We've been thinking about what it is that we're going to do in order to get this group going so that it can be a branch and eventually a ward and this week we've been working on a couple of things that we want to get started.
This first thing that we needed to start having more success was support from the branch leaders (who live an hour away in another city) as well as the district leaders. So on Tuesday we had a meeting with the branch president to talk about the needs of the members in the group and what the leaders can do to help out. The district president (who was baptized only three years ago) doesn't really know what we need to do because this is a new experience to him and to everyone else involved. So we're trying to just apply principles that are simple and understandable to produce good results in our experimental group that we hope to make a permanent branch.
Something that was helpful and an interesting teaching experience was this Wednesday when two of the young men from Saenz Peña (the city where the branch is) come to work in Quitilipi with us for a day. Their names are Amil and Aldo and they're both preparing to go on a mission, so they asked if they could spend a day with us doing missionary work. So they came in the morning and we spent our study time teaching them how to be missionaries and teaching them about the Priesthood. We also talked about foreordination and premortal callings that we're expected to finish on Earth.
So Aldo, who is the branch president's son, went with us during the day and Amil went with the other companionship of Elders for the day. We had some good lessons and Aldo was a little bit quiet with the people, but if he wasn't talking I would just ask him questions about what the person that we were teaching needed to hear. So we had some good experiences during the day and when we got to the end and had to go back home they said that they wanted to come back every week if it was ok with us.
Just a funny story, but we were teaching this girl who had apparently just got back from walking (dressed up in her work out pants and tank top) and says to us, "I'm just so tired from my hour walk." In my mind I thought, "yeah, it must be tough to walk for an hour after the sun goes down; we just walk around all day under the sun."
So there is a woman that we're teaching named Isabel Portillo. She came to church last week, but when we talked to her on Wednesday she said that she knew that the Book of Mormon and the Church were true, but still wsan't sure about Joseph Smith. So we explained a little bit more and invited her to pray about it, but her other obstacle is that she has to quit smoking.
So on Friday we went to teach her more about the Word of Wisdom and how she can quit smoking. The next day we went by to see how her progress was and also to make preparations to go to church. She said that in the morning she went to smoke, but when she started smoking it made her body tremble and she couldn't continue. So she just threw her cigarette away and kept going with her morning. A little while later she tried smoking again, but this time it made her sick when she tried to smoke.
Yesterday she came to church and she really liked it; the plan now is for her to get baptized this Saturday. She said that she is going to save all the money that she would have used on cigarettes to save up for her trip to go to the chapel in Saenz Peña where we'll have the baptism in a nice font.