Saturday, December 29, 2012

A birthday feast!

Querido familia,                      24 December 2012

I decided to have an American birthday lunch so I got Coke and a hamburger with bacon and onion and then opened half of the package (saving the other half for Christmas).

This week we've been teaching a lot of new people. How many of them will continue on to the waters of baptism, I'm not sure; but, that is how we do the work, teach as many people as we can and then see who has been prepared to move forward and accept the Gospel.

We've been teaching Domingo and Lorenza a lot more this week than we have in the past and they're really starting to move forward in their progress. We actually found them because they were in a binder of old teaching records from people that past Elders had taught before, but were never baptized. Maybe they were not ready to receive the gospel before, but they are now. Surely, a big part of that is what the previous Elders did to teach them. So, we've been learning that while the things we do now may seem insignificant to us in the moment, it will have an impact that will effect eternity. I read a quote the other day that said, "We always look forward to that great day when we shall be reunited in the heavens, but we have to remember that today is still part of eternity."

We've been trying to get Domingo and Lorenza's kids more involved in the lessons, but also with the other youth of the church. This week we're probably going to have an activity in the church so the youth can watch 'Josepth Smith: Prophet of the Restoration' and we will make churro (deep fried dough covered in sugar) for them to eat. But so far, their yougest daughter, Sofía, has come to church with them a couple times and she really likes the Primary. Their son, Jaquin, will be a bit more of challenge because he has some smoking problems, but we asked him if he wants to quit and he said yes, so now we're going to help him do it; it wouldn't be the first time I've seen people quit smoking for and because of the Gospel.
Last week we had planned to have the baptism for Belen and Exequiel, but we had to change the date because they didn't make it to church enough times to qualify for baptism. So this Saturday is their new date. We have hit a bit of a snag in their progress though. Belen is still going strong, she came to church yesterday and everything, but Exequiel has now decided that he no longer wishes to be baptized. We're thinking that someone said something to him that cause him to change his mind, but he hasn't sat down with us to talk about what happened. When we visited them yesterday, he was his normal self with us until we asked him why he doesn't want to get baptized now. So we shared a scripture with Belen about being the example and how her family will be blessed because of her righteous decisions.

Hernan Galarza, Juan Pablo's little brother, is going to get baptized this coming Saturday with Belen, but not at the same time (I only say they both asked me how I would be able to baptize them both at the same time). Hernan is really cool though and is always excited when we come by to visit. Because of his enthusiasm, his older brother, Rodrigo (who is eleven), also wants to be baptized, but he will have to wait until January. Now when we have lessons with them, Hernan will be starting his prayer and might stumble a little as he tries to offer a prayer and then Rodrigo will just say that he'll pray for us and then he offers a prayer instead. Afterwards, we'll say something like, "Hernan was doing good; just be patient." and then Hernan will say something like, "It´s alright. I'll just practice more by myself." So we're glad that he is having personal prayers as he develops a relationship with his Heavenly Father at the very least.

Earlier in the week, we had a Christmas devotional with President Di Giovanni, his wife, and the district presidency. We started off by having a brief message from both Sister and President Di Giovanni and then finished by having pizza and soda and talking with one another. Sister Di Giovanni was asking everyone what Christmas dinner is like at home and all the American Elders spoke about turkey, ham, gravy, rolls, and so on.

Our Christmas dinner is a bit different this year though. Tonight, we are going to be with a family from the other branch that invited us and the other Elders to have dinner with them. We're going to have an asada (the Argentine version of a barbeque). What they do is take the metal guard from a gas stove that the pots sit on while you cook and put it on the ground and build a fire under it. From there, they cook the meats on top of the makeshift grill.

I got the package from Halloween and ended up opening half of it for my birthday, saving the other half for tomorrow morning. I was told it was too late to hang up Halloween decorations, so I found somewhere else to hang them. It was really funny eating the pumpkins because Elder Sharapata and I were talking and ended up saying the same thing at the same time. He began by saying, "I really like pumpkins because they're like candy corn..." and then I joined in and together we said, "but they're better cause they have honey in them."

Other than that, things have been going well with Elder Waldron and I. He would prefer to walk a little less, but we also have the biggest area in the mission. I´m making sure he finishes his mission strong though.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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