Hello to all! To start, oh how I just love this mission. The blessings of the Lord come in so many ways, all WE have to do is open our eyes optimistically to every opportunity in our path.
We had 4 baptisms this week and 10-12 in a cool activity this Saturday! It was 'Dìa como misionero' filled with classes, practices, a few hours of proselyting, and ended with a Noche Blanca with all the baptisms from our Zone.
What a fun day! My first baptism that I performed was such a blast, for this little boy of 11 yrs, Luis Miguel Alban Choez. I about laughed my head off as his legs kicked out from under him in the baptism and I literally lifted his frame up out of the water as he was clinging for his life to my arms! I about cried in his testimony of the love he has for Elders Añorga y 'Miguel' (haha he thinks my last name is the same as his name). THAT is missionary work, that even though you can't see through the dust and the drizzle, the Lord will surprise you with bounteous blessings if you simply keep pushing!
That is 7 baptisms for me in my first month and a half-ish in the field. That is not me, the people are ready, I just need to prepare myself to receive them. The tough thing here in Ecuador is staying active. Many people are receptive to 'las palabras de Dios,' receive baptism, but then get carried away by the little temptations. We are working real hard to make sure every one of our converts is a member for life, founded in the testimony of Christ.
Also, what an absolute joy in one teaching appointment we had. This family (Digna, Victor, and their 2 girls) are not progressing and we were about to drop them. We got to their house and Digna and the girls were there, so we sent the girls away to draw haha, serious time. We got talking and I asked her why she thought I was here. She responded 'to receive blessings.' In that moment, I was able to boldly and lovingly tell her, 'No Hna Digna. No estoy aquì para recibir bendiciones. Estoy aquì para traerlas a las familias.' We then caught her in a trap haha. We asked her if she thought God wanted the best for her, then if she thought He would answer her prayers. GOTCHA! We promised that God does want the best for her, it is in this Book, and He will answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams if you come to him! The spirit was overbearing and we had here pray in THAT moment if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She did and the spirit was absolutely amazing! They are now progressing, hopefully with a baptismal date here soon, but what a miracle of the Spirit and BEING READY TO SAY WHAT YOU ARE PROMPTED TO SAY OR DO WHAT YOU ARE PROMPTED TO DO BOLDY and WITH LOVE!
Also, to finish my amazing week. Dad, you are right. There are frustrations with commitments, with companions, many things, but feeling the Spirit testify through you is the best thing in the world. We met with a grandma, real strong Catholic, whose grandson we baptized a while back. She laid on us all her problems with health, with concerns, with worries of no hope in this life. She wants a change, either to end her life or to end this sickness she has. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and we got talking about the temple and life eternal. She wants to enter the temple, she even said the Book of Mormon was true! But still we flirted around and were scared to do anything. THe spirit finally gave me a kick to the face and I popped the question of baptism. I promised her that the change in her life would come through baptism, by making covenants with the Lord, and then keeping them until we all receive life eternal. She accepted! What a change in this hard catholic, what a change by simply listening to the Spirit, acting in the Spirit, and letting the Spirit work wonders.
I love the work, everyday I get to smile at someone and tell them how great their life can be. Every day I get to be a light, be an example, lift a hand, tell someone of God's love and prepared blessings. This work is a work of miracles, it is marvelous, it is a wonder.
I love you all with all my heart, I am working so hard wishing I could be even more than I am now! The Lord is making changes in me and he will make every change in you if you will only keep his commandments, pray for the help, listen for the spirit, and ACT. It is easy, it is a promise from Elder McGinn - a representative of Jesus Christ. I sure love you, keep working, keep living, and keep recognizing the Lord's hand in every aspect! Till next week!