So I just sent a huge amount of photos from the last two weeks. Enjoy! Thats not even a small percentage of the photos taken.
Sounds like everyone has been really busy back at home but those activites sound really cool, and Im glad that the story about the missionaries in Russia ended up being happy and that they didnt kill the Russian guy and that they didnt die. It really is a blessing to be a missionary, and the Lord really does watch over his own. I dont know the scripture exactly in English but its something like ¨And those who wait for me shall not be ashamed.¨ There is no promise the Lord makes that is not fulfilled. I better work harder to honour the calling, if those guys were so willing to do so with their lives. The activity sounds like it was a success though and that everything went super well.
So the week went really well. Unfortunately, Tony did not get baptized. Through the whole week he was doing really well. Just so excited and ready and prepared. But a few probing questions and overall disapproval from his family got him a little scared. The day before the baptism, he was really doubtful. We asked him though what God had told him and what did he want to do. He said get baptized and was thoroughly ready and convinced that it came from God and he needed to comply. But, the day of the baptism, we saw him in the street before sitting in a chair in some sunglasses and even though he told us he was coming, we had some doubts. So we went back just before the baptism and he told us he couldnt carry through that day. The doubts of his family had overcome him and he looked back on his trust and faith to doubt. Unfortunately thats how it played out. But we think that he will still get baptized. We met with him after on Sunday with a member and he has a new goal for baptism in October. I will not see the day with my own eyes I guess, but I truly hope he can once again feel all that joy he had and get rid of the shame that haunts him now. Its not easy to have come so close and turn back on one´s faith, but it looks like with lots of help and support he will. I guess that is the hardest part, to only trust in the Lord. It looks like he will need other hands to hold him up. But I believe he will be baptized still and join the church of Jesuschrist.
The other baptism for the other missionaries went really well though, finally after attending church for so long, all it took was one fast and she did it! Proved that she had more strength than her stomach and so it gave her soul powers to get baptized hahaha.
Other than that, our week was good. We found some new investigators from references. They are new but very willing to attend church and listen attentively and show some strong desire Hopefully we bring those desires to fruit, especially with the more adult of our investigators, since youth baptisms are great but do not build a branch very well. Our converts are getting stronger and are starting to give references and really be integrated in the branch. I hope it keeps up, I dont want to lose anyone. The joy of having brothers still in the gospel has really been a great blessing. This may be my last week in Azua, but we will see what transfers bring. I truly will be missing it, but I will be able to call familia minyetti each month and write lots of letters back here haha. Either way Im glad to see them so different and blessed now.
Other than that, had a milkshake today that was super good. We walked a lot. I had to tolerate the youth´s taunting about various things, like my hair or my pictures or whatever they could think of. Teaching old people has as always been interesting and the hermanas are corrupting one of our older investigators to say funny jokes to us, mostly making fun of how we have boats back at home (an apparently hilarious topic). Also one of the hermanas made these EXTREMELY NASTY TASTING COOKIES. I ate them all though, and won 50 pesos as the bet from Elder Forsyth. Not sure if it was worth it. All the other food was super good, but those cookies were death. Mostly we laugh a lot. Im going to miss the humour of Elder Nelson around haha. We have laughed a lot. Im still laughing.
Mom asked for an experience with the First Vision. Well, when we first taught Martha, the mom of familia minyetti, we kind of had just thought about a little simple thing since we were just teaching her daughter and wanted to at least give it a go. But instead, we ended up teaching about the restoration. Elder Peña and I presented it very simply. I explained that once a young boy had a question. He wanted to know what church was true. Nobody seemed able to explain it to him, so after reading in santiago (um.... James in English?), he discovered that he needed to ask God. Ask and ye shall recieve. His desire to know led him to the truth, and he decided to act upon it. I then recited the first vision, and wow was Martha so rapt and caught up in every word. There was a strange peace so rarely found in this country in that room, and for some reason there was great power in sharing the story of a boy who just wanted to know, and because he believed so strongly, God appeared and told him the truth. And now look where we are today. Just because a boy had the desire and compied with it and asked the only one who knows everything, our Heavenly Father. That must have taken great trust in him. Then we invited Martha to pray too, just like Joseph Smith to know what was true. And to be baptized. If we had asked her to jump off a cliff at that point, she probably would have, because no one could deny that the Lord had testified of His own works in that room on that day. I know for sure that Joseph Smith really saw God, that he speaks with us and will never abandon us, because He loves us, and answers every single prayer. We just have to see the answer.
Well I hope everything goes really well back at home. You are always in my prayers.