|My companion - Hermana Gutierrez (goo-tea-airrrr-ez) from Chile.|
Ana is great!! She's golden!! Her friend has been busy with work so we haven't gotten to meet with him again, but Ana is amazing. Our second lesson we took her to the chapel, and gave her a tour. We taught about the name of the church by that big sign in the front, then the sacrament by the sacrament table, then keeping the sabbath day holy in the chapel, then we tried to go to the baptismal font but our keys wouldn't work, so we went back to the chapel, and here we taught about the Holy Ghost and invited her to be baptized on the 23 of Feb. We had prayed earlier in the day and Hermana Gutierrez and I both felt that was the day for Ana. When we asked her, so got a little apprehensive. We could tell she wanted to, but she's a smoker and does a pack a day. She didn't think she'd be able to quit by then. We promised her that God loved her and would help and she agreed, then we all knelt in the chapel and she offered a prayer. It was an amazing experience. The spirit was so strong as she pleaded with the Lord for help with her addiction. We were all in tears by the end, and we gave her a huge hug. In the last 5 days, she's only smoked once!! She's amazing. After we taught her about the restoration, we asked her if she would pray, and she said she wouldn't, but didn't need to because 'Yo tengo no dudas' - 'I have no doubts'. She's amazing. On the way to the church she told me that she'd read all of 1st Nefi in the 2 days since we'd met with her, and she'd marked it up too!! She attended church with us for the first time on Sunday. It was testimony meeting so it was just a bunch of testimonies, and she cried through several of them. I love her!!
Church!! Church was fun. When it started, there was maybe 10 people, but by the sacrament everyone else had slowly filtered in. They didn't have anyone who could play the piano, so the chorister sang the first line and then we all sang!! She started us off about 10 octaves too low, and everyone is tone deaf, and half the people are relatively recent converts and don't know the songs... basically it was the most horrible thing I'd ever heard, but also was beautiful because they sang their praise at the top of their lungs!! It was marvellous. Then the chorister forgot the last verse and was halfway down the stairs when she realized we were still singing lol. I loved the testimonies. There was a flood of about 10 kids who all got up and said exactly the same thing, and then a whole bunch of other really good testimonies. There was never a pause until we had 5 min left, then no one got up, and I decided it was my turn. So I bore my testimony! Afterwards people said my Spanish was really good, but testimonies are actually really easy lol.
Now for some interesting encounters!! We were walking down the street, and this guy came up and practically took the pamphlet of the restoration from my hand. He told us he'd lost everything, and needed help and knew we were 'mujers de Dios' -women of God. So we started teaching him! And he committed to baptism right there on the street! But we think he was drunk... he didn't have a phone, and wouldn't tell us his house, so we gave him our number and agreed to meet him at the church the next day... but he didn't show. Sad, but he has our number! Another time we were waiting to cross the street (that takes forever here because cars don't stop) and a kid came up to us asking for 10 pesos. I thought he was handicapped, but then he started snorting some drugs while talking to us! But we had already started contacting him, and then when we crossed the street he followed us, and walked a block with us to our next appointment!! It was a little scary... but he was too high to do anything. We gave him a pamphlet about the Word of Wisdom. Another time, we were walking down one of the tiny alleys at night, and this drunk guy tried to touch my hair as he whispered 'bonita...' but we just quickened our pace and all was well!! And there is this one corner where a couple guys are always drinking, and when we walk past they call out that they want to hear the word!! We gave them a pamphlet but... yeah.
We've had trouble with appointments. Our area is pretty small, and none of our contacts are interested, and we've already visited practically all the members in our area a billion times, and knocked the doors of most of the less actives... the mission standard of excellence is 55 appointments a week, and we're around 30 each time. But we're working hard and keep contacting and asking everyone for references!! But it's hard because my comps health hasn't been great. We go to the doctor in the morning. She has problems with her spine and a constant headache. But she is amazing as she keeps working hard everyday!!
The Panhandlers here are crazy!! They're everywhere, people selling everything imaginable. There is a street market in our area that sells everything from fruit to movies to underwear ... we were surprised when the owner of that stand called us over and turned out to be a member!! She gave us each an orange :) And we were in a taxi parked at one intersection when a guy who had painted himself silver set up a step ladder, climbed to the top and started juggling flaming torches!! It's amazing!!
I love it here. It's crazy, but there is nowhere I'd rather be. It's really hard work, but I know it's worth it!! We're exhausted by the end of every day.
Love you all. Be good, say your prayers, and I'll talk to you Monday!
PS - Pictures take forever to load, so I'm just going to send as many as I have time to.
|Our main room. My bed is the red one and the tables|
are where we do our studying.
|Bathroom - our shower is actually really nice and has|
about 10 minutes of hot water.
|The view out our kitchen window.|
|Me on our roof!|
|Pres. Morales gave us all a bag. I love it!|
It fits everything perfectly and is really comfy!
|Our sketchy stairs down!|
|Our courtyard. Every house has a gate in front of it.|