Monday, November 12, 2012

Conference in Resistencia

Querido familia,

This week we had a conference in Resistencia with President Heyman and an Elder from one of the Quorums of the Seventy, Elder Viñas. In order to get everyone there on time, we had the two elders from Vera, an area about an hour away, came to our apartment the night before so they could leave with us in the morning, so we had six people in our apartment that night. The church sent us a travel bus big enough for twelve, so our three hour ride from Reconquista to Resistencia wasn't uncomfortable. President Heyman spoke to us first about the relationship between faith, hope, and charity and after he spoke, Elder Viñas spoke to us about how the Atonement can strengthen us as missionaries and the importance of repentance. All of it was in Spanish, but it was easy to understand President Heyman; however, Elder Viñas was a bit more difficult because he has lived all over the Spanish world and his accent is more of a Spanish from Spain than anything else, but it was all good all the same.

After the conference, Elder Garcia and I had to go to Vera with Elder King and Elder Mojica, The two Elders from Vera, in order to do some baptismal interviews with the people they were teaching. So once the bus dropped us off at our apartment in Reconquista, Elder Garcia, King, Mojica, and I all went to the bus terminal while Elder Sharapata and Elder Clark went to work. During our bus ride this lady was walking down the aisle, handing out fliers that said, "I am deaf and can not speak or hear. Please buy this card so everyone can learn sign language." (It had the universal symbols for the alphabet on the back). I only had a one hundred peso bill with me, but Elder Garcia had a two peso he could give her.

A little bit later on this bus ride, about thirty minutes in, Elder Mojica and Elder King started looking for their keys that couldn't seem to be found. After a length of time, they finally came to the conclusion that they had left them in our apartment in Reconquista. So this left us with a couple of options. They could either come back to Reconquista with us and then leave in the morning, with their keys, or we needed to find someone that would drive for two hours to bring the keys to them. Luckily, Elder Garcia knew just such a member in his branch, so he gave him a call and explained what was happening. The member who he called agreed to bring the keys with him.

So after all our interviews were done, all we had left to do was wait for this member, accompanied by Elder Clark and Sharapata, to arrive with the keys so Elder King and Mojica could get into their apartment. So while we were waiting, we went to get hamburgers at a place close to our apartment and then bought a pizza for the member to compensate him for his troubles. Once they came with the keys, Elder Garcia and I got in the car with them and we all rode back to Reconquista, not getting back to the apartment until eleven-thirty (needless to say, we decided to do our daily planning in the morning).

There is a family that got baptized not too long ago, but long enough that only one member of the family is still active. In this family, there are two brothers who, for some reason, never got baptized (and never really listened to the previous Elders either). So we decided that it was time for them to get baptized, so we went to visit them and see if we could teach them. We didn't get to have a lesson, but we did have a good discussion with them and we were able to build a relationship with them. During that visit, Sister Montenegro, the mom, invited us over for lunch, but also asked us to bring the food. So we came with stuff to make pizzas and churro and everyone had a good time. After lunch, we sat down with them and decided to talk about faith and charity. After the discussion, we invited Mario, the oldest brother at twenty-two years, and Omar, the middle child with sixteen years, to be baptized in December. Mario said he would read and pray, but Omar doesn't seem to sure, but he also didn't say no. We're thinking that once he sees Mario's progress and example that he will follow too.

We went to visit a member in the branch just to see how they were doing the other day. While we were there, Sister Tortarola, the mother, said that one of her sons friends was there with them and he was interested in the church. She said that he discovered the church because of a DVD that we had left with them family about Joseph Smith's life. She said that he watched it four times in a row. So she invited us in, gathered the children, and got out the Books of Mormon. We had a good discussion, which was mostly Melba, Sister Tortarola, sharing her testimony. We also talked about prayer and the Spirit and then asked Juan, their friend, if he wanted to be baptized. He said he would read and pray and if he received an answer that he would be baptized in December.

The only problem with teaching kids like that is that we have to have parental permission for them to get baptized. So we talked with Melba about it and she said that she would talk to his mom about it. On Sunday, She came with her kids and Juan as well and then told us that Juan's mom had actually come to visit Melba the previous day and said that she was happy that Juan was going to be active in a church, even if it wasn't a catholic one. So now, we  are looking at having five baptisms in the first two weeks of December.

Os amo,
Elder Burt

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