, so we prepared a really nice lesson with lots of scriptures really well planned out and as we shared it I felt the spirit so much. She was attentive during the lesson and using the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we explained what is going to happened after this life, and where we came from. The Bible and The Book of Mormon work so well together and help explain important doctrines.
I`m doing great. The week was amazing. Please shoot me emails! I love seeing pictures!