Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making a Difference

So, you may remember, my first couple weeks in Envigado were super rough because there was literally nothing on our white board (spoken literally) and all our time was spent contacting or knocking doors (and I think we´ve had 3 people answer the door so far. No exaggeration) and never progressing with a single person. We didn´t recieve any references from members or anything. 

That´s changed a lot now. I think, with Hurtado and I trying for the past month to destroy the reputation of past elders in the area and win a good image and trust with the members, it´s made a massive difference in the area. Now, we receive multiple references every week and don´t spend much time knocking empty doors. 

We right now are working hardcore with people named Adriana, Isabel, Luz Mary, Regina, and then less actives Patricia Moralez and the Siza family, and always with a man named Cosme. Adriana is the sister of Verenicia Franco, a very strong member of the ward with 5 kids, one of which is a married daughter with 2 sons, and 2 sons on a mission. Adriana has been taught by a whole bunch of missionaries through the months and has a collection of like 5 Libros de Mormón [Book of Mormons] because she doesn´t bring them around with her but now she´s reading the LdM [Book of Mormon] we gave her. She´s declined a baptismal date because she´s scared that if she isn´t ready, she won´t have the courage to tell us and will just go through with it and doesn´t want to be baptized before she´s ready. But, we´re thinking of sharing the baptismal interview with her and going through it and helping her feel more comfortable. We are also working on her praying to know it´s all true.

 Isabel is the mother of Luz Mary. They both have come to church, and Isabel has been traveling for the past week. Luz Mary is old enough to have a 20 year old son, and when she attended church it was the first time she´s enjoyed church and plans on attending for the rest of her life. They both have a lot of potential and desire to attend church and follow Christ, so they are great. 

We have been teaching Regina now for like 3 weeks and still have yet to meet her husband. She is reading and praying consistently, and has received an answer to her prayers, but hasn´t recognized it, though we´ve taught her ways to recognize the Spirit like a billion times. We keep having citas [appointments] set with her and her husband, but she´s never there and we are like "what are you doing". 

The View and Stairs of Regina's house

We are also teaching her sister Diana. 

Patricia Moralez knows that she needs to come to church and knows the importance of all that, but has a time consuming job and works Sundays. We are working with her to both build a testimony of the Sabbath, but also free time for church. 

The familia Siza is super awesome and Fabio (dad) served a mission two years back in Arequipa Peru, and has been missing church because of work, so we are working on a testimony of the Sabbath and also getting them really integrated in the ward. The wife is a convert at 16 years of age and they have a 3 month old daughter. They are all super awesome and we had an awsesome Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] with them this week and it was powerfu.  Fabio said he really felt there were things he needed to change and he wanted to be better and it was super awesome. 

Yesterday for pday, we went as a District up a mountain in Itagüi called La Montaña de la Bruja and I got super sunburned and it hurts on my neck but hey they don´t call it the best two years for nothing. We watched The Best Two Years as a zone activity with reemborsable pizza [reimbursed] (I don´t know if that´s a perk of having the APs and Financiero in the zone or if that´s the norm) but it was great. 
 a whole bunch of vultures circling above a chicken factory

Starting our hike up La Bruja

 View of the River

 Cows we passed, there were like 15 in this little pasture

View from halfway up
View from farther up
 Forest Berries we were eating

All that water is from a hose with a hole in it...there was a lot of water.
 Talking in the forest

Elder Hurtado and me
Say cheese - Elder Hurtado and me

 Hicken, Hurtado, Gajardo, Crispin, Flores

 Hicken, Chuquimia, Gajardo, Crispin, Flores

 Crispín, Chuquimia, Gajardo, Flores, Hicken, under the cross at the top

Crispín, Hurtado, Chuquimia, Flores, Hicken

  Gajardo, Hicken, Chuquimia

Hurtado, Hicken, while someone else was taking a different picture and I didn´t want to look at the camera

Crispín taking a picture of us and I rebelled

Hurtado, Crispín, Hicken, still rebelling. I was super done taking pictures on top of this place

Chuquimia taking a selfie of us, and I rebelling 

in this area of the road, there were a bunch of men working and essentially throwing plants and trash over the side of the mountain and in a corner also burning massive amounts of wood. I don´t have a great explanation for all of it. 

 Pretty Picture
 picture with this really nice car they kept in their garage
 Me with a waterfall
 The waterfall without me
 Crispín, Hicken, Chuquimia, 
I went down to the waterfall and took a picture and afterwards everyone else wanted a picture with it too and I was like let´s pass another 8 hours here taking picture yes and then I stepped in poop but washed it off under the waterfall.
 Chuquimia, Hicken, Flores
 Orange trees, palm tree, and in the back you can see these blue trees that were spotting this little hillside
 my hardcore sumburn, yes I did use aloevera

Yesterday was a super fun day, I read a talk this week "Como llegar a ser un misionero consagrado" [Becoming a Consecrated Missionary] by Tad R Callister and it was great. One thing it said in the talk was a lady asked Callister as a branch president if she had to pay tithing, because she was earning hardly enough to live, and Callister answered ´if this were my church or my rule, I would not require you to pay tithing. But, this is not my church, it´s the Lord´s church. And he has asked that you pay tithing.´ and I think alot of people don´t realize that. 

They think this is a church with rules made by man, or they fail to realize that the Lord has but these commandments and such in place for our benefit. And then some people are dense enough to think that if they don´t understand the benefit, they don´t have a good reason to follow the commandments, and then don´t realize that´s the reason why they don´t know the benefits. Just a hint, not all the benefits are restricted to the short century we have on the earth. 

Elder Echegaray (new companion to Elder Johnson baby) and I met a new Jehovah´s Witness today and and we would ask him questions and his answers would contradict each other; the JWs that we meet don´t seem to have a basis of belief within faith. It´s all just what someone´s been able to reason in the Bible, and then it also makes sense to other people, then they study for years verifying their reasonings. But, it speaks of that in 2 Nephi 29, that many will stumble because of the reasoning of man, and the verse calls them that stumble "humble followers of Christ" and it's really like that, that just because you´re following Christ doesn´t mean you´ve got everything right, and that it applies to members of the Church as well, that they stumble because they depend on the philosophies of man more than the doctrines of God. Hey guys, don´t get comfortable, just a warning to the wise.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

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