Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Marvelous Week!

23 February 2015

This was a marvelous week! Our investigator was baptized yesterday and we are so content with her progress and the support from the branch. It was a baptismal service with five people. Llay Llay is exploding with converts. Our investigator was baptized from our sector. So was an eight year old we taught a handful of times. The other sector had a mother and son from Bolivia and another woman. It was a beautiful day.

We did a pre-interview with our investigator before her interview and she shared with us an experience that we were surprised she didn't tell us before. She used to have terrible migraines and was often in the emergency room a few times a week. She would drink a lot of tea so the migraine would subside but she had them constantly. When we taught the Word of Wisdom she started to obey immediately, even though she really likes tea and coffee. She had no doubts and didn't ask why. She said she was in bed for two days with a terrible migraine. And then it stopped. She hasn't had one since. I am so impressed with her obedience. Even when it was hard in the beginning and pain was worse, she persisted and it has gone away. She didn't cut back on tea slowly. She just did as she was taught. Immediately. And the blessings came. 

This week we had exchanges with Los Andes and I got to work with Hermana Castillo. We taught a man from Italy who speaks no Spanish. His wife is a Chilean who speaks Italian, visited Italy, met him, and they got married. They moved to Chile and he spends all his time in the house talking to his very smelly dog, Fortuna, while his bilingual wife works. It was a very multicultural lesson. Hermana Castillo, born in Ecuador but lived in Spain and England, Hermana VanCott, the gringa doing the best I can with the language, and the Chilean woman translating for her Italian husband. They were surprised to learn that I have only been here for eight months. The husband has been her more than a year and hasn't picked up the language. "Mama mia!" He actually said that, by the way, multiple times. I thought when people said that it was an exaggerated way to imitate Italians.

We taught them Lesson 1 and they accepted a baptismal date. The APs have asked us to focus on the vision to baptize in our exchanges, so we did. We discussed it in the morning and then tried to put it into practice during the day. We put this couple and another woman with baptismal dates. We've been putting it into practice in our own sector as well and we are seeing miracles. We set the goal during our companionship inventory after planning on P-day last week and then went out to work with the two hours we have to proselyte on Mondays. Our appointments fell though (which is always how the miracles start, interesting,) so we were looking for referrals and making contacts. Hermana Santander contacted a man who was walking out of his house. He wasn't leaving to go anywhere. He just walked out of his house to look around and he greeted Hermana Santander. He let us in right away. We had a very short lesson. He believes in God. His wife died five years ago. He has a son and a daughter who are both grown and married. We sang "Families Can Be Together Forever," said a prayer, and did a short "How to Begin Teaching," as Preach My Gospel calls it. We introduced ourselves and explained what our purpose is as missionaries. We mentioned baptism and he asked if it was a baptism like the Catholics do. I loved Hermana Santander's answer, "No it's a baptism like Jesus Christ's." He seemed satisfied. He asked if it took a few years to be baptized. No. We invited him to be baptized March 15th and he accepted. Just like that. He hadn't even been taught the Restoration. We simply explained that the authority of God, that John the Baptist held, is on the earth again and that he could know for himself. I am learning that baptism really should be my focus as a missionary.

Heavenly Father is blessing us in Llay Llay. Tuesday we taught half the lessons we usually teach in a week and we found a complete family. Hermana Santander thinks these blessings are in response to our recent focus on baptism. I think I am also changing my attitude about everything and trying to be more positive and focused. We're setting goals and we are happy with the progress we are seeing, even if we aren't perfect.

On Tuesday there was a 5.9 earthquake. We were in a lesson with an investigator and her 10 year old convert daughter. It was different from other earthquakes I have experienced here because there was no deep rumbling that built up to big shaking. It started suddenly and startled me more than previous earthquakes I have experienced. The family screamed and ran to the door frame. Hermana Santander and I just sat on the couch for a moment, feeling the earth shake while the mother yelled at us to move. She was impressed that we were so calm as we stood up and walked to the other door frame. 

A cute moment from visiting a family. We showed up to find the little boy "sweeping" the patio for his mom. He was pushing the broom in the wrong direction rather inefficiently but proudly told us that he was the fastest sweeper in the world. His act of service was so tender. As we watched him I commented to my companion that that's how Heavenly Father sees us. I am sure He watches us ride around Llay Llay on our bikes with our scriptures and our planners. We accomplish very little but we're doing what we can. Heavenly Father loves us as we are and I imagine that He smiles at us the way we do as we watch this little boy, admiring just that fact that we are giving our best effort.

Love you! 
Hermana Eva Van Cott

Getting ready for the baptism.
Our investigator and the member she asked to baptize her.
Members who live in the apartment building next to us. They are fans of the TV show Master Chef and always make us really gourmet food.
Los Andes plaza. I've missed Los Andes. It's where we went almost every week when I was in Calle Larga.
We ran into a new member we had taught in Los Andes.
P day! Pilates in Los Andes with all of the sisters (all six of us) in the stake. Class taught by a member in the Los Andes ward.
Our Pilates teacher and her husband danced a Tango for us.
Biking with Hermana Santander.

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