Saludos mis Queridos Hermanos,
Thanks for the picture mom! Jesse and Logan look the same…. Briana, more grown up and very beautiful.
So here´s the news: I´m dying here in Barranca... which in missionary language means I´m ending my two year mission here, eating Pizza. So needless to say, I´m content. Honestly i´m excited because we found the Sifuentes family and they went to church and several of them want to get baptized already although they haven't accepted baptism dates YET.
Yesterday was District Conference. President and Sister Perez (my mission president and his wife) came to speak and also Elder Davila from the seventy. They rearranged the new District Presidency…so President Gonzalez isn´t actually President Gonzalez anymore. It was a good experience. I played piano for the congregation and the choir which was fun, and then in the afternoon we had the baptism and confirmation of Martha. Hans was in the water but started to scream NO QUIERO NO QUIERO NO QUIERO!!! Obviously you would think it would be easy to help him get over his fear of water….but the kid´s never swam in his life, and sadly he wasn´t able to go through with it.
Today in the morning we woke up early to send Elder Huaman to Lima, alone…which was kind´ve weird. He´s ending his mission. Also this week we had a work visit with the Assistants because President Perez couldn´t come for interviews like he normally does for the conference, but it was good. Elder Martelo my kid that´s 26 is the new assistant so it was great to see him again. We´re learned a lot. Also Zoila the sister of Margarita came back from traveling on mother´s day and her boyfriend whom she was living with had completely packed up and had left, so she´s all excited now that she can get baptized.
There are a ton of challenges that the members face here in Barranca….and I would say most of them stem from their financial situations. There´s a part here in my zone where the people work all day and get payed 10 soles at the end of the day, which would add up to about 3-4 dollars a day. With kids that doesn´t go anywhere. Of course where I´m at it´s a little bit more developed… President Perez gave an awesome talk yesterday to all the members. First he told us that “ our purpose here is not to have a stake, no! That will be the result of what you do”
He taught the members this: that to have a stake, or a strong ward, it starts in the home. Then he gave us 4 steps to be able to grow here in small Barranca:
1 Believe en the purifying love of Jesus Christ
2. Understand that the small constant things are big (I kind´ve missed the second point) – he talked about pride that we must have family inventory, pray, and study the scriptures.
3. Family Home Evening
4. Do NOT stop living the law of tithing. President told us we shouldn´t think of this as paying tithing, but living the law of tithing.
Of course this was specific for the people here in Barranca but it would apply in strengthening every family. If we follow these four steps we´ll be ready for anything really, as we do them with diligence.
I´m will be forever blessed for the experiences that I´m having right now…. And I love the mission with all my heart. Now it´s my last transfer and I´m worried because looking back I wonder, am I really the missionary I always imagined? Well…. To be 100% honest I went into the mission with little or no idea of what I was doing, or what I wanted to become…it was more like a responsibility that I always wanted to complete. But I really don´t have regrets. I´m not perfect but I´ve been striving to be. I know I love the people here, and I feel closer to my Heavenly Father every day so that´s what makes me know that I´m doing well. But just so you know, I now know what I´m doing and know what I want to become, and instead of trying to fulfill a responsibility I´m trying to fulfill a promise that I´ve made and I enjoy doing it.
Thanks for all the support and chocolate that you´ve given me,
Your son, friend, nephew, grandson, etc,