Sunday, March 30, 2014

The time has come

The emails have been replied to, the pictures downloaded, the congratulations to newly engaged friends delivered, which means that its time to sit down and write the big one- the epistle, as those in Palestine would refer to it as. I'm sorry that I dropped the ball with writing last week, things got crazy, the time ran out, and there was something we had to go to. So you were all placed on the altar of sacrifice. But this week I am rolling in time- So, to summarize:


- We got to help these two girls progress to a baptism two weeks ago. They were actually investigators of the elders, but they were just too shy with them to progress. And when your investigators are too shy to deal with you, who  do you call? Us, apparently. We had to get their trust, then teach as simply and clearly as we could, with visual aids and examples and everything, and now they understand in the capacity that they have to understand the Gospel. So we went early last Saturday morning and got them all dolled up (even though it was about to be washed away, don't ask me why, its a big thing for them here) and then we went to the river and they were both baptized! It was really neat, and it helped their mom see that there really is a difference in the ordinance of baptism when you look for the divine authority of God. Their names are Rosaura (14) and Damaris (9), yet again, close in age with some of my favorite little girls. I had to pull out every little child trick I had up my sleeve to get these girls to trust me, something that my sisters have well prepared me for. I love teaching girls! Having your mom so dedicated to YW and having so many little sisters will do that to you. Getting them to church will be a challenge. They live far away and their dad takes all their money to go do bad things. But, this weekend, our Investigator Renso is getting baptized, and he has a truck, and maybe after he gets a little more established he can take them! That would be such an answer to their prayers, and ours. They also have an older sister named Beatrice, who after seeing them get baptized, wants to do the same thing, so this Saturday, we are going to the river again!! She is 16, a little heavy, and she cant read or write. We don't know how or why she doesn't go to school, but her little sisters do, but you can just see it in her eyes that she has absolutely no self worth. She doesn't feel important, and cant believe that we trek up to her house just to visit her. She will be so blessed by this Gospel, and a deeper understanding of who she really is, but dang, she has got to really put her part in and try. She is so shy, it took us over 30 minutes to try and get her to say the closing prayer, and finally ended with her doing that thing where they just repeat what you say. But she is getting there, and is different every time that we visit.

We have also been teaching this kid named Gustavo, whose mom we found on the way to a baptismal service. Hes 12 years old and is AWESOME. He loves the idea of having the priesthood. He is set for this Friday. His parents want to baptized as well, but they both need to be divorced so that they can get married, and that's like a year long process. So their out for awhile, but I know Gustavo will help them out.

We are in the process of reconstructing. All the spots for callings are basically open. So that's what we have been working on with President. We are hoping that if we have more people in more callings then Church will go way smoother. And it is. Its getting better. We are in change of Young Women, Relief Society, and Primary, which means we first have to find out everything we can about them, which means that we study the red manual like CRAZY. We are in the process of putting together binders for the people that will be called to be presidents of these organizations and then we are going to have a boot camp week of training, where we sit down with them, watch as many training videos as we can get our hands on, do practices, answer questions, and tell them that they need to fill their presidency as soon as they can. Then the next week is training as a presidency, and the week after that is an "observation week" where we see how they do, and if there is anything weird going on, we correct it, and then when they are functioning independently, we then spend the next week visiting and strengthening all of the members in their organization, especially those who aren't coming. And that list is big. There are 500+ members here, and sacrament meeting attendance of about 70. And then, we answer questions as they come, and help when asked, but we let them go off and work. So that's the plan. But we cant start until we have presidents. So that has put everything on hold.

The work here is different. We are on our own, there really are no leaders that know what they are doing, which means that we need to give them the training they need. Our goal is to have a functioning Branch council in 2 months. We have been doing a lot of prep work, like finding training videos and thinking about how we can do things in an interactive way that will help them learn. Usually, this is not the missionaries job, but we have been given a special commission from President to do exactly what we are doing. Its been tough though, because there are some missionaries in our district that have been so programmed to baptize that they see any other efforts directed at strengthening the branch as a sinful waste of time. And obviously, we are not here to do that. We are here to do the Lords will. So we sat down and prayed about it as a companionship, and when we ended, one phrase came to my mind, and it was "Save my sheep."

Save my sheep.

Alma 17 and Ezequiel 34

Not just investigators, but less actives. That's how we are going to work, through the presidents and the less actives, because if we don't, everyone we baptize will walk in one door and out the other, never to return. More on that next week,

Okay, gotta go,

I love you all!!!

Hna Leavitt

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