This week went by way too fast. I can’t believe how fast time has been going. This week we were mainly in the office, but on the weekend we worked and found lots of new people to teach and we taught pretty much all day. Yesterday we planned everything for the visit next week of Elder Teixeira, (of the Seventy) he is the President of the South America South Area. He’s coming to do two huge Zone Conferences, but it’s incredible the amount of details that go into something like that. Also, yesterday we recreated the board where president has a photo of every missionary because he wanted it to be magnetic (it was hard to use before) and he couldn’t start changes until it was done, so it was a late night.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but a Chilean missionary serving in Guatemala passed away this past weekend. I’m not sure of the details, but it looks like it was electrocution. She happens to be from the 2nd closest ward to the office which is where the Harrisons (our mission secretaries until Aug 18) attend church. In their almost 2 years in that ward, they have developed a real bond with the family of the missionary. In fact, Elder Harrison was the one who taught for 15 months and baptized her grandfather a couple weeks ago. The family was absolutely devastated and even angry when they first heard the news, but the sure promises of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost have softened their hearts and comforted them a great deal. Just days before passing away, the sister missionary went to the temple and while in the temple was touched by the following verse in Mosiah 26:20, “Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep” (She shared this scripture with Sister Harrison 3 days before her passing). My eyes tear up thinking about how little she comprehended the profound implications of this scripture in her own life. This is why I love the Gospel so much. Even times of horrible tragedies, we can receive comfort and peace to our souls in knowing the perfect nature of God’s plan and the certainty of His promises and covenants. Recent convert Alberto (her grandfather) found a lot of comfort in knowing that her mission has been extended to the spirit world. We are praying for the family and as a mission we are thinking of ways to reach out to the family at this time.
On Thursday, we finished up the Zone conferences with the zones in San Pablo and Renca. In the San Pablo zone there is a new sister from the Philippines named Sister Mahilum. She is in her first change in the mission field, she arrived on June 12th. I had personally never heard her speak in Spanish, but the time came for the new missionaries to present themselves. We generally ask the missionaries to answer 3 questions. What’s your name? Where are you from? and What will you commit to do in order to become an excellent missionary?
With great hesitation, she timidly answered the first two questions. She then began to think for a little while which in normal since the third question requires a lot more thought, but that “little while” quickly turned into 5 minutes of complete uninterrupted silence, with everyone’s eyes glued to her. Sister Meservy asked me to tell her she could talk in her native language if she wanted, so I told her and then thought the silence would be broken by a language that no one would understand. But the silence continued. Then, all of a sudden, she took a deep breath in and what then came out of her mouth can only be described as perfect Spanish. Wow, that was a special moment. The spirit was so strong in those moments as we were all witnesses of the gift of tongues in action.
I’m not sure at what age she was baptized, but I know that at the time of her baptism Sister Mahilum was the only member on her island. For being the only one she was persecuted and mocked for a time, but now she is not alone, in fact there are now 300 members on her island.
|Ines in her natural habitat- reading the Book of Mormon|
Speaking of converts, our convert Ines Gutierrez bore her testimony for the first time in sacrament meeting. It was incredible the testimony she shared. There really is a noticeable difference between those who read and study the scriptures every day and those who don’t. Ines studies the Book of Mormon for at least an hour a day and WOW, it is incredible the effect it has had in her life. I think that effect has direct correlation with her willingness and humility to actually do what she’s taught. She reads, prays, fasts, pays tithing, goes to church, serves others, shares the gospel, visits other converts and less actives, obeys the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity and so much more. In other words, she is truly converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and is an example for everyone to follow. She is truly converted.
Changes are this Monday, but I’m not going anywhere. Talk to you next Tuesday.