March 18 2013- Email #35
Beloved Family and Friends,
Another week here in Guatemala has passed. It really was a wonderful week. Not a whole ton of “new” things went on but I will try my best to make my week seem interesting for you!
I suppose I shall start by informing you that Tuesday night we find out if we have changes or not. Wednesday is the change meeting and I have NO idea if we will see changes here in my area or not. Elder Suchite may end up going to Mexico to serve over there (his original mission call was to go there but his visa did not go through). I might have changes…but I sincerely doubt it. All I know is that President Maravilla makes his decisions based on what the Lord wants. I will be content with whatever decision he makes! So be excited for next week to see if I have another companion or if I am in some other random part of Guatemala.
Speaking of the changes…President Maravilla decided that he is not going to announce changes until Tuesday in the night instead of Monday in the night… which means that we have no time to go and say goodbye to the members and our converts. Rough times, I know. So because of this decision some of the members here who are really good friends of ours had a going away party for us all! They made cake and we watched “The Other Side of Heaven”. Really awesome Sunday night and I felt like I was with my family. I really am so very grateful for the members in the branch here. They are wonderful and already I have grown really close to them. If I leave here I suppose I will be very sad.
Wednesday night was quite the experience…we met a man last week named Carlos. He is a civil engineer and one of the most intelligent people I have ever met in Guatemala. We started chatting with him last week and we showed him the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy. He seemed genuinely interested and accepted gladly. We explained to him the importance of the book for our religion and he told us he would definitely read it. We put another appointment for this past Wednesday. When we arrived at his house Wednesday we were with the former Stake President. He is a very smart man and knows the scriptures very well. When we started chatting with Carlos he told us that he had read the whole first book of Nephi. We were quite impressed and asked him what he had learned and if he had any questions he would like to ask. He definitely had some questions…Haha he started TEARING into the Book of Mormon. Literally it was ridiculous. He had obviously gone on the internet and looked for every possible ridiculous comment he could find to try to falsify it. I won’t relate all of the arguments he tried to use against the Book of Mormon but to be honest in the end my testimony of that book was strengthened. To testify is a tool that many missionaries forget they have. You can’t argue against a testimony. This man, Carlos, was just looking for evidence. He told us he wants evidence of the geneology, archeology, genetics, and who knows what else. Haha what he fails to understand is the Book of Mormon is a book that takes faith to read and believe. He has no desire to find the truth. But it sure was an interesting experience!
Juan is progressing more or less…we had a difficult time this past week trying to get him to understand the church is the TRUE church. He finally accepted to get baptized this coming Saturday but I know he still has some doubts. We are going to try and work with him this week to resolve his doubts and get him baptized Saturday! I know that with the help of the Spirit it will be done.
We also have another really promising investigator. Her name is Silvia. She went to church last Sunday and really enjoyed it. Also she went by herself to Coatepeque with the Relief Society to an activity Saturday and also really enjoyed it. She is an investigator who has never talked to missionaries before and has never heard about Joseph Smith. We taught her the first lesson Saturday night and it was one of those lessons where the Spirit is just so strong it feels like it will burst from your chest. Amazing lesson and she expressed to us that she will do what it takes to find out for herself if these things are true. I am very confident she will continue progressing and be baptized soon. The only obstacle is that she is already baptized for an Evangelical church…that is always a challenge to explain the need to be baptized again.
That is about it. We are working hard and doing well in the area. I am trying to be the best missionary I can be and I hope I make you all proud. Just remember how very important it is to always remember the responsibility we have to remain firm in the faith. I know that sometimes we can get wrapped up in life but the most important things are what will affect us AFTER this life. I love you all so very much. Have a wonderful week and know that I miss you all and pray for you all!
Elder Ty Russell