I’m back! It’s another Monday so I’m sending another weekly account of what’s transpired here in a little town in Peru. As it appears that I’ve been theming these letters more or less, I’ll continue the trend. This past week has been one filled with many firsts for my companion and for myself. It’s been fun to experience that even after a decent amount of time in the mission there still are quite a few “firsts” out there. However, I suppose like Nephi wrote, “(God) will give (us) line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,” so there will always be more to learn and experience as we “hearken unto (His) precepts and his counsels. As our Heavenly Father he will “teach (us) in ways of truth of and soberness.” Now as the representative of his Son, it is my responsibility and privilege to help others really understand who their Heavenly Father really is and help them to follow those “ways of truth and soberness.” I even get to grow myself along the way, one might even say that’s really why we’re here, to convert ourselves to the gospel (the way of truth and soberness) and then help others. However, before I diverge too much I’ll jump into how my week went.
On Monday instead of simply playing soccer, I convinced them to let us go to Trujillo. I convinced a large group of missionaries to head over to Chill’s (it wasn’t hard to persuade the gringos). I promise you that eating an AMERICAN hamburger at Chili’s with milk shakes was an illuminating experience - so much so that I was willing to drop 60 soles on it. But hey one has to live a little bit.
There are many impressions one might have in this life. Elder Parkinson had the impression to get to know a distant part of our area called Sausal so we went there on Wednesday with our Bishop. It’s about a 40 minute car ride from Casa Grande so I have no idea how that little town became part of our area, but it is. We stopped by some humble farms on the way which were home to partial member families who were overjoyed to see missionaries there for the 1st time in 6 months. The following photos describe it well. We then headed to Sausal where we were received well. It is a very beautiful town nestled in the foot hills of the mountains. Overall, I think some prayers were answered in our going there and we’ll be sure to come back in the future. Elder Parkinson was pretty tired from walking so he fell right asleep on the ride back. I was then pleased to see every one of the people we visited (except one) make it to church on Sunday.
I’ve also made mention of the Ramirez family for the past 2 months or so - how through A__ ( a young active member, the son of E__) we met them since A_ is best friends with Martin the son of the R__ family. Thanks to A__’s eagerness to share the gospel we started to help them realize that there was something of eternal significance waiting for them. Many memorable experiences have since transpired with the Spirit’s burning witness of our unique message- the simple yet powerful invitation to exercise faith in Christ to come unto him- To not simply be hearers of the word, but rather doers of it. President Marler discussed the doctrine of “coming unto Christ“ a lot in a recent multi zone conference. He said we help (not convince) others to come unto Christ through the increase of faith in order to repent and make the necessary changes in their respective lives to live in harmony with Christ’s gospel and its saving ordinances. It is not an easy task for us to do if not impossible by yourselves, however with the Spirit’s presence it becomes very possible. As families like the Ramirez family choose to read the Book of Mormon with real intent, to attend church, and to pour out their hearts to their very Eternal Father the Spirit helps grow faith to make the necessary changes and come unto Christ.
One of the first fruits of repentance would be baptism so when people like the Ramirez family start to follow in Christ’s steps the gate by which they must need enter would be that of baptism. This past Saturday M__ and M___ (mother and son) took that step together- entering through the gate to Christ’s straight and narrow path. It was a very well attended service and the first time during my mission I decided to sing a song on guitar for a special musical number at a baptism. It worked out very well. Both were baptized without incident and later bore short sincere testimonies. Their reactivating father L__ was also very happy. They really have come together as a family. M__ told us that we showed up at her doorstep at the precise time in their lives when God had prepared them to listen and change. It was very touching. The Lord continues to work many mighty miracles here in Casa Grande.
So like I mentioned before it’s been a week of many firsts. The first time I’d eaten at Chili’s for a P-day, the first time President Marler was present for my district meeting, the first time I went to Sausal, the first time I played guitar at a multi-zone conference and at a baptism, and the first time I had two consecutive baptismal services (last week with G__ and this week with the R__ family). So I wish you all an excellent week!
I Hasta la proxima como siempre!