Monday, August 11, 2014

Greetings from Calle Larga!

11 August 2014
Greetings from Calle Larga! I'm still here! I was praying to stay one more transfer and once in a while Heavenly Father and President Videla give me exactly what I want. I am so relieved that I get to stay. I love Calle Larga. Hermana Dodds is still my companion. It is her last transfer before she goes home so I get the privilege of killing her off.
The other sisters in our ward are both leaving. I included a picture with them. I'm so surprised that I am staying. I am the only sister in my group that arrived last transfer that is keeping the same companion. And since last transfer was 8 weeks instead of 6 (due to the new president's arrival) I will be the companion Hermana Dodds has had for the most time.

¡Feliz Dia de los Ninos! Yesterday was children's day. It was a great day to contact families in the street and strike up conversations. It's like Fathers' Day or Mothers' Day. They give their children presents. I always knew we were missing that in the United States.
Mauricio has not been baptized yet but is still progressing. We had a lesson a week or two ago that I can't explain. It was such an unusual but very spiritual experience. We came to teach Mauricio and Ariel, as usual, but this time Ariel's wife was there. At first she was very cordial and happy to meet us. I could fill a whole letter talking about this lesson and still not be able to describe it. She attacked us. Her entire demeanor changed. This woman's face was contorted as she "warned" us about Satan. She talked about Satan a lot and said he would try to confuse us. She talked about Satan's counterfeits and twisted a lot of true things herself. Neither of us argued with her. I testified that the only thing Satan can't counterfeit is peace. She interrupted to prove my point. Hermana Dodds bore a powerful testimony. I think I am going to send a letter snail mail about this because I could, and will, write pages about it. Basically, at first I was worried about Mauricio listening to her but I shouldn't have worried. I believe D&C 3 where it says that no one can frustrate the work of God. I know Mauricio felt the contrast in that conversation because I felt the Spirit like I never have before. I know that was necessary for him to learn to recognize the Spirit. We never fought with her. She hugged us as we left, like Chileans always do. There was no anger present but there was definitely a spirit within her that could not stand our presence.
The situation with Mauricio's girlfriend is hard. They aren't living together at the moment but we know she is coming back sometime, so he needs to decide what he wants to do before he is baptized. It got more complicated when we learned that Ariel is actually this girlfriend's father! That means the woman we met is her mother! I'm still not worried. We have a lot of hope for Mauricio. He is still coming to church and even brought his son yesterday. He, his son, and Ariel all came to the stake talent show on Friday, as well. Attached is a picture of Hermana Dodds and I in the talent show. We were embarrassed to play but we had to do something. 
Have I written about Segundo yet? If not, the background is that he has wanted to quit smoking from the first lesson and we are working with him on that. It was a goal he already had, not even something we brought up. He loves the Book of Mormon and has already read almost as much of it as I have in my first transfer. He pushed through the Isaiah chapters and is finishing Second Nephi. I'm just starting Jacob. He has prayed about the Book of Mormon and felt "paz y animo." He says it gives him energy. He always understands more than we even expect him to as a new investigator. I had an intercambio with Hermana Garcia on Saturday (a sister in our ward from California, she's next to me in the picture). We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and focused on how coming to church will help him progress, learn more, and achieve his goals. We talked a lot about agency, his addiction, and I testified that if he came to church he would have the right to God's help. Even though he worked Saturday night until 3:00 am, he came with us to church. Not only did he come, but he told us he loved it! The members were so warm and so many made an effort to introduce themselves and get to know him. I am grateful for their efforts to reach out to him and help him feel like he belongs there because I am more confident that he will continue to attend and progress. The members are starting to get more excited about missionary work and quite a few offered to help us this week and asked when they could come with us to visit Segundo.
Funny note: The first time we visited Segundo, we didn't even teach a lesson. We just talked about happiness because he wasn't really happy. We asked him what he thought he needed to be happy and he said, "I'm missing a woman." He and his wife are separated. Hermana Dodds joked that he would find someone if he came to church. Guess what the lesson was about in the third hour? Eternal marriage! He loved it.
I'm happy to be staying in my sector with Hermana Dodds so I can continue to work with the astonishing people here.
Hermana Eva VanCott

The hermanas in my ward
with Hermana Lima

my district

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