Monday, June 4, 2012

4 June 2012

Dear Family,
4 June 2012
This week has been pretty interesting. We had some cool experiences. President Fernandez came to Tacna, and got all Ilo, Moquegua and the two zones in Tacna together. We had a conference that was way cool. In part, we got Skype hooked up to the big screen for conference in the chapel and we listened to a training from Elder Godoy, the new 70 assigned to us. He called us from Arequipa, which is about 6 hours from here in bus. That was pretty fun, 21st century missionary training in part by skype haha. The President came with the Assistants, of course, who also taught. The theme I think was of repentance. The assistants spoke of obedience and the president spoke a bunch about the process of repentance. He talked about it inviting all to repent and to make their ways straight. I love it when he talks, he is really direct and powerful. He also talked about the work with the members. We should activate 5 people per month in addition to baptizing 5. In the last month we were able to meet the reactivation goal. This month is looking pretty good too. There are a lot of members who are really just waiting for someone to invite them back. And when they come back, just waiting for someone to ask them for references of friends and plans to start teaching them again.
In this week we also talked with quite a few families who stopped living the gospel teachings. The told us of all the amazingly sad problems they have had and we explained how if they start living again the gospel principles again, they will be able to find the peace they once had. I hope they can. There are, in our area, soooooooo many problems and if the people could just live the gospel, they wouldn’t have to pass through so many trials. And those that are left, they could feel able to beat the problem. Something that I noticed, was that the majority make the problem bigger than the solution. The solution should be bigger in our minds than the problem so we don’t drown in the idea of all that may be wrong and see how it can be right. I think that’s a hard thing to do for almost all though.
Since the President went to the stake conference in Arias Aregues, he and the assistants were here for the training to us Friday, meetings with leaders Saturday, and conference Sunday. The assistants didn't have much to do Saturday so they went over to us Saturday night and we did divisions in our area. I really, really liked it. Right now there are 3 Aasistants...I don’t know why, but anyway, Elder Beletanga went with Elder QuiƱones, I went with Elder Hatch and Elder Schneider (Elder Hatch is from my CCM room! and Elder Schneider started the mission in the same district I did so we were together there in Hunter the first time).
I really look up to them. They’re great leaders. I liked a lot the way they communicate as compaƱions. Always laughing and joking, taking it easy. We talked with a lot of ready people that night. And we talked to a family of forever investigators.
It is a family who have been taking the lessons for the last year. A whole year! A little more I think. I really don’t know why they haven’t been baptized yet, but when we got there (one other time I’ve taught them in my time here before the Saturday I went with the Assistants) when we got there, the husband, Jonathan bought us juice and crackers (which basically means they are sure converts). So, excited on seeing that sign, we started talking a little, verifying the homework we left them, and then we started with a prayer. Elder Schneider asked if there was anything in particular that he could pray for, since he was going to do the prayer, and the wife, Diana, said, "pray so that we can have the strength to unite ourselves with the Church" haha so that excited us more. We started and Elder Hatch asked why she had said that, and she told us all that she has been feeling in the church and how she wants to be a member. Then Elder Hatch asked the husband if he felt the same desire. He said: I do too.. I always feel so good when you teach us. I just feel some fear of doing it, like if I wont be able to fulfill all that will be expected of me. RIght then we all three were thinking about Alma 7:15. So we talked a little bit more, we read the scripture, and made emphasis in the first line, then we talked about an example: if the 5 of us could have been on the banks of the Jordan, and if we would have been there to see Jesus go down in the waters to John, and being perfect without stain of sin, be baptized. Then invite Jonathan to be baptized too, what would he do. Jonathan replied: "I would be baptized in that very moment"
We talked about how to beat the fear he feels, and asked him what he thinks he should do to beat that fear. He said: I think I should be baptized. Haha I was not expecting that. So we planned the baptism for this Saturday. So good was that lesson. 
I think that if we teach like that always, then we will have lots and lots of success.
A year ago, I did an baptismal interview of a person whom the zone leaders had taught. He definitely met with the conditions in D&C 20:37, coming with especially a broken heart for some things that had happened. After the interview I didn’t know more of him apart from the fact that he had been baptized.
The other day I was in divisions with some members. One with me and other with Elder Beletanga. I was talking with the member who is the 2nd counselor of the Quorum of Elders, and he told me he was baptized a year ago. We didn’t put two in two together until I told him that a year ago I was also here, and he said: “Wait, was it you who did my interview??. I thought a sec and remembered! We hugged each other happily. Haha. That same thing also happened with an investigator that Elder Erhard was teaching who I knew in divisions. We are going to teach him now again!
Elder Johnson

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