Last week we found 24 new investigators... so this week was a lot of follow-up as we continue trying to find new investigators. We have a lot of families which is such a blessing and so much more fun to teach. Harder to schedule, but so much more rewarding while teaching. The family that Sister Jenna Smoot helped us find led us to 2 other families and they all came to church!!! night we asked a neighboring, active couple to come teach with us and they became friends with all three of the families. So , they went and picked up all the families and walked to church together. It was cool to see the conversion of the active members increase as their joy from missionary work was visibly planted on their faces! This couple, the Villarez couple is actually an inspiration. Last year, brother was not a member and addicted to several word of wisdom substances. They have 1 boy who was 8 years old but died tragically in march of this year. He was hit by a truck on the main road while walking home from school. He was getting ready for his baptism the following week. This active mother, Sister Villarez, relied fully on the Lord for comfort and this inspired Brother Villarez to fully listen to the missionaries. As a result, brother turned his life around and is now our most active and powerful recent convert in our area. The two of them are praying for another child, and in the mean time are serving the Lord and preparing to be sealed in the temple next year! They have such a powerful testimony of eternal families and living the gospel standards and are a huge help with the three families in their village. It was so cute to see how happy they were teaching their new friends about the church and sitting with them in Sacrament Meeting. These are emotions that cannot be bought or traded. This is what missionary work is all about!
We also have a good success story this week named Brother Aldin. He is 19 years old and works at a tire shop on the main road where we pass by multiple times each day. A couple of weeks ago, he approached us all smiley and bright (not to mention he is super tall, like taller than me, probably over 6 feet). We were new in the area and thought he was already a member because he has a special countenance, but he invited us to teach him the next day. We showed up and he wasn't home. We tried back multiple times, but he was never there. Finally this week, we saw him again and he said he was out of town, but back for good and asked us to teach him again. Our lessons with brother Aldin are so smooth and purely guided by the spirit to a completely prepared individual. He is so excited about the gospel and completes our sentences before we can even teach him about the restored gospel. I don't know how he knows, it's like he has a connection to his pre-earth-life self. He accepted a baptismal date for Sept. 6, 3014 and came to churchtoo.
I know missions are different all across the world with lots of different measures of success. But no matter where we are, the pure and simple happiness and peace that the spirit brings is the same. Even with the so called "Big Successes" and "High Numbers," my favorite parts of the mission are the small and simple moments during lessons when we as missionaries and the people we are teaching, connect with the spirit through the spirit of conversion. I love this work and my mission and everything I have experienced. I'm so grateful for the hard times, even though I don't want to go through them again. I know they have made me the missionary and the person that I am right now. I wrote in my journal one night that I don't want to tell anyone how hard missionary work actually is, or maybe no one will go on a mission. Haha. But the good times more than make up for the bad, even though they are more scarce and for shorter periods of time. I am just learning how to appreciate and enjoy those small moments and spending time to be grateful as we work through and learn from the bad. I love this gospel and the simple but deeply meaningful message of repentance. Renewal, refresh, refine, relearn.... improve, polish, grow. I love it. I love our Savior, and I love all of you! I hope we all have such an amazing week this week as we grow closer to our Savior each day!
Lots of Love,