Elder Randall Wrote This On Dec. 16th
Hola, familia y todos…
- Surprise…we had a baptism this week! I´ll have to tell you a bit about her now that I have the time. Her name is Alejandra, and she´s the mom of a member, one of the ward secretaries, who is married to the daughter of the first counselor in the stake presidency. (Random fact: He´s 31. She´s 18. And expecting their first child. And received her Young Women´s Medallion, apparently, after she was married. Mom, you and Geo are not alone in the age difference thing. :)) So a few months ago, when Elder Murdock was finishing up his time here, they told us that his mom, who at the time went to an evangelical church with her sister, was beginning to be interested in the Church, and she went to the adult session of stake conference with them (we went too, and didn´t even see her…weird), but she couldn´t go to Church, because on Sundays in the morning she went to the market. (“This little piggy goes to market…” Sorry. I make weird references when I can.) We started teaching her finally when Elder Quilcat had arrived, and she was wary at first, but soon started asking us tons of questions, was very receptive, and a few weeks afterwards, they told us that she was getting more excited about the Church, and had already stopped going to the other church with her sister, and also had decided to stop going to the market on Sundays, so she could go to our church. She went twice, and also went to the Thanksgiving Night activity, and kept progressing, was reading and praying and then a few weeks ago, we had a lesson with her (I was there in my area on exchanges with another elder, who has since been transferred), and we gave her a baptismal date, and she accepted. We taught the Restoration that night, and she told us she believed in all of it…that the Book of Mormon was true, in Joseph Smith, the First Vision, everything. So this past Wednesday, we were a bit concerned because we hadn´t been able to talk to her for about a week, and she wasn´t able to go to Church last Sunday, and we didn´t know exactly how she was feeling about her baptism, and if she wanted to get baptized that Saturday or not. Our district leader was on exchanges with Elder Quilcat, and they went to visit her. They taught about faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (the Gospel of Jesus Christ, lesson 3 for those of you recent RMs/people who are reading “Preach My Gospel” out there… :)), and then asked her how she felt about her baptism. Her son, her daughter-in-law, and the ward Relief Society president (all there) were apparently saying, “It all depends on how you feel. You can get baptized whatever day you want.” She then apparently said, all of a sudden, “Saturday, at what time?” And everyone freaked out, her son asked her if she was sure, she said yes, and “Why should I wait?” and that she was ready and wanted to do it. So it would have been awesome to have been in this lesson, because holy cow, it sounds so amazing how it all happened, but that it happened in general is awesome enough for me. 🙂 It´s been wonderful seeing the change in her, the growth in her testimony, everything. Her baptismal service Saturday was terrific. The stake presidency counselor and his wife were there, Alejandra´s son bore his testimony, all of them had been waiting for this moment…the Spirit was so darn strong. But then…Sunday…yeah. A bit of a snag. She didn´t come to Church, neither did her son or daughter-in-law, and was not able to be confirmed. She apparently had something come up and had to help her brother with something…something like that. It was a big disappointment, but she´s committed to coming this upcoming Sunday, and we´ll make sure she does.
- Wow, that was a long bullet. Still have a good bit of time, but I still need to be quicker. (“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Sorry, that´s a horrible quote to make as a missionary…Dad, name that movie. I´m sure you´ll recognize it immediately. :)) Anyways, so I already told you, Mom, but anyways, we tried making lasagna this Sunday with an hermana from the ward. Since the lasagna alone wasn´t going to fill us up, she made spaghetti first…but experimented with Chinese-style noodles…and they tasted weird. The hermana, me, and a bit my companion, got a bit of upset stomach. And then the lasagna…we only had one type of cheese, the noodles they had bought were pre-cooked, but we didn´t notice on the box that it said to soak them in water…and use lots of sauce. Thus, the top and bottom layers were not very well-cooked. 🙂 So yeah, the lasagna didn´t turn out the greatest, but after they gave me some Alka-Seltzer (well, here it´s a brand called Andrews salt…”sal de Andrews”), and I recovered my stomach, I ate a bunch of the leftover lasagna, though not much of the meat because it would have bugged my stomach at the moment. And now everyone´s scared to try another one of my recipes…well, mostly my companion. But that was a fun experience. 🙂
- My companion and I are doing much better now….after we had a bit of a shouting match yesterday. There were some things I hadn´t communicated with him well…or at all…and him too, and now we´ve worked a bunch of things out. We´ve agreed to communicate much, much more, and share things more openly. It´s going well so far. I had been feeling a bit down again, but once we got everything out, I feel much better, and much more excited to make this week, and the weeks afterwards, count.
