So this has been an interesting week but a great one at the same time. Opening an area is not the easiest thing to do, we started off the week not knowing where anything is, where anyone lives and we hardly knew the boundaries of our area. But we´ve gotten alot done this week and i feel like i know my area pretty well now so things are picking up.
We had a great week teaching people. We found this one family and had a great lesson with them which is kinda a cool story. The other week we contacted this lady walking down the street and she told us how she´d love if we could come visit her and she described where she lived. So we went there this week and found her and she was super happy to talk to us, but before we started we asked her if there was anyone else who´d like to listen and join us. She was like yeah lots live here but they all have their religions and don´t want to change or listen. But we just kept asking her if she could invite them to just listen to us for a few minutes, and after a while we got the whole family there, actually two whole families - so in total like 10 people. We started teaching them about the gospel & baptism and they accepted it really well, especially the one lady who at first refused to come talk to us. By the end of the lesson they were all really involved and interested and we asked them that if they were to find out through prayer that this church is true, if they´ll be baptized, and the majority said yes; and the lady who was really stubborn at the beginning told us how at first she didn´t want anything to do with us because she was happy in her church, but that "the spirit of the Lord has touched my heart and now i know that this is the church i need to go to. This is the church for me and my kids." So that was super spiritual and an awesome experience, because we had just read in 'Preach my Gospel' how God prepares people to hear and accept our message, but that sometimes the person who is prepared isn´t the person that you contacted, and for that reason you need to invite all present to listen. And that´s exactly what we did, and it worked like a charm. This lady and her kids came to church on Sunday too and i think they enjoyed it. It turns out one of her best friends is in our Branch congregation, so she had an instant friend in the Branch which was nice. The other people we taught there said they wanted to come to church, but that they were expecting a visitor so they couldn´t this week, but that they were going to try for the next week. We have another appointment with them this week and they all seem positive so i´m excited to see where this goes.
We found another family which is almost the opposite case. Turns out that this family a little while back was listening to the missionaries and going to church and doing everything they needed to and one even got baptized, but one of the missionaries left and the missionary who replaced him did something that offended them, and then they stopped coming to Church, and the girl who was baptized was re-baptized in the Catholic church. So now we are teaching them and trying to repair what this missionary ruined. I think if we go about it carefully, we can really help them because they admitted that they know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that they felt great when they were going to church - so now we just have to help them get that testimony back.
We´ve been teaching alot of people this last week, and the week had a lot of lessons about baptism; we put a lot of soft invitations with them, which is just where we say, "If you pray and find out that this is true, will you be baptized?" And we´ve had a lot of people say yes. Right now we have like 15 soft dates so hopefully some of them if not all of them come through. They all seem pretty positive like they could progress. Sadly in this area, like my last one, the church building is far away from our area. And it´s actually even harder to get to it here for a few reasons. One, lots of the buses don´t run Sunday morning and most people can´t afford to take a taxi, some can´t even afford to take a 30 cent bus every week. That´s part of the reason the attendance is so low here, lots of people only come like once a month because that´s all they can afford. For some people it can cost as much as 5 dollars one way- so 10 dollars to go to church and come back in bus. That is a financial strain.
Well, that´s whats new here for me. Otherwise things are going good here, my companion is really developing into a great missionary, i have high hopes for my kid in the mission, haha. So some random things: Yesterday we caught a crab walking on the ground, and we took it home because Elder Segura wanted to eat it, but during the night it escaped, too bad i kinda wanted to try it. Our house is across the street from a free basketball court and a non-free gym, so it´s fun and relaxing to go shoot some hoops sometimes after a long day.
I'm glad to hear everything is going well for you guys. I wish i could go with you guys to the Oregon coast (Yachats); I remember going to there twice as a kid, and i loved it. Ryan and I caught a lobster in my sandal there, if i remember right, so good times & memories.
Dad, 'Atuake printed off some pictures from the MTC, but he was asking me if i could give him those pictures, so i think he would really love to get a photo album of all those pictures. I´m glad the packages made it to you guys, did you get two packages and a letter or only one? Because i sent three things total. Mom, congrats on selling another painting, you keep this up you´ll be a millionaire by the time i get home. So Mike, what was this story about putting your comp in the Hospital? Haha Ryan, yeah opening an area is simply where we´re the first missionaries in that area for a while which is tough because usually when you get somewhere your comp knows it all and teaches it to you over time, but for us, it´s all exploring the new area with a lot to learn.
Well i love you guys and i´m always praying for you! Thanks for all your support and love!