Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interesting Week

As the subject indicates, this has been a very interesting week.

First of all, we had two baptismal dates scheduled for this past Sunday. In one day, both of them fell through.
Rosa changed her mind about being baptized, after having listened to the missionaries for an extended period of time.
Alicia had some changes in her life, and is going to live with her mother in Jalapa, which is in the G.C. South Mission. She wanted to be baptized, but a) We didn't think she was ready, b) we couldn't meet with her this week because of the move, and c) we're not sure if there's a chapel anywhere near where she's going, meaning that if she was baptized, she might not be able to go to church anyway.

We dropped both as investigators, and after that we only had a couple left who were progressing, so we basically had to start over. William, Jairo, and Jissela are still Pilas, so we're working on getting them to baptism.

One day, we spent most of the day contacting: knocking doors and talking to people in the street. My companion decided that it was my turn to be senior companion for a few hours and direct the work. I was a little frustrated, but when I concentrated on the work, the spirit was with me more constantly than it ever had been before, and we got a couple of new investigators out of it. We'll have to see how pilas they are with time.

Also, my companion and I are actually getting along pretty well this week. He had the inspiration to have a very open conversation with me on the way to lunch one day. We were very open about some feelings we had for each other, and it turns out we had just had a big misunderstanding that closed us both off a bit. We're getting along a ton better than we were before, and it's been great.

Sadly, this came the week of transfers. We received a phone call yesterday indicating that Elder Caceres will be leaving Jerusalém for a leadership position elsewhere, and I will be staying on in Jerusalém and receiving a new senior companion. I'll have to train him on the area, meaning the leadership of the branch, the investigators, less-active members, and geographical limits of the area. That basically means the area is my responsibility for a little while which will be hard. But it will also be good. It will make me work hard. And like I said above, the spirit will be with me if I keep working hard, being humble, and trusting in the Lord.

Now, I'd like to tell you a bit about Jissela. She was a reference from Hermana Petrona, our cocinera. Her husband lives and works in the States, and she lives here with her aging mother and 9-year-old son, Andrés. She's really nice, and pretty funny too. She has a lot of animals in/around her house because she likes them. One of those animals is a chicken, which usually walks around between our feet during the lessons. Since it moves, it draws my attention, and she just thinks it's absolutely hilarious. She refers to it as "El Chicken" whenever we talk about it. She said when it gets big enough, she'll cook it up for us! Last time we met with her, we called her and she was reading the Book of Mormon (for the first time outside of a lesson!). We went to her house, and talked about what she had read. We explained baptism, and the need for the authority to baptize. This Sunday, we picked her up for Church, and we brought her mother in a wheelchair. Her son came too, and he's a little rowdy, so it was kind of funny. He's friends with Hermana Petrona's grandson, so they had a good time. Andrés came into sunday school and asked his mom "When do they serve the snack?" After church, an 8-year-old girl in the branch was baptized, so she got to see a baptism, which was great for her to see. I'm pretty sure she'll be baptized, if we can get her to church every week.

Before I forget, I'm going to translate one of my new favorite hymns for you. It's Spanish only, and it's called Oíd El Toque Del Clarín (Hear the playing of the bugle)

1. Hear the playing of the bugle, it calls us to fight
The officials of Zion are beginning to march
They have their weapons ready, as do they their hearts
They are searching for soldiers with courage who will fight for Zion
2. I want to be a faithful soldier, on the side of the Lord
and fight for liberty with strength and courage
We will reject the cowards from our brigade
we want men of courage and firm heart
3. The armies of darkness attack with fury
but victory is God's, the king and redeemer
Oh, sinner, come to Jesus, the Eternal Savior
In him you will have consolation in all of your pain.
4. To the mount of Zion will come Jesus the Redeemer
He will give to the valiant crowns of honor
They will enjoy eternally happiness beyond compare
With them I want to enjoy celestial glory.

The music is really cool, too, and I got to play it in Church this past week! Sacrament meeting was about missionary work, and it was really cool, especially because we had a TON of investigators, as well as a lot of less-actives there, too. Our branch has had better attendance these past weeks than the ward just down the hill! But, for a branch to become a ward, there need to be 21 Melchizedek Priesthood Holders attending who pay tithing. We're just short of that, because there are a TON of sisters in our branch.

Well, I'll let you know what happens with transfers this week. I'll miss Elder Caceres, but he and I will both be moving on to bigger and better things.

May each of you be blessed, and know that I love you very much. Please continue your thoughts and prayers. As before, they are much needed and much appreciated.

¡Que les vaya bien!

Yours in the faith,
Elder Nicholas Banks

Elder Caceres & Elder Banks

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