This week really has been quite the delight! Sister Hildenbrand and I were talking this morning about how it's weeks like these that just make the mission seem so worthwhile. We have one solidly progressing investigator and one investigator that just needs to get a couple health problems worked out before she can come to church and then we'll have TWO progressing investigators!! It makes me feel so warm and happy inside to see both of these women making such long and strong strides towards baptism and eternal salvation! Sounds kind of corny and silly when I write it, but I really am filled with such great excitement for them. It gives me more energy and motivation to work harder and help more people do the same thing.
So, we had an incredible experience with Theresa - she's the wife of a very active recently converted member. When her husband first joined the church she was honestly angry. She would try to distort doctrines and kept asking him to quit going to church. But her husband stuck it out. He gave her lots of books and manuals (Triple Combination, Gospel Principles, True to the Faith, etc.) but she still just didn't really give a hoot. Then, He wanted to receive his Endowment. So, the Stake President came to his home to interview him and his wife and ask her permission for him to do that. She consented and as they got to know each other, President Lowe felt very impressed to ask her (or challenge her) to take the missionary discussions. She'd talked to several missionaries before and had scared the daylights out of them with some not very pleasant remarks at loud volumes. But, she consented. President Lowe gave us the referral because he wanted sisters to teach her (even though she is actually American and speaks better English than Spanish). During our first couple meetings with her she threw some hard questions and wanted to have a confrontation with us. We didn't really bite onto her hook, but it really scared me and made me very unsure and feel really sad for her. She refused to believe that Baptism was a commandment. Also, she had a really hard time with the fact that her husband had been baptized for one of his brothers that had passed away many years ago. She kept saying, "How does he have the right to be baptized for someone that can't consent to it?!"
About a week passed before we could come again - we'd made several appointments and she had to cancel for legitimate health reasons. When we met with her, everything had changed! She had been reading the Book of Mormon (80 pages or so), and had been zooming through Gospel Principles. She explained that everything was starting to make sense and that after reading this stuff she has just really felt more peace and has been more calm and hopeful about all the things that are going on in her life. It is really incredible to see that someone's heart can be softened by the still small voice. She is getting very good at recognizing the Holy Ghost in her life and is ready to make the changes she needs to get baptized. During that next meeting after she had so defiantly pronounced that she wouldn't believe Baptism was an essential ordinance, she told us, unprompted, that she wanted to be baptized.
Theresa has really been prepared. As she talks about the experiences she's had in her life, she is recognizing that she has really been prepared.
Rosa is getting prepared to be baptized soon and she came to church for the second time in a row yesterday! She got there 10 minutes early - before all the members! She's the sister of an inactive member and his family. I think that as she is starting to put her life in harmony with the teachings of the gospel, that she is going to be a very good influence on them. Her Nephew, Angel, he's 12 and when his family was baptized he was too young and now they're inactive so he's never been baptized. He asked Rosa if she could take him to church, so she even went and picked him up. He had a really good experience at church and is going to Young Men's tomorrow and has told her he wants to be baptized. How cool!!!! They both came to church in their Sunday Best and since Rosa was there, Hno. Palacios asked her to say the closing prayer in sacrament meeting and she was all for it! She did such a great job! It was such a tender and simple prayer.
This week really just has been amazing! Also, yesterday at church one of the inactive members that we've been visiting came! She missed most of Sacrament Meeting (which is unfortunate because it really is the most important part) but she STILL came late and brought her 2 year old daughter. She was welcomed back into loving arms and I pray that she will continue to progress in her membership.
Food story...so Sister Hildenbrand and I were talking and saying how when we get home from our missions it will be a long long time before we eat rice again because we get lots of mealsthat consist of rice, beans, and chicken. We were complaining about having it sooooooo often...well. Heavenly Father sure showed us that we should be grateful for that very meal because we went to a less-active's house and she fed us egg, cheese, ketchup...and bologna sandwiches on the kind of white bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth! She gave us each four slices of bread so we could have two sandwiches each. So, we choked down the first ones. As I hurried and made my own sandwich I got away with just eggs and bread on the second one, but the member put 2 pieces of Bologna on Sister Hildenbrand's bread after she had already tried to get away with just eating the eggs. She said, "No you're forgetting the bread! It's for you!" So, she had to eat another sandwich plus extra eggs...poor dear! I took pity and may have hidden half of the second sandwich in my pocket (skirts with pockets are hard to come by, but heaven-sent!). With that said, we will gladly eat rice, beans and chicken every day for the rest of our missions!
This email is really long and we must be going now. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day on Sunday! Mothers sure are wonderful! I know I sure do love mine :) She's the best!