Another 6 weeks gone with the wind marking the halfway mark in Elder Parkinson’s training. Another transfer has come to an end and I don’t know yet the transfers, but I anticipate a change to be unlikely. It’s amazing just how much the Lord blesses the work during training. Seeing the spirit work mighty changes in the hearts of G and the R family has been unforgettable. Also, watching Elder Parkinson grow so rapidly into a seasoned, powerful missionary has been such a strong testament of Spirit gifts and how the Lord uses them in the blessing of his children. Like blessing 2 young gringo missionaries with the ability to teach and testify in a 2nd language and so with so much little experience. Elder Parkinson’s faith has truly impressed me and is the reason why he’s picked up the language so fast. In short, this past transfer and past week have reminded me how not of the testimonies of those we teach, it has demonstrated to me just how these experiences work mighty changes in our hearts. This week has certainly provided me with some of those unforgettable, testimony- building experiences.
On Monday, we simply headed over to Elizabeth’s house to make donuts. My third time doing so and I still affirm that they taste very good. We then headed to the nearby town of Chocope to enjoy an American dinner with the Fackrells ( a senior couple serving in our zone.) Being greeted to the and smell of pot roast, mashed potatoes, and brownies was very memorable. We enjoyed a great Monday night together and left rather satisfied. Getting to better know them was also interesting making the idea of serving a mission as a senior couple rather appealing.
It was a struggle to visit people this past week, however we were able to meet with a single mother named Rosa. She’s passed through, and still is, many difficult challenges in her life as she’s struggled to support her two children that still live with her. We had previously met with her a couple times in the past several weeks but she’d never really read or kept her commitments. Until we had an appointment with her this past week in which we tried to help her understand the Book of Mormon a little better as she isn’t very accustomed to reading. She was sort of interested, but when the member she was visiting with shared how the Book of Mormon would assuredly change her life as a mother everything changed. She felt the Spirit from his testimony and then felt the desire to read and get to know the Book of Mormon. She’s since read and is slowly progressing forward all thanks to the sincere testimony of a father which enabled the Holy Spirit to touch the heart of Rosa.
This past Friday was also a very special day. We woke up early to head to Trujillo where we met up with the majority of the other missionaries in the mission to be trained by Elder Calderon of the Seventy. I will admit that I went into the meeting feeling a little tired having had woken up early and having had to walk a lot in the days proceeded because of the absence of people to teach. However, as he began to speak the Spirit immediately and very noticeably filled me. I was no longer tired and worn down, but lifted up by the merciful influence of such divine power. His comments on aptitude and attitude I found to be especially impactful. That choosing to be happy always will enable us to fully live our divine potential, that maintaining a positive attitude in all situations brings power. Truths that I’ve always loved and lived, but the Lord knew it was the precise moment to remind me of those truths. And as I did the Spirit was very strongly present. I felt renewed and very happy. We don’t have such powerful spiritual experiences all that often during which the Spirit is so strongly present, but we do receive them in the precise moment that we need them to grow and thus it was on Friday. I will also note that he was properly funny.
Then the next day we met up with the bishop, Y and her children, the Y family, G and four other members and headed up to the temple! Entering into the Lord’s house with our converts that mean so much was an unforgettable experience. They all brought names of ancestors to be baptized for and in behalf of. We’ve been working with the ward to help our converts do family history for the past week so helping them then take those names to the temple was very special. Y had dreamt of her grandmother (who she’d never met) several times before Y was baptized in which her grandmother was dressed in baptismal clothes. So after several months, Yajaira was able to locate the proper information (which was found through a series of miraculous events) and she was baptized for her grandmother on Saturday. G lost her sisters in a terrible bus accident nearly 2 years ago and has wanted to be baptized for her sisters since she learned about temples in January. And a couple weeks ago tears streamed down her eyes when we told her she could be baptized for her sister as soon as she wanted to (she thought she had to wait a year.) So for all that it was a very spiritual experience. I served as a baptismal witness and I will never forget the smile Jose Yesquen had afterward. He had to wait 2 hours to be baptized, but he didn’t mention that. He was just beaming which made me really feel the true significance of my calling. How God has granted me the chance to help these exceptional people come unto him and participate in blessings like entering the temple is something that words cannot describe. To see the joy that the gospel is pouring into these humble families, into the lives of those who I consider close friends, means everything to me. It helps me recognize the eternal impact that I am having as a missionary, to recognize how I’ve been able to help best friends live a better life preparing them to enter into God’s kingdom.