FELIZ NAVIDAD de Machala! This week has had its highs and lows. Among its ups are the new investigators we have this week (most of whom couldnt come to church, unfortunately). Let me tell you more about them!
(They are so great and so ready but just need the Lord. We know we cant do this without the Lord and without fervant prayers. )
Rafael is 12 years old. His dad is an active member, but his mom is not. His parents are divorced. Rafael's sister Cristina is 14 and got baptized about two weeks ago. Rafael is great and seems to want to get baptized. His mom is supportive, and if Rafael makes it to Church on Sunday, he's on track to get baptized on the 28th.
Marlinda is a little bit of a miracle. We got the reference from three different sources: her husband's cousin, who is a slightly inactive member, her husband's cousin's wife, and a completely unrelated sister from the ward. All three of those individuals, without coordinating, gave the reference to either us or the elders in the last two weeks. We won the battle with the elders for her (mostly because my comp is really good at guilting Elder Cabrera into giving us what we want, but also because we received the reference first.) Marlinda is Catholic and doesnt really want to get baptized, but we feel really strongly that if we can get her to Church and to read the BOM, that might change. She's super pilas (Google it).
PS.. Marlinda gave us SHRIMP. It reminded me of the time that SJ ate like a party platter of shrimp on his own.. It was a little reminder of home! I had to smile.
Josselyn and Kevin are two teenagers that are both in some way related to an inactive recent convert family that are starting to come back to Church. They've been to Church three times now (well, two for Kevin), and we're working on getting them a baptismal date this week. So pray for that to go well. The dad is super Catholic and their biggest challenge is that he'll be opposed and wont sign the permission slip.
We also met three part member families randomly on the street in one night this week, so the Lord is helping us. Ive really tried hard this week to realize that every person in EVERY calle(street) here is a child of God and I am here to remind them of their potential or help them get back on track! There have been so many oppritunites to love and talk to people. The work never stops there though. It takes alot of work. I have realized that my part can be magnified. I need to step it up as a missionary and do everything in my power to be obedient to the Lord so that I can receive the fullness of His blessings for me and His investigators. I just love it.
There are so many things that I feel like I am doing..but really I am just being humbled and realizing that the Lord is just inching me by. I literally feel his love for me so much. He is the reason I keep walking even when my feet ache, I wake up early and work for extreme hours even when its hard and my body isnt compliant. I sometimes literally feel like He picks me up when I feel to weak and He gets me to the end of the day. He gives me the courage to speak with my broken Spanish and make a fool of myself..but thats OKAY! Because He knows me. I knows I can do this and He knows that I am trying.
I know this church is true. I feel it everyday as I read the scriptures and pray for guidance and answers. I invite all to do the same. Pray to know the truth. Pray and ask your father. He loves you.
Pray this week! We really need progressing investigators and desire so much for these people. I love you SO much!
The Hermana Bennett