- So Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy did come to our mission. As well as Elder Rafael E. Pino of the Seventy. (The big person I was alluding to and that we thought was going to come did not end up coming. He went to Lima instead.) It was kind of completely amazing. It was a short meeting…only 2 hours…but they all spoke (in Spanish! even their wives…), and it was a great meeting. Like I said last week, the entire mission was gathered together. I got to see Elder Serrano, my awesome companion from Tacna, and tons of other elders and sisters I hadn´t seen in some time. (He had somehow heard I was district leader, and said, “What did I tell you?” :)) Also like I said last week, I got to play the piano, including for the little mission choir we had. That was pretty cool, and I made sure as much as I could to try to play with the Spirit, and it went extremely well. When all the Authorities walked in, they said “Gracias!” and Elder Christensen said, “Bien hecho.” And then when they walked out, they all gave me a pat on the back (an Area Seventy that was there shook my hand). I´d love to share some cool insights from their talks and testimonies, but that might have to wait until next week…time, you know.
- We had a baptism this week! And as I told you last week…the story was a bit crazy. Her name is Elizabeth, she´s in her 30s, and for 12 years, since her brother got baptized (her parents are also members, but fairly inactive), she has been receiving missionaries. Her brother works a few hours away in Moquegua, and visits only every once in a while, and in about early February, we were told that he had brought her to Church (she had gone to Church tons of times before), and we were like, “What?!?!?” and went to visit her. The next week we started teaching her, and tried giving her a baptismal date. That date passed, after both us and the zone leaders tried to get her baptized that day. We gave her another date…it also passed. She wanted to get baptized…but she wanted her answer. (My companion said that she wanted the Spirit to appear to her or something, which was not too inaccurate.) Finally, about a month ago, we visited with our branch president…and he went to town. She was taking an eternal marriage class with him, at her request (she´s unmarried), and he was explaining (very directly, but with love) to her that, well, she can´t really be taking a class like that when she´s unwilling to be baptized. He also read Revelation 20:11-15 to her….and something finally clicked. She set her baptismal date, for this past Saturday. She said who was going to baptize her (at first it was going to be her brother, but it ended up being our branch president). And this weekend…after 12 years…she finally did it. She still has some issues recognizing her testimony…and needs to pray more. But she´s doing well. She´s terrific…a bit crazy (she definitely drove us crazy trying to get her baptized these past few months)…but it´s wonderful that she´s a member of the Church now. She´s been demanding her missionary lessons (she´d been taught them over and over, but she wanted us to teach her them again), so we´ll definitely be visiting her quite a bit more to follow up and keep her active and everything. 🙂
- I turn 1 year in the mission this week. Right after our pensionista´s daughter, Peyton, had her 1st birthday on Friday. My emotions, as always, are quite mixed. Also, I´ve heard we may be going home a month early, in April, due to visa requirements or something. Don´t quote me on that. But wow. Time passes so fast. It´s great to have Elder Armijo and Elder Valerio (who are obviously both turning a year old as well) here in the zone with me…hopefully they stay around when we have transfers in a week. Yikes.
- My companion got his patriarchal blessing this Sunday. That was cool.
And…once again, I think, more or less, I covered all I wanted to. Emphasis on more or less. 🙂 I love you all so much, and I hope things are going quite swimmingly. I always wish I could write you all more, but for now, keep writing me, and I´ll respond whenever I can, and I love hearing from all of you. You´re all in my thoughts and prayers. I´ll get to call home in a week or two! 🙂