Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Our trials mold us

Querida familia,                                                    10 De Marzo 2013

So our week actually started out kind of slow, but not because of anything that we did. This last Monday and Tuesday there was the carnival festivals, so all the missionaries had to stay in their apartments for those two days.
We were able to go out during the day, so on Monday morning we went and pruned trees for a sister in the branch and then in the evenings we played Uno and talked to each other. 
But this week we were focused on trying to get things moving with the group (it's not even a branch yet here). So we went to a council meeting this last Saturday and proposed a plan that I had made with Elder Valverde to get things running here. Mostly what we're looking for is that the leaders who are supposed to be running this group can magnify their callings and take more responsibility; that's actually harder than it sounds when we, as President Heyman said, "live in a nation without commitment."
So our plan is simple, short, easurable, and easily executible just a like a good plan should be. We dividided it into three parts:

1. Visits To the Members
2. Sunday Meetings
3. A Combined Effort

What we want to do is get the leaders to come out to our city (which is a twenty minute car ride away from their city) and actual do the home and visiting teaching. We, the missioanries, are going to continue visiting the members and training them so that they can become leaders and be ready to receive callings once we had a branch here.
After that, we made plans that at least two leaders could come every Sunday to give talks as well as teach the Gospel Principles class. Then every fast Sunday, we, the members from Quitilipi, will travel to the other city, Saenz Peña, to participate in their meetings and be in the big chapel. This way the members from Quitilipi don't feel like the only Mormons in the world and they can meet lots of new friends and see how the Church is suppose to run.
As part of our efforts, we, the missionaries, are going to continue participating in the branch counsel meetings so that we can make more plans and report the progress of the group.
It was actually really different going into their counsel meeting and essentially telling everyone else what they were going to do, but we didn't ask them to do anything more that what was already expected of them.
We also were talking to a member from Saenz Peña that seems to knows everyone in Argentina and who also keeps a record of everyone's addresses and full names. So he gave us a list of references of people to talk to in Quitilipi. So we've been having some really great success with that. On Thursday we met a man named Hector Farías who met the missionaries eleven years ago, but never got baptized. After the missionaries left Quitilipi, he kept writing to the elders and he kept going to church. When we asked him why he never got baptized he said that no one ever asked him if he wanted to be baptized. So we're excited to see what happens with him.

One of the references that we got didn't go too well because the guy said that if we didn't stop bothering him and his family then he would shoot us. So we told him to have a nice day and we haven't been back since that one and only visit.

Isabel on the other hand had passed for difficult trials I suppose because when we went to talk to her on Thursday she wanted to give us all the books and pamphlets that we had given her back to us. So we talked to her about what was happening and how the trials that we face are what mold us into something better in the same way that fire refines gold and turns iron into steel. After talking for a while, she felt better and was ready to keep going in the church. The biggest problem that she is facing now is that both of her kids, one who is seventeen and the other who is thirty-two, are both into drinking and going to clubs and parties, so she is constantly worried and stressed. We told her that she just needs to keep reading, praying and going to church so that she can receive the revelation that she needs in order to help her kids.
Last night, we walked up to a man sitting down in front of his house and asked if we could talk to him. He said 'yes, but then said something interesting, "I'd offer you mate, but you don't drink it right?" Mate is kind of like a tea that everyone drinks here and the missionaries aren't allowed to drink it. So we asked him how he knew that we can't drink mate and he said that he met the missionaries fifteen years ago when he was still in high school, but they never talked to him about the church.

Well this man's name is Oscar Castillo and he is basically already a member of the church for his lifestyle; the only thing he lacks is a little bit of water. So we talked to him and he wasn't doing to well spiritually. He said that he wasn't sure if God really existed or not, but that he used to believe in Him. We had a really great conversation with him about who God is, His divine nature as our Father in Heaven, and the plan the He has for us. At the end of our conversation we gave him a Book of Mormon and our phone number to set an appointment with us. The only bad thing with him is that we're only going to be able to meet with him once a week.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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