Monday, June 24, 2013

And now they're Seminary Teachers

Querido familia,                               24 de Junio 2013

This week, we have been trying to work more with the youth and members of the branch so that we can reactivate people as well as help those who are investigating the church stay active after their baptism; the goal being that the recent converts will have support from a host of people that will be available to help them. So to get started on that, we went out with one of the youth this week to go and visit some of the less active members this last Tuesday.

The member that we went out with is named Imanol and he is kind of an interesting character. When we first went to his house to ask him if he could go out with us to visit some people he said that he could go out with us later that very same night. so we said to him, "That's great. Do you want to go right now?" He then answered that he couldn't in that moment because he still had two more hours of "doing nothing time" and his soap opera would be starting in an hour. He was serious about that soap opera, because when we went back a few hours later to pick him up he was watching it.

So we got started on our reactivation operation and went out and visited with some a family before going to visit another one of the youth in the branch, Enrique. So with them we made a plan to have a meeting with the youth to see what it is that they wanted to see from the branch and what it is they can do to help other families come back to the church.

So on Thursday, we had a meeting with all the ringleaders for the youth. They said that the things that they wanted most were seminary and mutual again. So, we got a schedule together that would work for everyone and then made invitations for them to give out to the other youth in the branch, as well as their friends who aren't members.

On Wednesday, we went to visit a man named Felix. I've mentioned him before. He's the friend of Daniel who came in a bit tipsy one day during our lesson with Daniel right as he was telling us that he knew that the Book of Mormon was true. Well, we went to Felix's house and had a lesson with him. It wasn't long because he was kind of stressed and in a hurry to get something done, so we just taught him about prayer and invited him to church. By trade, Felix is a leather worker, so we got to see all these things that he was working on and see a couple things in different stages of development.

Earlier that same day, we went to visit the Castillo family (the ones that are rebuilding their house because it fell down during an extended trip to Buenos Aires). While we were there, there was a guy who was a city worker that had come to help build the house and he started saying a bunch of ridiculous things to us like, "you abandoned your family to help people that don't even want you," or "the scriptures say to help your neighbor, not bother your neighbor." I wanted to ask him, "and who is my neighbor," and see if he gave the same answer that Christ gave when asked the same question. Somehow I don't think that he would have.

We spent a lot of time trying to get people invited to the activity that we had this Friday in the chapel with the branch. Thursday was Flag Day here, so they had Thursday and Friday free. So the branch had torta frita and hot chocolate in the chapel and everyone just hung out for a couple hours. We had two people come to the activity, Lisandro and Milagros.

Lisandro, Milagros, and Ramon are all brothers and sisters that we've been  teaching. We actually found them because Ramon, the oldest brother, came up to us in the street one night with a group of his friends to talk to us and to ask us how to say things in English. So, we met Ramon a few more times in the street and eventually we met his younger brother and sister.

It's really funny, because in this area there are tons of kids that have come up to us to talk to us in the street, so we'll be walking down the street and someone will yell from the soccer field or farther down one of the cross streets and say, "Hey Burt! How's it going?" Sometimes I'll hear people ask, "Who's Burt?" and they start to explain that we're the missionaries. Most of the people that call out to us I don't even recognize, so my fame is spreading I guess.

Lisandro, Ramon, and Milagros all came to church on Sunday, which is great, but we had just one issue: Milagros was kicked in the shin by a seven year old boy right after church got out (not because they were fighting, but that's just how he "plays"). So she left in tears and we were super worried that she wouldn't want to come to church again, but when we went to visit them afterwards she said that she really liked church.

On Friday, we found a really cool guy named Lisandro (not to be confused with the previously mentioned Lisandro). We didn't actually meet him on Friday, but rather a couple of weeks ago he came up to us (Elder Medrano and I during exchanges) and started talking to us about his conversion to Christ. He said that he recently got out of jail and during his time there he had a mighty change of heart as he learned about Christ. He even said that he used to answer the door with a machete to scare away any type of missionary that knocked on his door. So that's how I explained him to Elder Reynolds before we went to see him for the first time, "a guy who recently got out of jail and used to threaten missionaries with a machete when they came to his door, but he's cool know because he had a mighty change of heart."

So we went to his house and started talking to him and he is a really cool guy. It was kind of hard to get a lesson in with him because he does this thing where he shares his favorite scripture or will read something and then say, "I know a scripture that is like that," and then will start to get off track and just start reading other things. But he really knows a lot about the scriptures and he even had a Book of Mormon before, but he only used the dictionary at the back as he studied the Bible; so we gave him a new Book of Mormon and had him read Third Nephi Eleven for homework. At the end this first visit with him, he said, "I'm really sorry, but I have to go. My church is about to start. Could you come back tomorrow so we can keep talking?"

So we went back the next day and taught him about the Restoration and we're worried that he just isn't getting it. He seems to think that there was an apostasy, and that it did end. However, he doesn't yet understand that the Priesthood is only found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints (La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Últimos Días). So we're going to do everything we can for him because he is a super cool guy, but well just have to see what sticks with him.

I forgot to mention, we were also assigned to teach seminary to the youth by the district president.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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