Saturday, June 1, 2013

"The church is perfect, but the members are not.... sometimes we get lazy ... Knowing that we're members of the true church and really how merciful God is should improve our behavior, right?" (Hilary)

Dear Family,

I love you all! How did your week go? I hope you were all able to accomplish many things and enjoy every moment. I hope you all read your scriptures everyday. I hope you all attended church yesterday.

Well, a lot has happened this week. Saturday our zone leaders told us that Hermana Rodriguez flies to Argentina tomorrow. We have spent the whole day in the offices and running to different buildings all over Quito to get everything in order. Everything is fun though with Hermana Rodriguez, we have just been laughing all day. I am going to miss her!

We have had a really great week. We worked really hard. Some things turned out. Others didn't. But that is the mission and although I feel bummed that some don't receive all the blessings that are offered to them, I feel at peace knowing that I am trying hard and being obedient.

J. was baptized Saturday. Her baptism went really well. She had a lot of support because it turns out she has many family members (on her husband's side) that are members. She is really a convert and I am looking forward to watching and hearing about her future progress and contribution to the kingdom. I have been wanting to share little stories about different people. J's husband fell away from the church and we have been helping him to become active again while we have been helping her prepare for her baptism. They have had an incredible conversion. Little examples: When they read the pamphlet about the Word of Wisdom (the day before a lesson we had with them), it was hard for J to give up her coffee. She said she wanted to give it to her brother. But E (her husband) was like, "Knowing that it is a sin to drink coffee, are you willing to offer your coffee to your brother?" The next day they told us about how they had thrown away all their coffee. E's mom and sister are also members, but a little inactive. Since E and J have begun to attend church, they wait for other family members until like 8:45 and then just leave because they don't want to miss the sacrament. They always like to be early.

Speaking of punctuality, last Sunday we had an investigator attend church who is in his sixties and a retired military officer and has a few responsabilities in a Catholic church here. He has been really interested in our message and we have been able to answer all of his questions and back all the doctrine with the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other literature he reads... (Example: He has a Catholic book that talks about baptism that supports the doctrine of baptism by immersion and at a mature age and all that. ) Anyway, we visited him Tuesday and asked him how it went Sunday. He was only able to attend the first hour, but he pulled out a notebook of about three pages of comments he had. We spent about forty minutes just addressing his comments and questions about every little detail. One thing that surprised him was the amount of members that showed up late. The lesson ended well and he was really respectful about everything, but afterward I felt like the thought "The church is perfect, but the members are not." had crossed my mind too many times. I think sometimes we get lazy about things. Knowing that we're members of the true church and really how merciful God is should improve our behavior, right? Anyway, things are actually going really well with F. We see a bright future ahead.

The low note of the week was Sunday when very few investigator attended church. This week we found 11 new investigators and about half promised to attend church. We did what we could Sunday morning to accompany a few, but things didn't turn out. We have been reflecting on what we need to do differently to help our investigators really feel the importance of attended church, and here in the true church.

M. A.'s baptism has been scheduled for this Saturday. He passed his interview with our district leader yesterday, but I know he is still feeling a little hesitant. He has had a lot of family problems and made a lot of wrong decisions and now really wants to change. He knows he needs to be baptized. This week we hope to be able to spend plenty of time with him to strengthen his testimony.

Hermana Rodriguez has been an amazing companion and I have learned so much from her. I have really appreciated these past couple transfers and am so grateful for the blessings and miracles I have been able to see. As we left the apartment this morning, she offered a really thoughtful prayer. The Mission Argentina Cordoba is receiving a really great missionary. It is a privilege to be able to meet and associate with these people and I know I have been assigned to every companion I have had for a reason. 
I am really grateful for all I have learned.

I just received an email with a bunch of pictures from Caitlin's wedding. I feel like crying. I want to have been there. :( But I am glad she is so happy!

Okay, I am going to send this email. I love you all! Write me back with more if necessary.

Hermana Norton

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