Next week I will try to send photos of our house. If all goes well, I might be sending photos of our new house, too. For now, just know that things are going quite well. Andrés has a lot of faith, and has prayerfully decided to be baptized this Saturday. He had to quit drinking (which he did weekly but not extremely), he has to work almost 24 hours a day to fulfill a commitment he wants to get done so he won´t have to work on Sundays, and he has some other family issues he committed to resolve to he can feel fully repented. He´s a man who knows he has found the truth. He came to church on his own and helped us set up chairs. His wife, Antonia, did not come to church, so she´ll need another week or so. She´s a little tougher, but like most of the people here, her Catholic traditions are more traditions than beliefs, so it´s not too hard to help her change her mind on certain things (we hope).
Another surprise at church was that Hugo showed up! We continue visiting a lot of converts and less-actives, so it´s good that something is turning out well. Sonia smoked last week, so we postponed the baptism. She couldn´t come to church because her family came to visit for her birthday, but she still wants to quit smoking and be ready to be baptized this Saturday. We talked about not playing the game of smoking until the absolute last day (one week before the baptism), explaining that true repentance is a change of heart which she should make as soon as possible.
Debora is also progressing. Her less-active in-laws are not, but she said that she will come to church next week even if they don´t! She really, really wants to get married and baptized. It´s always nice to teach people like that, who just understand the truth and do what they can to live it.
One day, while waiting for a member to accompany us, we asked his sister Mercedes (our last baptism), to take us to the house of some kids she brought to the English classes the ward is doing on Thursdays. Their names are Marcelo (13) and Deisy (9), and they have a sister named Natasha (15). They were all very smart, and her mom asks great questions. She is Baptist, and she can´t understand why every church wants her to get baptized again. During the lesson I had a really spiritual experience. I really wanted to help this family, and I remembered the talk we read this week in the Zone Training, "Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary" by Elder Bednar. He talks about letting our will become the Lord´s will so we can be his representatives. In the middle of the lesson, when she was asking us all those questions, I didn´t want to lose them, so I prayed silently for what Elder Bednar mentioned, letting my words become his words. The lesson turned out well, and they understand the importance of praying to know the truth. If we can keep teaching them, then we have a great family to baptize in May.
I don´t like to take time in the fast and testimony meeting, but I felt like I needed to say something. Few of the members take the initiative to talk to the new faces at church, and most of them just call us Elder instead of learning our names. It´s understandable, but it needs to change, like Elder Gifford Nielsen said in the October General Conference. So I talked about that, along with my testimony of the Savior´s love for us and importance of this work. It´s a small thing that could make a big difference.
We keep working hard, all day every day, even though not everything goes how we plan. There are lots of people who want to preach to us instead of listen, and it´s easy to get frustrated. But I feel like most everyone in the family is going through some challenges, and I just want encourage everyone to stay strong. This conference, more than ever, I felt like the second coming is getting closer. We don´t know when it will happen, nor do we need to. But we know that we need to prepare. The only way we can develop the faith necessary to overcome the trials ahead is by experiencing challenges now. I love the scripture in Matthew 10:29-31 that says that even a sparrow can´t fall without the Lord knowing. He understands every temptation, sorrow, or frustration we experience. Many of those were given to us directly from him because he knows the eternal potential we have. Even so, he has promised us so many times that he will never let us face those trials alone. He has also promised us that in the end, we will be grateful for the difficulties we faced in this life. It is hard to have that perspective now, but we can always pray for it. It´s like you said Mom, the Lord can help us be grateful and patient. I testify of his love for us, and I will keep you all in my prayers.
Elder Morgan the Older