29 September 2015
We got to go to the temple this morning! What a privilege. President Videla is changing things but during the time that we couldn't attend the temple I really learned to be grateful that I have always lived near many temples and had ample opportunities to attend before my mission.
I didn't realize what a big deal the earthquake was until everyone wrote me about the magnitude. We don't watch news so for me it ended after three minutes and the world kept going in my sector as normal.
We were able to teach a man we have been teaching and his wife this week! We showed up to teach him and she came in and sat down without saying anything. It surprised us because she hadn't had any interest before. We taught the Plan of Salvation. At the end we invited them to pray and talked a little bit about the Holy Ghost and what their answer would feel like. The wife started describing feelings of happiness and we said, "Yes, that's it! When have you felt that?" She told us that in the last lesson she had been in the other room ignoring us and not willing to participate but that she heard us sing one of the hymns (it was the first time we had sung in their house, for some reason) and she said she just felt happy all day afterwards. She also says that she wants her husband to believe in God. So we have another complete family to work on. We still haven't been able to teach their daughter but hopefully she will be there for the appointment we have with them today. They are a really good family. I don't know how to describe them. They're just good people.
We did three exchanges back to back this week and the second exchange I left the sector and Hermana Souza stayed. Three days without us together and without the same person in the sector to coordinate what is happening was kind of tricky. We did our daily planning over the phone. It also included waking up early to travel, usually with wet hair, and both of us got colds by Saturday, Hermana Souza worse than I did. And we both had to speak in church on Sunday. In a moment of stress and talk preparation on Sunday night, Hermana Souza said she was going to look for hymn lyrics to mention in her talk. Before we knew it we had a Spanish Primary Children's Songbook on the table between us and we were singing Primary songs and telling stories about our experiences in primary when we were little, all while singing in English and Spanish and Portuguese. If I had heard at ten years old that the Primary songs would be a source of stress relief in one more decade I don't think I would have believed it.
We've stopped visiting a couple we were teaching. Although they really like the visits they just don't DO anything. Preach My Gospel Chapter 11. Commitments. They don't keep the commitments to read or go to church and sometimes they don't even keep appointments. One of the hardest parts of the mission is letting people go because I don't want to give up on them, but we have to use our time wisely and help those who are prepared to progress and pray that this good family will be more prepared down the road. We leave information about all of these investigators in the Area Book and I sincerely hope that future missionaries will return to visit them and find them ready to accept the gospel more completely.
Another couple are progressing more than I even thought they would, although they haven't been to church. They were a family that Hermana Fullmer and Hermana Souza found together in an exchange and we are now teaching their whole family, even their teenager who said he was atheist and wasn't interested. We showed the Mormon Message about earthly fathers and Heavenly Fathers when we taught the mother and her two sons and they all started crying and apologizing to each other and the teenager expressed gratitude for his parents. Then yesterday we taught them with the father, as well. The youngest boy has been reading the Book of Mormon the most. We left the first two chapters of 1 Nephi and he said he read it four times! The mother also read and marked parts she liked. We explained the story a little and the reactions of Nephi versus his brothers and the father really liked it. I've heard the scripture stories since I was little but it's completely different and interesting to be able to tell them to someone for the first time.
We're teaching a lot of families with parents who have problems with their youth. I feel like I still am one of those youth sometimes and I wonder why these adult people are telling me about their problems and crying in front of me because their teenagers are a little rebellious. I still think I am a teenager and I am definitely not a family counselor, but I am a missionary and the gospel blesses families. We're inviting them all to General Conference and promising that they will receive revelation for their families as they listen attentively to the prophets and apostles of our generation.
I love being a missionary. I'm starting to feel like one of the cheesy missionaries who sing primary songs but it's true. The gospel makes us happy.
Thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me these things and for putting up with my meltdowns. I love you so much!
Hermana Eva VanCott
Visiting last week in Llay Llay