- So a few funny quotes/experiences, courtesy of my companion: So yesterday, he was looking up “perdon” (forgiveness) in the Guide to the Scriptures (that´s what we have in Spanish instead of the Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary), but instead looked up “pendon” (banner/ensign), in the Elders´ Quorum class, and when it was his turn to share it, he went, “This is such a weird definition…” and started reading about a flag, instead of forgiveness…about 2 seconds into him reading, I went, “That´s ´pendon´…” 🙂 Yesterday while calling our district leader and explaining that today, we were going to get our hair cut and he was going to get his face cleaned as well, and thus we would be late for meeting up with the zone, he explained very generally, “We´re going to get our hair cut and they´re going to do things with my face.” I don´t know why, but I burst into hysterical laughter. Maybe it´s a “you had to be there” thing. 🙂 And then finally, when we went to that second family on my birthday (the one with the medium amount of my cake on my face), one of their daughters (they have 5, and 2 sons), he was commenting that her nose was a bit bigger than it should be, and that they could operate on it (in a helpful way, not a making-fun-of-her way), and then he blurted out, “It´s that that nose isn´t normal!” (For the Spanish speakers in the audience, since I think it´s funnier in Spanish: “Es que esta nariz no es normal…” :)) Everyone got a laugh out of that, including said daughter. Then the oldest daughter (she´s 18), everyone was sharing a birthday message for me, and she said that I meant a lot to her family, and that they would wait for me to visit them. My companion thought she said that she would wait for me, and said, “You´re going to wait for him?!?!” 🙂
- So Presidente Zobrist came. To our chapel. It was to give a second interview to Alejandra…we thought one of the mission presidency counselors was going to come, but nope. Him. And his wife. It was so surreal to have him in our chapel, but very cool. He speaks Spanish, but Hermana Zobrist doesn´t, so she was talking with all the Relief Society sisters finishing up their Christmas crafts…in English. Our Relief Society president understands a bit of English, so she was trying to help translate, but most of the sisters just responded, “Yes.” “Oh, good.” And other simple things they could muster. Poor Hermana Zobrist. But they all loved her and President. It was a nice little experience. 🙂
- Remember a few months ago that I was telling you all about Juan Carlos, who was going to get baptized, but skipped out on his baptism twice? When I talked to his friend last week (someone I knew from another area), we discovered that he got baptized there, after we stopped teaching him. Darn it, Ariel, could you tell that to Elder Murdock? I forgot to put that in my note to him. Anyways, he was baptized there, went like 2 weeks to Church, and then disappeared. But then we saw him Friday night, at a payphone, and he kind of ignored us. Bummer. And crazy that he got baptized, after we had him pretty dang close for a while there. 🙂
And so that wasn´t quite everything I had written down, but it should probably be enough for now. Garsh, I took a while with this. But there you go. The longest email I´ve sent to y´all in quite a while. Make sure to write me…I have more time now to respond to you all. In Technicolor. (OK, that´s still not available… :)) I love you all so much, and here´s some pics (of the baptism, one of my companion and I and Alejandra, and another of the ward members that came), and OH! Everyone…look for panetón. An example of the box is included in the pics I´m sending. I looked at the box of this brand and it says they export it to the U.S. It´s Peruvian-Italian. Try Lee-Lee´s. Buy it and love it and tell me about it and send me pics when you find a panetón).