Monday, January 27, 2014

Released as Branch President

Querida familia,                                          27 De Enero 2014

You would not believe how hard it is to melt butter without a microwave, but don't worry because I found a way to do it. 

So lately we've been working a lot more with the members of the branch in order to find new people to teach and the way that we've been doing that is deciding with them who of the people that they know is ready to receive the Gospel.

In Alma we read,

"For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory." (Alma 13:24)

So like it says, there are heavenly messengers all over the Earth that are teaching people, whether they know it or not, about the Gospel and the lessons they need to learn so that in the moment that someone presents the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, they will be able to accept it. So what we've been doing with the members is helping them identify the people that they know who have been prepared by angels and are prepared receive the Gospel.

We've seen a lot of success with this activity and have been meeting some new people this last week. One of them is Ana Rivero, a sixteen years old girl who is a friend of two of the young women in the branch.

She was kind of shy at first, but as we talked and taught she opened up more and more. We had our first lesson and shared about the restoration of the Church and the Book of Mormon, leaving her with the assignment to read, ponder, and then to pray to know if it was true. We went back for the second visit a couple of days later and asked her how everything went and if she had read and prayed. She said that she hadn't read everything that we marked, but she prayed about it and believes it to be true.

We did the same activity with one of the young men named Maxi. In his list of people that he wrote were the names of some of his family members. So we had an additional prayer so that the Spirit could indicate to him which of them was fully prepared to receive the Gospel. He felt impressed that we needed to work with his two younger siblings Valeria and Agustin who are ten and eight years old.

Both of them have received the missionary lessons and been to church before, but were never baptized. We talked with Maxi about the importance helping his brother and sister to get to the waters of baptism because if the Spirit tells him that they need to be taught in this time then that means that the Lord is counting on him to help them enter His fold.

As we've talked with them and with their older brothers and sisters, who are all active members, we've learned some of the reasons why the didn't get baptized before and it is clear that Maxi is key to the conversion of Valeria and Agustin. As an additional sign of his role in things,  Maxi is about to turn sixteen and will be ordained a priest in three weeks, or in other words, he will be able to baptize his younger siblings.

We were also talking to one of the recent converts who is a twelve year old girl who had an interesting question of us. She wanted to know if it was alright to dress up and perform in a certain way, but when she asked us, neither I nor my companion knew the word that she was using, so she brought us a picture of her sister how had performed two or three years ago and it was a show girl. So we didn't want to just flat out say, "no, you can't dress like a show girl and dance in the festival," but rather make it an opportunity to learn. So we asked her a pretty simple and straightforward question, "would you feel comfortable walking around all day in your underwear? How would you feel if your friends saw you?" We explained that just because the clothes are shiny doesn't make it any different and she decided that she didn't want to participate anymore (her mom had also previously told her that she wasn't allowed to participate). 

We burned some trash and dry weeds that  we had collected in the backyard of the church. Unfortun-ately the next day the chapel smelled like smoke when we got there and we had to air it out a bit.Yesterday we had the district president come to our branch accompanied by his first counselor as well as the new branch president, Pablo Portillo. I was released after six months and Pablo was sustained and set apart. We've have some really goods plans for the branch and we're sure that we're going to see lots of growth and development in the coming months and weeks.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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