Mom, Dad! (I've been informed that Becca is no longer reading these
emails, due to her desire for a personal email each week)
Oy! Cómo le va? Aquí, tranquilo. Everything's good, that is. We're
doing a lot of good work. I've been learning so much, I don't even
know how to explain what I've learned. Let's see what my brain can
produce right now...
So, there are lots of religions around here, and my companion really
likes to argue with them. He's really good at it, too. He's been
doing it a lot of his mission. Some really cool baptisms has happened
around here, too. Recently someone from our Zone baptized a priest
from the Catholic church, who now has a firm testimony of the Book of
Mormon. I'm not very good at arguing the Bible with people.
But, I don't need to. Because there's no point. The Bible by itself
has a million different interpretations, and I can never prove that
"mine" or "ours" is right. So I don't try. The Bible can be
spiritualized and interpreted so many different ways, that I feel like
all the logic in the world would never prove anything. That's why the
Book of Mormon is so darn important. Not only does it clarify the
majority of the weird parts of the Bible, but it provides us with the
Spirit as a testimony that Joseph Smith was called of God to be a
prophet, and if that's true, then the Church has the right answers,
and it doesn't mattter what the "world's best logic" can come up with.
Jehovah's witnesses are weird. I'm glad we have a religion that is
based, primarily, on a personal relationship with our Father in
Heaven. If we don't search the scriptures, obtain a personal
testimony through the Spirit that this Church is true, our religion
makes no sense. None of our practices make sense if the Spirit
doesn't testify that the Church is true. Read Matt 16:15-19. Slowly,
but surely, when we lose that daily witness, we lose that faith, and
we lose our testimony. I know it's happened to me many times in my
life, although it was easy to keep going to church because of the good
influences around me.
Secondly, I've learned the importance of teaching the Doctrine of
Christ-that is to say, "the only way to be saved is through Faith in
Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, The Reception of the Gift of the
Holy Ghost, and Persevering until the End." These things appear in
the Bible and the Book of Mormon is FULL of them. These are the
things Christ taught us that we have to do to receive eternal life.
And that constitutes the basis of our religion. Sometimes, we get
distracted, arguing with investigators about "Who was James?" (By the
way, did you know that there were three James's, two of them were
apostles of the Lord and the other was the brother of the Lord, and
the brother was the one that wrote the epistle of James? And the name
"Santiago" isn't used in the Reina Valera version of the Bible for the
apostles, just the name "Jacobo," so it's actually just a confusing
mess) or "Why can't women have the priesthood?" or whatever else, but
when we focus on the doctrine of Christ, people can progress in their
spiritual journey. Otherwise, we're just wasting time.
Right now, I have an investigator rubbing my head. She found us in
the internet center, and is now rubbing my head. I don't know what
I'm supposed to do about this situation. Don't worry, Courtney.
She's 14. Of course, in this country, it's normal for someone my age
to marry someone her age. Like, super normal. You guys should meet
our 90 year old friend Braulio who's married to a 44 year old. How
would you like that, Mom?
I'm learning to cook some delicious things. I made butt-kicking French
toast this morning with some Evaporated milk. I like cooking, but I
don't like cleaning dishes.
In other news, thank you so much for the Valentines Day Package! It's
so fantastic, all that delicious food :) I'm being super conservative
with my goodies, especially the raspberry sticks. Soo good frozen.
Oh, I discovered that I can make really good shakes here with
evaporated milk and fresh fruit. Speaking of Fresh Fruit, I also
discovered that the ripe, fresh pineapple I can buy off the guys in
the street is three times better than any pineapple you can find in
the U.s. It's SO sweet, and so delicious. I think I'm going to buy
one every day. And the best part? 35 cents.
She's rubbing my head again.
As far as the progression of our investigators, it's mas o menos. It
seems like the harder we work, and the more definite commitments we
GET from people to go to church, the less people come to church. This
week, Lidiana came again. Thank goodness, she'll be our only other
baptism this transfer (hopefully my companion will be able to reach
his goal of 20 baptisms), and we had an inactive 14 year old named
Yasser bring his 16 year old brother named Abraham. That was super
cool, because Yasser was REALLY strong in the church with his aunt
until something (Idk what it was) happened and his aunt told him he
couldn't come back. But, we watched the Joseph Smith movie with him
and his investigating friend, and Abraham just happened to be there,
we invited him to watch with us, and he was super interested in the
movie the whole time. Apparently he was a pretty interested
investigator too, when Yasser got baptized, but just never followed
through. So, yeah, he came to church, which is, as you can tell, a
big deal around here. And then, a member from the ward invited one of
his employees, who seemed super interested during sunday school and
stuff, so we're gonna see if we can teach him a couple times this
week. He's a cool guy. Lots of catholic influence, but what else is
And Mayteé, Anacaona, and Carlos José are still a little bit of a
mess. Anacaona has decided to get baptized once she quits smoking,
but she refuses to let us set goals or anything with her because she
says she has to do it on her own, and you know how old people are.
Won't change her mind for anything. Hopefully I'll get to see her get
baptized. Carlos José and Mayteé have trust issues with people in
general, so it's extremely difficult for them to believe in people,
further Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson. We're trying to get them
crecer su fe by reading the Book of Mormon. Mostly, we pass by for
Anacaona, though, who sometimes makes us delicious food.
Oh, and finally, we talked a lot in our zone meeting (remember, each
district has 2-4 companionships and each zone has about 4 districts)
about miracles. Why would the Book of Mormon, a book that is written
for our day, be all about fantastic miracles, if God didn't want us to
work miracles in our day? So, I'm focusing on being as exactly
obedient as I'm capable of being, never napping, being ready to leave
on time, all of that. I know if I do things right, God will help us
out here in this area.
Wow, this is His work. My faith is growing so much every day. I love
being here. Yesterday I was singing and dancing all day (mostly
internally) because I just love being here. I miss everything,
EVERYTHING about home, but it's worth the sacrifice, because there are
lots of beautiful things here, too, that I'm going to miss one day.
So, I'm enjoying. And I know I won't be here for forever, so that's
kind of nice, too.
Just so you know, the package cost me about $20 in taxes. I'm being
conservative with my money this week, but I still might have to take
out some from my account to help balance. Furthermore, I'm paying the
other half of my "forros" this week, which will be about $75.
Hopefully he'll finally be done. People in this country love to tell
you "yes," but they're not very good at following through. last
Wednesday, he told me the forros would be done that Saturday. He
called us on Saturday to ask "So, wait, what was it you wanted on your
forros?'" So, hopefully he's now started. It might take him another
week to finish. He's kind of like that.
Anyway, That's my life. I'm glad you guys keep the updates! I can't
wait til I get to practice doing IVs and stuff (I imagine that happens
in medschool, too). Take good care of Harley, I feel really bad for
him. I feel like you have to be a REALLY bad haircutter to cut skin.
But, oh well. Justin said he's gonna write me a little bit, so we'll
see how that goes. Miss you all, love you all! Take care!