Monday, March 17, 2014

A very successful future for Quitilipi

Querida familia,                          17 De Marzo 2014

We got our light bill on Monday morning and it was way higher than we expected it to be. So we called the guy that is in charge of managing our apartment to find out what was going on and he said that the price
of electricity went up sixty percent in all of the province.

Tuesday was transfer day, or better said, the night that they call us to say who is going and who is staying. So Elder Gates and Elder Warth made a chocolate cake that was either going to be a farewell cake or a celebration cake depending on the outcome of transfers. So we got the call and they informed us that the four of us would be staying together for another six weeks; we are all pleased with what happened.

It was kind of funny on the Monday before transfers because Elder Valverde was sure that he was getting moved because he has now been here for three months, so we walked around on Monday taking pictures around the city; he even said good-bye to Marcos (one of the youth that we're teaching).

Last week we started teaching an eighteen year old named Jonatan and his family, but lately we've only been teaching him and not the rest of the members in his family. But he's been really great; he came to
church with us this last Sunday and really enjoyed it.

On Tuesday night, we had a lesson with Jonatan and he said that before we showed up at his house that he had been studying the Bible quite a bit and was about to start looking for a church to join, but he just didn't know which one to go to. That's when we arrived. He said that he believes that we were sent from God to him because this is the path that God wants him to be in.

As we continued talking with him, we presented to him the Book of Mormon and he really enjoys reading it. We had a lesson about how the Book will act as a guide in his life and read in Alma 37:44-45 with him about how the liahona was a symbol of following the words of Christ. Afterwards he asked us to mark the chapter about the liahona to read later in addition to the chapter we had already marked.

On Wednesday we shared a brief lesson with Marcos Ledesma; one of the youth that we had been teaching, but haven't seen for awhile. We watched the twenty minute version of the Restoration video with him
and talked about his own testimony of the Church. We didn't have a lot of time to talk with him, but before we could set an appointment to come  back he asked us, "can you come back tomorrow?"

We went by the next day, but we weren't able to talk to him because he had to go to the dentist, so we didn't get to meet his friend either.

We didn't actually have a chapel here in Quitilipi, so there were a couple of weeks that we've met in a member's home and other weeks when we've gone to the branch in Saenz Peña. In order to go to the meeting house in Saenz Peña we either have to rent a mini bus and tell everyone where the pick-up point is or try to organize every one into groups to take the bus there. As difficult as it can be to get there,
it's good for the members from Quitilipi to see that they're not the members in the world and they can participate in the classes with lots more people. What's bad about not having the chapel here in Quitilipi is that the members see the buildings as a representation of their faith. So there have been some members that say they don't want to do missionary work until we have the chapel here and they are other
members that can't make the trip to Saenz Peña.

So we were expecting to have the chapel in Quitilipi ready for use as of yesterday, but we hadn't heard anything from anyone and no one had given use keys to get in and out. So we called President Heyman on
Wednesday and asked him what was going on with the building. He said that they're trying to have it ready by the end of the month, but it's still not ready for use. So this complicated things for us because there were still three more Sundays in March and we needed to plan at least two more trips to Saenz Peña, if not three. Then on the first weekend of April we're going to be back in Saenz Peña for general conference.

I'm confused by Isabel at times. She's been having doubts, not doubts in the doctrine nor in the church, but rather in herself. But this last Thursday when we talked with her, we invited her to come to a baptismal service for another companionship so that she could see how a baptism is. Well at first she said that she wasn't sure if she wanted to go and then said, "can other people get baptized in the service if they want to? For example, if someone who is sitting in the
meeting decides that they want to get baptized too, can they?" So we asked her if she wanted to go and get baptized. She said, "I might do that; that's just how my personality is. Maybe I'll feel something in
the meeting that will move me to get baptized in the moment."

Saturday, the day of Luis' baptism, Isabel decided that she didn't want to go because she wasn't feeling well, but we did have a lot more people come with us and a lot more than we expected.

Basically everyone that we're teaching lives on the same, long street, so we were walking down the road and stopping at everyone's houses to pick them up so that we could walk to the bus stop together to go the
baptism. Well we first met up with Jonatan (because he lives the farthest away) and then made our way to Carina and Daniel. What we weren't expecting was all of the other people who were waiting with them. Two younger brothers of Carina decided to come as well as two other kids that we talk with. So our group became huge and suddenly we were a group of ten and later twelve once Marcos and his friend Joel met us at the bus stop.

So we took a huge group of investigators to the baptism and they had a really good time and it strengthened their desires to be baptized.

The next day on Sunday morning, we took a group of investigators just as big, but with the addition of four members and three more investigators from the other companionship; we were a group of twenty-one people and in Church it seemed that there were just as many
from Quitilipi as there were from Sáenz Peña.

There was a prophecy given by Marvin Ballard about the growth of the Church in South America and in it he said that the Church would grow like an acorn, slow but constant. Well the Church has been in Quitilipi for about four months now and there have been four baptisms between both of the companionships, or an average of a baptism per month. But as I was thinking about the people that we are teaching and the people that are coming to church, we actually have a very rate pool of investigators.

Right now, my companion and I are teaching three young men that are between seventeen and eighteen years old and the other companionship, Elder Warth and Elder Gates, just baptized a man named Luis. The only reason that this is usual is because in the mission, and I think for South America in general, the majority of the people that are baptized are women and children, but we are teaching mostly men and young men who are of mission age. As I thought more about it, it just made me think that we are finding everyone that we need to start the Church here in Quitilipi; we'll have sisters to run the Relief Society, men to be in the bishopric, and young men to serve missions. All in all, we are seeing the beginnings of a very successful future here.
os amo,
Elder Burt

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