So this week was Carnaval. We expected people in white and completely wet (we're not talking about baptisms here...) We had little hopes of good numbers for the week. But we put the scriptures to life! We survived just about everything!
We played Moses and parted a group of kids that yelled 'Los Mormones!' until the weasel of the group shouted 'No No! No les mojen!' Haha then we pulled the Book of Mormon in action and as my companion about wet his pants I told him, just keep walking, just keep walking, and we pulled a Samuel the Lamanite as water balloons and nasty muddy water splashed from side to side.
Monday was P Day and we were out the whole day. Tuesday was the worst of it all and we were inside until 6pm. and Wednesday it is finished. The Catholics just walk around the city with painted white crosses on their foreheads. There was a lot of hype, but we survived it all! I did get a kick out of the group we parted though haha, all ready to fire with shaking knees until the weasel panicked and they all went running. I attached a picture from our roof of the 'other side of the bridge' where everyone is drunk, covered in paint, music like crazy, and whatever other sin you want. Glad we missed that.
This week was a blast… a test of patience, a test of hope, a test of diligence, and fulfilling the promise in Ether 12:6. We finished the week with 3 baptisms!
First I'll tell you about the baptism. So we had an activity Saturday and got to cleaning and filling the font at 1 or 2. It fills up and when we return the water is dark green. Nuts. So we lower it and clean it real, real good cause it's been awhile since the last baptism there. It starts to fill up again. Upon returning, there's an inch of water. Nuts, it's 4:30pm with a baptism at 7! We run to the tank for the street, there is no water, bone dry. We have two options... the firefighters or the River. The firefighters are in Guayaquil haha (3 hours away). Option 2 - the river. We are thinking out another solution and praying (I did think it'd be awesome to have a river baptism though) and just as the clock strikes 6 water started filling the font. At 7 it was half full with brown water. Nuts. This is the only time I will be grateful for the Ecuadorians who come late to everything. We still had brown water, but the candidates showed up an hour late, we had a full font. The baptism was great and I felt the sweetest spirit in seeing their confirmation. It is so simple, we can accept or reject the Spirit so easily, but what a cool testimony of the worth of the little things.
We've had so much success here, Elder Salas and I. We have grown as friends first, then we can have success in the Spirit. If there is contention, even in the slightest degree, the Spirit cannot abide, therefore you will not succeed in anything. It is revealed in D&C the importance of the Spirit in saying that if we do not have it as missionaries... we do not teach. If we're not teaching, what do we do?! We have had 3 baptisms in this new area and should have a few others the next week or two, I'm really excited with how we've flourished out here. We flourish in the little things by Faith, Diligence, Patience. How often do we come ready and feel the spirit in the Sacrament? How many times do we go to our ward or stake baptisms? How often do we feel or seek the spirit in a blessing, in LISTENING in our prayers, in receiving an answer to a question you had in your scripture study hours later during the day? If we listen, we will find.
The Lord makes us, Satan breaks us by the little things. Do we study our scriptures... or tomorrow? Pray... or tomorrow? Follow a Prompting (or write it down)... or hope you'll remember... tomorrow? Act today, for the Lord's Kingdom is at Hand! The mission isn't about baptisms, yes that is what we do and yes that is what we want to do, but the baptisms don't mean anything if they don't stick around, if there is no testimony, if there is no love. The mission is loving, the mission is serving, this mission is lightening someone's day by living the gospel.
I want to finish this great week with something that hurt , yet changed me for good. We were eating lunch in a house the size of our living room, everyone was getting ready for church as we ate. I told the Sister 'Thank you, the food was great!' And then I was completely changed for the impact me and my companion had made by being AND EXPRESSING gratitude. She turned to us, put the spoon of rice down, and said with such a spirit of sincerity 'Was it really good? My husband never tells me that. Thank you.' Do the little things, say thanks, eat all the food on your plate, say hello, tell them it was great (even if you had to gag it down or slide it to their dogs... haha just kidding) and you can really make the world a better place by putting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action.
I love you all, I love this mission! There is no better decision in the world, no matter how tough, than serving a mission because you will learn and feel more than you could EVER do sitting at home minding your own business. Even if you live a good life. Serve a mission and the Lord will carry you. Stick around at home when you had the chance and... well, the Lord will still carry you, but oh the life you just missed.
I love the work, it is work. I love the blessings, they do come. I love the help of the Lord in making this companionship a friendship and the work a beauty and pray for you all daily!