Monday, July 9, 2012

9 July 2012

Mark's new companion:  Elder Jones
Querido Family,

It's been a great week. I'm gunna miss Elder Beletanga. He was and still is a great and focused missionary and my friend.

Now that we've been working together 7 days Elder Jones and I, we have really been enjoying this time. This Sunday one of the investigators [investigators] who came to church asked us if we are still planning on her baptism this week. Haha of course. Juana Soyla. She's an older lady who has a daughter and grandaughter who are recent converts. Yesterday morning when she got to church, her daughter was presenting her to all her friends and saying "Look, I brought my mom to church!" And Juana said: "Hey I'm not coming for my daughter, it's that I've chosen to be baptized and I'm coming every Sunday from now on. I'm 70 years old and I need to make myself clean." That was pretty cool to hear.

It's SO cool to have a great Gospel Principles teacher here. It really makes a big difference in the lives of the invesitgatores.

I think we are going to be marrying pretty soon [?????]. We are working with one, two, three, four, families who need to get married. One family is particularly awesome. I think I wrote you about them last week. This week we left an appointment with them where we talked a lot about praying and asking God if the Book of Mormon is true, and the spirit was there. After, since it was making cold [definitely a spanish-ism], she ran to the closet and got out two leather jackets to lend us for the rest of the night (we had left without anything more than shortsleeve white shirts and neckties for warmth... and pants) Haha that was so great of her.

I really like what Preach my Gospel says about answering objections. It says that we should answer whatever objection by helping them to increase faith in Christ, reading the Book of Mormon and praying to KNOW if it's true.

I think my study recently has been more focused. One of the most effective things we can do in lessons when we are teaching about how to receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon, is share spiritual experiences we have had that same day in the morning reading it. I like doing that a lot. The president taught one time about how we can't rely on a testimony gained years ago, we have to be fresh every day. I read the Book of Mormon just an hour ago. I felt the guidance of the Spirit in a question I was considering at the same time and while reading in the later chapters of Alma I felt an answer from the Lord today!

This week we've had some cool moments. One: Teaching the family of catholic missionaries that we have been teaching, they told us how they haven't prayed to know still! We talked a little about the faith, and how they can really trust what the Lord  might tell them. Then, since the spirit was strong, we knelt down and he asked if it is true in his prayer. Then the impression came to ask him to just open it and read. He opened to Alma 57 and read a few verses that perfectly comforted his wife (who had expressed some problems they've been facing this last week). We asked them if they recognized the voice of the Lord in the Book of Mormon, and the dad started talking about something like faith -  I think he wasn't so ready to admit what he was feeling - and his wife interrupted him and said " No, they asked if we can recognize the voice of the Lord in that passage" and they gave themselves count [se dieron cuento--Mark's speaking English with spanish words] that they could! we told them, great, you've felt the spirit, now your duty is to join the true church of Christ (vease D&C 23:7), you've felt it now, but that's not enough, you have to ask again tonight, when we aren't here. If you feel the spirit again you will KNOW that this is true. It's going to be a grand trial for them to give up their traditions and responsibilidades [responsibilities]. They teach in a small pueblito by the beach an hour south of the city. I'm thinking of just opening a branch down there the moment we get things going with them all that way haha.

We went to Leguia (my old area) to interview a baptismal candidate. She had a whole bunch of complaints and that were similar to the Zoramites sadly (vease Alma 39), and we read that verse... She realized she only needed an answer. So we prayed, and after she prayed she looked up and said: I hope He answers that prayer, "and how do you feel right now" she got thinking, and said, "Wow, I feel a huge peace all inside of me, that fills me up." "That's the spirit." "Yes." "What does He tell you?" "That it's true."
That was a quite powerful moment. I liked it a lot. She's got a ton of trials and people telling her she shouldn't be baptized, but it looks like this Saturday she shall be baptized.

As a zone, we've got to get focused. We need to work hard enough and with a strong enough acompaniment of the Spirit to be able to have one baptism in every area per week. President says he could do it with his eyes closed if he were in one of our areas haha. He did have something of 30 per month in his mission.. I think it's possible. And that if we work with ALL we've got, we can qualify ourselves for those blessings.

Thank you for all your prayers, they help a lot! Help the missionaries there, help them have missionary correlation meeting with the ward missionaries and everything, and help animate [excite] the members!

The stake has asked us to do trainings with all the different third hour classes. We did the last one yesterday. Jonathan Delgado, the brother who was baptized a few weeks ago with his wife, said at the end: "I feel like a soldier whos been armed and is ready to go to find people to help bring to the Gospel." Haha, he's awesome and animated [excited] to baptize his friends now that he's a priest. He just needs a responsibility now and home teachers.

Elder Johnson

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