Querido familia, 9 de Octubre 2013
Other than that, the wedding is moving along slowly. We still haven't received the response letter from the other city that we need in order to bring their wedding to pass. We're hoping that it will get here at least by this week because we had planned in having the baptism on the nineteenth and we don't want to keep pushing it back.
On Wednesday, we went looking for some less-active whom we still haven't meant to invite them back to church and to teach the members for their family who are still not members of the church. It was just such a sad activity to do. So many people have distanced themselves from the church and want to be separated. On the map of the city we have in the apartment, there are pins that mark where the members live and each color represents their current state; whether it be less-active, active, or part-member family. In our map, however, is a label that I had never seen in any other map in the mission: "apostate." So when we went to do these visits, we visited some of these members who had been labeled as "apostate" in the hopes that they couldn't truly be in rebellion against the Church, but we were wrong. Some people try to hide from us, others just don't answer the door, and there are some who even send their drunk friends to tell us that they moved (even when we had just seen them run inside the house).
There was another boy named Rodrigo who had been coming to church for a few weeks (almost as long as I have been here in Campo Largo) and last Sunday he asked me if he could be baptized. Well I told him that you only have to be baptized once for your whole life. that's when he told me that he never has been baptized. Well I wasn't too sure because I though that he was a member, so I looked in the records and sure enough he wasn't a member of the Church. So we went to his house to talk with him and his parents so that we could start teaching him. When we got there, his mom came out and talked to us and told us that Rodrigo's dad isn't going to be allowing him to go to church anymore because, "the family is catholic."
I had me thinking in all the times in the scriptures that the prophets have mourned the wickedness of the people. I especially thought in the instances in which more and more of the followers of Christ slowly abandoned Him as His teachings become more and more difficult to understand and live. In one instance, the Savior had taught about the participating in the sacrament, an ordinance that the people had not yet seen, and they said amongst themselves, "this word is difficult. Who can hear it?" Christ then taught them that all things are spiritual and that understand and testimony come through the Spirit. It was then in that moment that, as the scriptures say, there were many who no longer walked with Him. In this moment of great loss, the Savior turned to His chosen Twelve and asked them, "do you also want to go?" Responding to the Master's question, Peter said, "Lord, to whom will we go? Thou has the words of eternal life."
I know that it is by and through Christ that we can obtain eternal life and that it is only through His teachings that we can be happy in this life and I know that at one time these people also knew it, but they chose to walk in forbidden paths and were lost in the cloud of darkness. In the midst of all this I had to think what it was that we were doing here when the people are so wicked that they do not know Christ neither do they want to know Him. But I know that we do a great deal of good for those who faithful few who are participating in the Gospel.
It has been kind of funny though, because there is a neighbor of Hugo Belki, Marta, and Omar that is always trying to convince them that they should not join the church, that they shouldn't get married, and that they should stop listening to us. On one occasion, this man had found Marta alone and told her that we practice witchcraft. To him she said, "Oh really? That's even better!" I thought that it was a witty response and shows that she isn't going to be shaken by some neighbor trying to cause trouble.
On Thursday we had planned to practice the baptismal interview with Hugo and Belki, but Hugo hadn't returned from work yet, so we talked with Belki, Marta, and Rosa. It was really funny because Marta started to say things like, "yeah, Omar has been doing really great. He prays every night and has been reading the scriptures," and then Belki started to say, "Yeah, well Hugo has been praying a lot. He prays before going to work, when he wakes up, when we eat, and before he goes to bed." And they kept going like that for a few minutes in their competition of whose boyfriend does more.
Now we're starting a program in the branch that will act like a family home evening for the entire branch. What I want to do is hold it in the houses of the members, especially those who are less-active so that they can have lots of contact with the active members who will come and from there they can feel the Spirit and have more desires to come back to church. So we had our first branch night this last Friday night in the house of Selva Dominguez, the sister who gives us lunch every Thursday. It went well enough; there were probably eight or nine members who came and they all brought plenty of food to share. We got kind of distracted though because one of the memebrs, Luis, showed up a little later on and started to almost chastize the memebers and praise them at the same time. But everyone still enjoyed their time and everyone is excited for the next one.
The general conference went well for us here, but it required a lot of work to get everything ready. I had to spend probably eight hours working on the computer to get everything working right, so that it would be fast enough to be able to stream the conference live. But I got everything working and the members were able to watch and enjoy the conference.
Even though it's Wednesday and we're writing late, I'm only going to write up until Sunday for now. Otherwise, I'll only have half a week to write about come Monday.