I'm no longer the baby of my district nor the only "gringo!" Our district leader is training a brand new elder from Idaho, Elder Wilkinson! He's an awesome missionary! Ready to work!
I feel like we're doing so much better here! We're rekindling that fire. This weekend, instead of 1 baptism and confirmation, like we planned, we're going to have 2! "C" is going to be baptized this Saturday along with her friend, "M"! "C" has been ready since the moment we met her. And it doesn't matter how many times she says it, it's still music to my ears when she tells us that she believes these things to be true. We met her through "M" and they're been friends for a long time. We've been really worried about "M" and honestly almost gave up hope with her. Her baptism date kept on falling through because of issues with the Law of Chastity. On Friday night, we received a message from her asking us to call her. I was worried she was going to drop us. But the first thing she said was, "Bueno, Hermanas. Tengo una pregunta." "Okay..." "¿Qué necesito hacer para bautisarme?" I think I almost choked. She was finally ready! It was an amazing feeling knowing that she had felt ready for baptism. I'm so excited for them both!
We have a new investigator! Her name is "Ma". We met her while we were looking to someone near her neighborhood. We ended up meeting with her and placing a baptismal date! We came back to look for her on Saturday. She wasn't home so we ended up talking to her husband. After introducing ourselves as missionaries, we asked if he'd ever heard of the church. He said yes and after asking how, he answered, "Es porque estoy bautizado en la Iglesia." He's already a member! Less active, but still a member! We're hoping to meet with them on Tuesday! I feel something very special with them.
We went on a hike this morning with the elders and two members of our branch, "A" and "Mi" ("Mi" is from Hawaii and he served his mission in Texas!). We hiked to a statue of Jesus Christ that is called "El Santo" or "The Saint". I was told it's called that because they don't want vain repetitions of the name of the Lord. How cool is that?
We learned a lot from this hike about life and the gospel. The hike was very steep and slippery. There were times when we couldn't even see the path! But we made it! We made it! And it was worth the sweat and itchy plants and falls because the view from the statue was amazing. We likened it unto this life. At times we fall and at times we can't see where we are going or where we are supposed to go. But we have others around us, encouraging us and guiding us through. When we reach the top, when we reach the arms of our Savior, it will be well worth the pain. Narrow and strait is the path to eternal life. We will never know the glory or joy if we don't put the effort forth to push forward, using the resources of the gospel to make the hike easier.
Something special I learned this week was a realization that everyone has their own time. One example is with "Me" and another with "Ml". Two weeks ago, she asked us to give her 15 days to find her answer. Sadly, she sent us a message yesterday saying that they wouldn't accept anymore visits from us. I was devastated. I couldn't focus on General Conference very well and I couldn't understand why my prayers hadn't been answered the way I wanted. It wasn't until later in the conference when one of the speakers quoted from D&C 18:
"10 - Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
15 - And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 - And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
17 - Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation."
I realized in that moment that no, we're not going to baptize every single person we teach. Not everyone will be ready when I hope they will be. "Ml" didn't feel ready when I wanted her to be. But it's not my timing, it's the Lord's. I also realized that I have two amazing investigators that are going to be baptized this weekend. I need to focus my efforts on those who feel ready to accept the Lord's gospel in the limited time I have here in Perez Zeledon. The worth of souls IS GREAT in the sight of God. Every person in this world is a son or daughter of God that has chosen to follow the plan of God by coming to this earth. I love this plan and I love sharing it with others.
LOVE YOU ALL! ¡PURA VIDA!