Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sofia gets baptized...

Querido familia,            January 21, 2013

So the other week Sofía didn't want to get baptized with her parents, Domingo and Lorenza because they both kind of fell in the font as they were getting baptized by David. She got scared and didn't want to get in the water, so we postponed her baptism until this Saturday that passed. We tried a lot of different ideas to help her overcome her fear of the water (we even got permission to baptize her in the little swimming pool they have in their yard), but in the end she decided that having the baptism at the chapel with just her family would be fine. So that's what we did. Elder Waldron did the baptism in the water with her and we invited David to come and be the second witness. Other than that, it was just her mom, dad and cousin, Ana (who also wants to get baptized now).

After Sofía's baptism, we were invited to go to Domingo and Lorenza's house to have dinner with them. Domingo said that we were going to have asado and we weren't sure if he was just kidding or not because he is always pulling pranks and telling jokes, but sure enough when we got to the house the oldest son, Maxí, was working on an asado. 
We're pretty sure that Domingo is going to be the branch president or something like that before long. Yesterday on Sunday, he was interviewed by one of the district counselors to receive the Aaronic Priesthood.

There is a man who all the Elders in this area are friends with named René Olivera, but he has always turned down the invitation to learn from the missionaries or get baptized. Well, we started teaching two of his sons, one who is twenty-two and the other is twenty. We started off just by having a conversation with them and the older brother, Javier, was talking a lot about how he wants to make some changes in his life. René was also with us during this second visit with them and he told us that he is going to be where he his kids are and is going to support them. So now René is starting to take part in the lessons. So, the next time went by we taught them about the Gospel and the Restoration by Joseph Smith. During our next lesson with them, we reviewed a lot of the things had talked with them about and made sure that they understood a few key elements about the authority of the Priesthood. During our lesson, the younger brother said, "If you tell me that Joseph Smith was a prophet I´ll believe you." So we said, "That's great, but we don't want you to take our word for it alone." So we invited him to pray and receive his own testimony. At the end of this lesson, We asked Javier to offer the prayer and then his younger brother jumped in and said that he would actually like to give the prayer if that was alright.

We invited the two of them to come to church and the younger of the two brothers said, "I don't know about him, but I'm committing myself to go. I'm going to be there." The other also committed to come to church the following Sunday, although not with quite as much zeal. However, they were both present in the sacrament meeting yesterday along with the younger brother's girlfriend. 

While we were at the church, we made plans to visit them later that night at six, but only the younger brother and the dad, René,  were there when we got there. René told us that everyone else went camping, but the younger brother refused to go because he already had plans with the Elders. So he is a pretty solid guy. Javier came back as we were about to start the lesson, but the girlfriend wasn't present. From there, we had a really good lesson with them about prayer and baptism and René even committed to going to church this coming Sunday (he has always told us that the reason that he doesn't go to a church is because he doesn't want to make a commitment that he might not keep). 

The only problem so far is that the younger brother is living with his girlfriend and they have a child together. So, we explained to him that in order to get baptized he would have to first comply with the Law of Chastity, which for him would mean either getting married or finding separate residence for himself and his girlfriend. Now this news did not diminish his excitement, but it did pose the question of what he would do. When we first presented him with this he just said, "But I'm so young." Obviously we don't want him to separate from his girlfriend and child, so we told him that now in his prayers he could include if marriage was something that we be a course for him. The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea.

There is a family in our area in which the parents were baptized and only one of their six kids. What happened though is that they were baptized six years ago and havn't been to church in a few years. As of late, the mom has been taking their family to an Evangelist church for the past three or four months. We've been trying to sit down with this family since I got here with Elder Clark, but we've always been dismissed by one of the kids when they say that their mom said that she can't attend to us in that moment. Well, a few days ago we talked to the oldest daughter outside of the house and she told us that if we came back on Thursday at seven we would be able to find the whole family. So that's what we did. However, we got there and the mom started to give us the speech about how their Evangelist now and they don't really have any interest in the church; but then, during her speech, he husband came came home from work and when he saw us he said, "Hey Elders, come on in." The wife didn't seem too happy with this turn of events. So, we went in the backyard and sat down with them and just started talking about the church and life in general with Brother Aquino and his wife, During this conversation, however, we were all kind of spread out, so Sister Aquino could really only talk to me just because of where she was sitting and so all the while during our conversation she kept trying to ask me questions in order to stump me about the Bible or something, but the thing is I can't be stumped. Brother Aquino told us that he doesn't like the Evangelist church at all and doesn't feel anything there. Then he said that he'd been praying and a few months ago he said that he had a dream that the Mormon church was true. His wife looked at me and said, "Can you believe him?" So I asked her, "Are you asking if I believe that he can receive personal revelation through prayer?" She had a look of defeat but nevertheless asked me to answer, so I told her  that yes he can receive personal revelation and that God talks to His children. 

I would say she was kind of against us during that first visit, and there were plenty of opportunities she presented with her questions where it would have been easy to tear down the Evangelist church and prove her wrong using the Bible, but that's not what I did. We were just polite, kind, and offered to help them with anything the wanted to get done. The second time we went by, we didn't get to sit down and have a lesson with them because Brother Aquino was adding an addition on to their house. We offered to help, but he didn't accept, so we took a few minutes to talk with Sister Aquino about her plans for the house and told her to call us so that we could come help build. She was a lot more pleasant during the second visit to say the least. 

This week is transfer week, so I don't know if I will still be here in Reconquista or not. Having been here since September, it would make sense that I would either be moved this week or if not this week, six weeks from now when the next transfers come around. I would like to stay here for another six weeks just to see the progress of the branch and to keep working with these families we are teaching.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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