Hello, One. Hello, All. The rest of you, please don't read. Hehe.
Well, I am happy to announce that Marco Segundo Barría Amolef was baptised and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday the 15th of April 2012. Doesn't mean the journey's over. In fact, it has only just begun, and Marco is still going to need a lot of help from now on if he's going to have success, but we are confident that if he has that support, he will succeed. The trick now is finding the support and making sure it stays! Aka, working a lot with the branch. The good news is now that Marco has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, he will have that constant companion with him to tell him, "do this. Don't do that," and lead him in the right direction, should he choose to be worthy of and follow that council.
Working with Marco is kind of a roller coaster, and up to this point in my mission, he has been the most challenging and emotionally and pyschologically draining convert, or perhaps the only one. But it has definitely made me realize that everyone is at a different point in the eternal progression. Some have a longer way to go than others by the time they join the church, but it does not mean that God says "no thanks. Join my kingdom when you're more perfect." He doesn't make exceptions of any one of His children. If the desire is there, and they are worthy, they are welcomed into the fold.
Elder Ramirez took all the photos and I don't have his camera right now, so I'll have to send you the pics next week :( Also, sorry for writing so late today. We got back from a zone activity in Temuco entirely too late, and so we're racing to do internet right now so we can get to work!
Apart from the baptism of Marco, I would say the three biggest events of the week were the following:
One. We have a new investigator named Ana (like you Anna, but not!) who is incredibly prepared, or rather, a little bit farther along in her eternal progression. She is the younger sister of a young mother less active member of the church that we had visited a few times, and has since been attending again. She used to be Catholic, and belonged to a youth group and lots of stuff, but she told us that she found out through her own studies that the Catholic church isn't true and doesn't think her baptism means much. She also left behind a group of students which with she would have had a lot of worldly opportunities, but they were a bad influence, and she said that money is not the most important thing. She has met with various religious groups in search of the true church, and now she's meeting with us! She has a lot of questions (which we love), just like Andrea used to, but she already has a baptismal goal and we feel really confident about her. I'll keep you all updated!
Two. We had a family home evening with a certain family in the branch who is the most active but at times the most problematic. Usually when members of the church have issues, it is because they don't fully comprehend or appreciate the restoration of the Church. So we decided to base the lesson on that. We watched the movie The Restoration which was great and afterward had a little mini testimony meeting. It was the first time in my mission that I've heard the mother of the family admit (quite humbly, as well) that she has things she needs to work on and is not perfect, which was a breakthrough for us. Her son, who has his own challenges as well was in tears well before the movie was over, and had his head down wiping his eyes the entire time after it. I'm not exactly sure what touched his heart, but I'm glad it did, and I hope it continues to strengthen him as he takes on his new calling as Elders Quorum President.
Third. We meeted with Karol and Alicia yesterday and had a breakthrough with Alicia. Her project lately has been to pray more and with more sincerity. So she shared with us that this past week for her has been extremely difficult, with tons of reasons to be upset and unappreciative. But she said that for some reason, even with all the issues, she felt such a sense of peace and calm throughout the week. She even had the sudden urge to quit smoking, and since then has not smoked. She says it's strange, but wonderful, and She directly attributes it to prayer. We were able to help her see that that experience is an answer to her prayers, and a testimony that these things are true. A great lesson, and we're looking forward to more progress in the near future! We've learned that what Karol and Alicia need more than anything is time. But little by little, they're coming along.
Well, that's it for this week. I love you all very dearly and think and pray about you always. May God bless your lives, and may you all send me more pictures! (Thank you Heather. You're little lady is adorable :) As always, I leave you with my testimony that Christ lives. He loves us. And he always answers our prayers, in His way, and in His time. But He generally does it so that we learn a certain lesson. I know this church is true. I am every day grateful to be a latter-day saint, and I hope that all those who are not begin to find out why I and so many others think it's so great. Till next week!
Elder Ross Carlos Wilcox