Here we are again! Quick drumroll before I introduce my new companion? Her name is Hermana De Leòn, and she is from Guatemala. Aren´t you thrilled, Mom? I just knew you would be. She is from San Marcos, has two older brothers (one married and one also on a mission in Nicaragua), and is 21 years old. She´s fairly quiet, has a laid back sense of humor, and is very willing to learn.
Early Tuesday morning, Hna Mena and I went to one of the capillas (chapel) in Concepciòn with all of the other trainers that would receive new missionaries. Supposedly, the flight for the Latino missionaries was coming in at 9, but it got delayed and we ended up waiting the whole day there for our companions to arrive. We ate Subway, read scriptures, chatted, ran up and down the stairs because the capilla was so cold, and I tried to be social and talk to the other missionaries instead of just writing in my journal or reading my scriptures. Sometimes I just feel like I have so little time to do those simple personal things! Of course, we still have our hour of personal studies every day, but that really isn´t very much. As time goes on, I feel more and more like the perception that I always had of adults- steady, responsible, and a little boring. (That is the real reason I sent my goofy face photo- to try to convince myself that I still have silly fun sometimes.)
After about 6 hours of waiting, they Latin and American missionaries all arrived at about the same time. The new missionaries ate and interviewed with President, and we waited more. Finally! The little ceremony for new missionaries, one that I´ve never seen. Considering that both Hna Peterson and I came in the middle of a cambio, it was something new and kind of fun for me also. After a short program, President called up each of the new missionaries one by one, and when he got to Hna De Leòn, he read my name off as her trainer! I'm trying really hard to involve her more and more in the missionary work- she is a bit more shy but she is going to be a great missionary. So excited to work more with her!
Other important news!! My dear people, I´m going to experience my first baptism. I know that I haven´t been very good to describe the progress of my investigators, but Henri Foster is going to be baptized!! I would love it if you`d all pray for him this week, especially that he´ll stay strong in his progress not smoking. He´s been clean for two days now, and I know he´s going to do it! He had his baptismal interview on Saturday night, after what had been a rather long and unsuccessful day for Hna De Leòn and I. We got to his house with Elder Brown and Durrant, and Elder Brown and Henri went into the kitchen to have the interview.
I´d better just admit now that the walls were thin, and that we could hear the whole thing. I wouldn't have expected it to be so, but it was incredibly emotional for me to sit there and take in the full meaning of what was happening. I prayed and prayed and prayed, feeling a bit more empathy for what the Savior might have felt for us in His intercessory prayer. "I love this person. I realize how important this is for their eternal salvation. I have done everything I can to teach and guide and grow this person, and even if they´re not perfect, please let them take this next step in their lives. Please just let them pass this test."
In one moment, Henri and Elder Brown were talking either about repentance or the Word of Wisdom, and I overheard Henri say, "Now every time I go to light a cigarette, I just think of the hermanas and all they've done to help me." Anyone else think I started to cry a little bit there? Ok, well I did. Just a little. We're still working with him to convert him stronger and stronger to the gospel and to the Savior, rather than primarily to us as missionaries, but he reads the Book of Mormon like crazy and has changed so much. He passed his interview and hasn't smoked since. Not only that, but he told us he's going to Concepcion on Wednesday to buy himself a shirt and tie to wear this Sunday for his confirmation. He's also insisted that he make lunch for us, so we´re going to teach him and have lunch on Thursday. I am so very happy!
Also loved the worldwide missionary broadcast. It was so great!! I hope you all listened well and have planned a couple little ways that you could participate more in the Lord´s missionary work. I found Elder Perry´s comment very compelling, as he reminded us that part of our sacred baptismal covenant is a promise to stand as a witness in all things, in all times, and in all places. "Stand" is not a passive verb, my dear people. If the prophet and apostles have chosen to title the church´s newest website "Hastening the Work of Salvation", I think we´d all better take a hint and take a bigger part in that work NOW.
It just came to me so strongly- none of us are really saved yet. We must act, and act, and act again until we are called up in that final day of love and light. Just like the many investigators that we invite to keep commitments, each of us must also keep committing to the simple actions that will exalt us one day. Read your scriptures, pray earnestly, fill your church calling to the best of your ability, don´t ever forget that all of this is possible only through the Spirit of the Lord. Stick to the family, share what you know and treasure with those that you love, and guard your temple covenants with your life. There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING that has made me more sad on the mission than finding a former member of the church who once went through the temple but is now living in complete defiance of those covenants. It literally makes me fear and tremble.
I love the Lord with all my heart and soul. May you serve Him with all of yours- I know that He is the only way we find true happiness. I see every day the truth in the prophecy that plain and precious parts of the gospel would be lost oneday. It is so simple, knowing that we have a prophet today. That we can pray the sincere thoughts of our hearts. That the church has been, and always will be organized in the same divine form. Treasure these truths. They are rare and precious.
I love you all. May you be ever faithful!
Mandy and Miriam Aros Saguayo (ok, not sure how that second last name is spelled off the top of my head...) Miriam is the one with cancer
Lirquen church (?)