Monday, July 15, 2013

La Esperanza*

*La Esperanza: Hope

First and foremost, I forgot to mention the awesome letter I got last week. I don't know if you know we are supposed to write our converts, which I do occasionally. I finally got my first letter from a convert! Remember Lidia, the miracle I found my last week in Ciudad del Este who had searched all her life for the true church? Well, she is still enjoying the fullness of the Gospel. She seems very happy, and she teaches the fourth Sunday class in Relief Society! Makes me feel SO good to hear things like that.

Around here, we are dropping investigators who don't have interest and trying to avoid the many people who say, "Yes, we'd love to listen, but we already have a church we go to and we don't want to change". Thankfully, we have found some great new investigators in Toro Blanco, a neighborhood that is fairly far from the church. The kid who was going to come with us this Sunday wasn't there, so we ended up having to run a lot to get to church on time. Elder Jessop is having some fun experiences in his first weeks! Haha, he is always pretty positive, so he doesn't mind things like that. He is like a fireball-- I just have to show him what to do and let him go. He isn't afraid of talking to anyone, and he learns very fast. 

I do have a lot of responsibilities, so I have to try very hard to be paitent when things don't always go how I want. For example, after a very tough day of looking for people to teach, we found a family we talked to a few weeks ago. Their dad is a preacher in a church founded by a very false prophet. It scares me sometimes how close Satan's imitations are to the truth, but I just have to trust that those who really want to find the Gospel will recognize the difference. I know it's not good to try to convince people with the Bible, but that is what they tried to do to us. I wanted to use my testimony to show them the truth, but I should have just left. My companion and I ended up getting very frustrated because they wouldn't let us talk with how much they were trying to preach to us. (What Grandma said about the importance of understanding the Godhead is very true). Thankfully, forgiveness exists. After a lot of prayer and meditation, I realized how we should have handled the situation. The next day when we found another family who, in spite of our attempts to explain, was sure the Book of Mormon does not talk about Christ, we just left. I am realizing that with our limited time, we can only use it on those who really want the truth.

Okay, now for those recipes I have forgotten to send you. These are the ones I have made (some several times): Pancakes, German Pancakes, Syrup (mucho), French toast (a companion showed me how to make French toast sticks--very good--I can send Daniel the recipe if he wants), tortillas (my Mexican companion helped me perfect that), Banana bread, No bake cookies, brownies, snickerdoodles, and easy cobbler (that is the PERFECT missionary dessert). The mission gave us a recipe book that had some ideas I have made: an easy apple crisp and empanadas (which my Argentine companions helped me with). Some recipes you gave me that also seem simple enough to try soon are breakfast cake, corn bread, paprika potatoes, easy fettucini alfredo, meatballs, mac&cheese, teriyaki chicken, lemon bars, and sugar cookies.

The thing with being a missionary is that we have an hour to prepare and eat the food (except P-Days), so that limits us a lot. There is a book I found here called "Missionary Meals in Minutes" that I think you used some recipes from--very good ideas there. Then there are a lot of ingredients that are expensive here (beans), that don't exist here, or that may exist but I have no idea how to look for them in Spanish. So, there are some complications, but I am very grateful for the recipes I have used. I am sure I will keep using them after the mission. Like I said, it is also fun to learn from your companions. 

I should be here for two more transfers (including this one), but with the addition of the new mission... anything could happen. I don't know how many more missionaries there are. I know that before President Agazzani the mission was baptizing 80 or 90 each month, and now we are averaging about 120. Last month was amazing, but it looks like this month will be tough--my whole district didn't even have any investigators in church yesterday (to answer your other question, there are usually about 60 members in our branch every week). But, like I said, we just have to be positive and learn from our past. Life isn't easy, so I can't expect the mission to be either. I hope my time here helps me learn to deal with adversity and stress.

I don´t know if you have been able to tell from before the mission and my letters that sometimes I let myself get really stressed. But the promise of the Atonement is that anyone can have a hope of changing to become like Christ. That's why Mosiah 3:19 and Omni 1:26 have become two of my favorite scriptures. Prayer is powerful, and I know the Lord has a plan for us. Stay within the limits he gives you, and he will always give you the blessings and challenges you need.

Love you!
-Elder Morgan

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