Dear Friends and family :)
So last month the mail system was on strike, now the garbage men are on strike, it stinks.... hahaha punny :P
So this week I learned the importance of trials in our lives. Francisca was going to be baptized at 5 on Saturday but she arrived at the chapel crying saying that her mom was not going to let her get baptized. Elder Benevente and I took a moment to pray so that everything would work out and I felt strangely calm, I didn`t know what was going to happen but I knew it was going to be okay. After an hour of running around trying to take control of the situation the mom came to reason and gave her permission to be baptized, so at 6 we started the baptismal service. After such a turbulent start I didn`t think it was going to be a very spiritual experience but you could feel the spirit very strongly during the ordinance. After she was baptized the branch president asked her to share her testimony, she got up and started out "Today I had a problem..." She explained the fight with her parents to get baptized. She explained how she was doubting if it was a good thing to do to get baptized and if the church was really true. Then she did what every missionary hopes their investigators do. She knelt down and prayed to know if it was right what she had decided to do and she received a confirmation of the spirit that it was the correct decision to get baptized! Trials are the furnace of affliction which lead to perfection. Through trials our faith is made into certainty, through trials our sacrifices become consecrated and sacred spiritual experiences. I love this work. I know this church is true; not because it's easy to be a member or because it's only blessings and happy times, but because I have had to try my faith in the furnace of affliction.
These last few weeks we have been working here with the form: "Progress of New Member and Reactivated Member." We are working with the branch council and focusing on 15 families. The idea is also that things happen fast so we put it on a 21 day plan. In the first 5 days the families receive a visit from the bishopric. In the first 10 days they receive a visit from the presidency of the related organization, and the missionaries (full time or ward/branch missionaries) start teaching them agian. In 15 days they should attend church, in 20 days they should accept a calling or assignment, and in 21 days they should have a goal to go to the temple as a family.
This week two of the families came to church. We met with them and set goals for them to go to the temple! It took a little effort to get the branch council to get in on the plan and get acting. My key indicators suffered this week for visiting the leaders so much, but I see the fruit of the work with 3 families coming back as progress. This week the branch council meeting started actually working. They made assignments and plans focusing on the form and the plan. I`ve been doing this work because I`m having a hard time really loving the people and the country of Chile more than ever in this branch.... I`m almost ashamed to invite people to church, sacrament meeting starts 15-20 minutes late because they don`t have bread for the sacrament and barely anyone comes to church.
All is well
Francisca's Baptism with Elder Benevente & Elder Hall. Not sure who baptized her.