Things are moving along here in Misión Central. The area is blossoming, and the members are starting to work with us more, which is excellent. President Hinckley taught that a new convert needs 1. a friend in the Church, 2. a calling, and 3. to be nourished by the good word of God. We're trying to get people to come to lessons with us so that we can get the friendship started, and have another testimony. As we read in 2 Corinthians: "By the mouth of two or three witnesses
shall every word be established."
The good news is that we're going to have a baptism this Sunday! Rosa, who was going to be baptized in January, just had her baby, and I think she was really close to the Spirit in this experience. My companion asked her "When do you want to be baptized?" and she gave us a date, which is this coming Sunday! We're just going to make sure this week that she's ready so she'll be able to be baptized and keep the covenant she's about to make. It's exciting!
We also have two more families who are almost ready to be baptized. Jairo and Vilma are great. We taught them a little about eternal families and the Temple, and it really piqued their interest. We brought them to the home of the Arevalo family, who were just sealed in the Temple a couple of weeks ago, and they taught about eternal families. We had to leave early because it was late, but apparently they asked a lot of questions to the members after we left! We're going to try to prepare them to be baptized April 1, in between the sessions of General Conference. They are absolutely great, we just need to get them married first.
Gustavo and Brenda are also pretty cool, but are experiencing some challenges. Gustavo just went on a "Spiritual Weekend" with another local church, and some of their neighbors who attend this church have been pushing them away from our church and towards theirs. The blessings they are experiencing as a result of learning the truth, they are attributing to the other church that is making itself present. Last night, we taught them, and they brought another family, which makes it hard to teach to their needs, because the other family is a different group with different needs. We brought some members,
and their testimonies were a huge help in the lesson. Carlos and Claudia, who accompanied us, are some of the coolest members in the branch. He's the executive secretary, and she usually leads the music in sacrament meeting. I think she's a counselor in Young Women as well. They have some really strong testimonies, and they are very open and friendly.
That's something that amazes and humbles me about the people here. The members have amazing testimonies. I thought I had a strong testimony when I left on my mission, but now I'm seeing and feeling the testimonies of all these great people, and I'm very humbled. They know the Gospel, and they know it's true. I would like to gain a testimony like the people here.
My companion is pushing me really hard. He wants me to improve. The great thing about Elder Calta is that he does it because he cares. He does it because he wants me to improve, and he knows I can do better. We also found someone this week who's been inactive in the church for 14 years! His name is Rolando. His wife and kids aren't members, but
something cool happened when we went to visit them. First of all, the family looks really positive. They are very willing to listen, and understand well. The other cool thing is that his cousin lives with them, and she returned three months ago from her mission, serving here in Misión Central! She served with my companion in another area of the mission, so it was kind of a neat experience. She also helped us in the lesson with her testimony. It was pretty cool.
We also had the opportunity to give some service. We helped a family dig a trench and install a drainage pipe in their house. It was a little weird piling up dirt in the living room, but we've been back to teach them since then, and everything has cleaned up pretty well.
Remember that Heavenly Father doesn't see you as the person you are right now, with mistakes, sins, and errors, but he sees you as the Celestial being you are capable of becoming. And the way to become all you can is to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It truly is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father, and therefore the only way to eternal happiness.
This week, I will loosely recite from memory Doctrine and Covenants 15:6 "I tell you that the thing that will be of greatest worth to thee is to call this people to repentance and bring souls unto me, so that you may dwell with them in the kingdom of my Father." This week, share the Gospel with someone. Us full-time missionaries can't talk to everyone, we need your help! Serve someone. Help someone who is feeling down. As the hymn says, "Have I done any good in the world today?"
I love you all. Remember to live each day better than the last!
Thank you for your thoughts, your prayers, and your faith. Know that they are greatly needed here, and gratefully felt. I know that alone, I probably wouldn't be here, I probably would have flaked out long ago. But thanks to the help I have received from above, here I am.
Yours in the Faith,
Elder Nicholas Banks