Where to start? First, let me tell you about the area. We haven´t heard anything from the mission president about what to do, so we are just keeping the division we decided on, which means Elder Ludwig and I have the villa. The other two elders in the apartment are Elder Clarke (from Utah) who has six months in Argentina and Elder Amasio (he is Tongan and grew up in Anahiem) who has eight months in Argentina. So there are four yankees serving in the ward. It´s been kind of bad for my spanish because we speak english in the apartment instead of last transfer where we had to speak spanish for the latinos. But my spanish in still progressing and I can understand more every day.
On Tuesday we had a conference with Elder Arnold, a member of the Seventy. It was pretty awesome. He talked a lot about being a consecrated missionary and focusing all our efforts on the work (very similar to what Elder Ringwood told my district in the MTC). He also had a list of things we were going to do differently to be more effective and use our time better, like changing when district meetings are, always praying on knees at the end of lessons, not spending as long with members at lunch, etc. But the real miracle happened after the conference when Elder Arnold gave everyone a hug as we left. I was near the back of the line and when it got to my turn Elder Arnold asked how I was then asked me and my companion to wait a minute. After he finished hugging people he took us into a room and talked to us as a companionship then afterwards he had Elder Ludwig step out and talked to me personally. He pretty much just said that he could tell I was having a hard time and to not be too hard on myself. Sometimes things don´t work out as we want them to and we just have to accept it and not let it get us down. It was definitely something I needed to hear at that moment. I´ve talked to apostles and seventies before but I´ve never had one single me out of a group of over a hundred and talk to me one on one for a few minutes. I could tell he knew what I was feeling and what I needed to hear. It was awesome.
The other miracle of the week happened throughout a period of a few days. On monday we were with a family who wanted us to buy lemons for them. So we went to the store they told us but no one was there (the store is in a home and you just buy through a window). So we went to another fruit stand where the ladies selling the fruit talked to us about the church. One gave us her address. On Wensday we went to go find the house she told us. On the way we got stopped by some people selling mirrors who talked to us about the gospel (that was a fun experience by itself, one of the guys had me pray for him to be able to sell his mirrors; so I stood there in the middle of the villa and said a prayer). When we got to the manzana (I think I would call it an alleyway in english; and yes that is also the word for apple) where the lady said she lived it was obvious the house number didn´t really exist. But as we walked down the alley a guy said ¨hi elders¨ to us. We stopped and talked to him. He is the son of a member and has talked with missionaries a lot, but we have no record of it in our area book. In the beginning as we talked to him he said that he had never been ´convinced´ by the other missionaries. We didn´t teach anything, just asked questions, and all of a sudden he said, ¨tomorrow we will go take out a turn to get married.¨ We have no idea what changed his mind, but he and his wife are going to get married and baptized in a month. There is no way we would have been in that manzana if the fruit lady hadn´t lied to us about her address, or if anyone had been in the first fruit store, and we would have been there too early to talk to him if the mirrors guys hadn´t stopped us. But God knows all things and set up the situation perfectly so that we could be in the right place at the right time.
Both of those experiences were awesome and I know they were both miracles from God. I´ve been kind of sad because there are so many great people who I want to help change their lives, but they just won´t accept what we have to offer, or won´t put in the effort to read the scriptures and pray and go to church. I´ve come to really love some of the people we are teaching, and it is hard to see them deny the comfort the gospel can bring them. But I think that is what Elder Arnold was trying to tell me, I just got to do my best and accept that I can´t force people to come unto Christ; just work hard and put the rest in God´s hands. And He will provide, like He did with the guy we found this week.
Well that is all for this week. Have a great week everyone!
os quiero, (haha, got to love vosotros)
¨As I started down the street last Sunday feeling sort of down and kind of blue. Suddenly a voice said go forth stranger spread the picture on a wider screen. And the voice said neighbor there´s a million reasons why you should be glad in all four seasons. Hit the road neighbor leave your worry and strive. Spread the religion of the rythm of life.¨