First things first, Happy Mothers Day!!! Not only to my mom, but to my grandma's, and aunts, and to my second mom (sister Betz). Thank you for loving me and teaching me.
Seeing my family yesterday was awesome, especially because Gerardo, Belen and Nefi, Franko, Enzo, and Gustavo were there. Who are all the people I baptized or helped convert here in Villa Tesei. Super fun. They got to meet my family and talk to them. It was so cool.
Also, the other Big News is we had transfer calls yesterday and as totally expected, by everyone and their dog, Elder Porter got transferred to the farm fields (campos) of Mercedes section-A. I was talking to president Robertson and he asked me if I thought I'd stay in Villa Tesei a little longer? I jokingly said "Ya, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be here my whole mission." (I've been in Villa Tesei the whole time I've been in Argentina. I've never been transferred.) He jokingly said back to me that "He thinks I need to workout those long legs on a bike for awhile." Which kind of gave it away that I'd be going to the "campos" or farm/country area, because that's the only place they use bikes. Everyone else stayed in Villa Tesei and we think Elder Rojas´s new companion is a Latino, which means now the number of yankees to latinos will finally be tied in our apartment. hahaha. Unfortunately, none of us could understand our zone leader when he called or we just weren't listening, so I have no idea who my new companion is, but vamos a ver, we´ll see, his name sounded latino, which would make sense because I've never had an American comp so far. I'm excited to see who it is. Awesome!!! Also Enzo Se Bautiso´!!!!! Enzo was baptized on saturday by his cousin Franko (my very first convert)!! It was such an amazing baptism. The spirit was so strong and Franko did the baptism perfectly. Capo! President Robertson ( our mission president) came to the baptism and he told us, "wow that kid looked really happy. I have no doubt he's going to be a future missionary." And Franko is about to put his mission papers in!! I told Franko that no matter what, I'd fly to Argentina when he gives his homecoming talk after his mission. I can't wait. He's going to help so many people.
So, Most of the people here live in very humble circumstances. They don't have money for things we take for granted. One of the things they don't always have money for is church clothes. All of my converts and friends I've made in this Ward and area are always admiring my ties (my mom has good taste). I knew I was going to get transferred so I brought a bag with ALL of my ties to church on Sunday and let them all pick their favorite one to keep. It's pretty funny because Enzo wanted the one I wearing, which was actually my most favorite tie, but I was happy to give it to him. What do I care about a dumb tie anyways? It's amazing how UN-superficial you become when you're surrounded by such humbleness. It was a simple thing, a seemingly inconsequential thing to you or I, but they were so grateful and happy. It made me realize how many things I've taken for granted in my life. I've never had to go without, and I'm grateful for that. But I'm even more grateful that my eyes have been opened. That I got to learn and see, firsthand, how blessed my life is and has been. It fills me with immeasurable joy to think of Enzo passing the sacrament for the first time in my "favorite" tie, or Franko wearing my tie on his mission, or Gerardo wearing my tie when he and his wife and son are sealed for eternity in the temple.
Funnily, while we were skyping my family on Sunday, Enzo was just in his regular street clothes but he was still wearing my tie around his neck. My mom saw it on the screen and said "hey ren. That's your favorite tie." Haha. (Down below is a picture of Enzo's baptism day, where I'm wearing said tie....for the last time.)
What a great week, seriously. We tried hitting some areas we don't usually work in because the work is so hard in these areas. We were blessed and able find some new people and re-find some other really awesome people. There were some days, as well, where we were looking for people for a solid couple of hours and found nothing! But I'm grateful for those moments because it made us appreciate the miracles that DID happen. We were walking all around one day looking for some people we had planned to contact and we weren't getting anywhere. And then bam we got a lesson and then after that one we got another one. It took us all day but we managed to get 2 lessons. Those lessons, for me, were very special lessons, filled with spirit. You feel so much more gratitude for things when you have to work hard for them. And I know that finding and teaching those people after so much walking and searching was the Lord's blessing to us for just pressing forward and not letting discouragement get the better of us. That day was awesome.
Also, all the elders and sisters in my zone had a meeting yesterday morning with the stake president, his counselors and president Robertson and it was Great. I especially liked it when one of the Counselors talked about the newly baptized youth named Enzo in the Villa tesei ward who was baptized by Franko (Hey! They're talking about my spiritual brothers! I perked up when I heard those names). But something really awesome he said, as well, was that we need to start talking to more youth in our areas, which is a great invitation. There are ALOT of youth here and they need ALOT of help. It is really hard to be a youth here in this area. There are so many kids here that are starting to drink and smoke at 13 or 14 years old and then by 15 or 16 alot of girls are already pregnant. Most kids here don't finish school and there aren't a lot of jobs, so a lot of the youth just stand around outside harassing people. It is really sad stuff to see and there is so much need for help. There is so much need for leaders. So much need for kids to join the church and leave on missions and come back and become the future bishops and stake presidents and so on. Sometimes its really hard to talk to the kids here because you're never sure if they are serious or just joking around with you or stringing you along for their own amusement. So, I'm so grateful he invited us to do that because from what I have seen from the youth that HAVE joined the church here is that they are stalwart examples to me of perseverance and faith and they have the most powerful testimonies and such strong spirits. We need more of them because they have SO Much potential to do good and I can see that they are already so much better than me and I feel so humbled by the youth here, especially when they are the only members in their family.
I consider it a miracle that I got sent here at this time in Villa Tesei to help people come unto Christ and by having the opportunity to see such progression and strength happen in such a seemingly short time. I'm freaked out honestly by how happy I feel just seeing someone I've come to love realize that God´s love is real and attainable and then feel the confirmation of the Spirit whisper into their hearts that these things are true. To witness the change of their countenance as they except the gospel into there lives. It makes up for all the heat, exhaustion, dehydration, frustration, sadness, and pain....a hundred fold. I'm very sad that I'm leaving this area and these people that I love with all my heart, but I am also excited to go to my next area and meet new people. Franko says it best. He said "its sad that you are leaving but I know this is God's Will for you to do this, because there are other people, like me, waiting for you. I'm just happy you came for me too!"
This work is true and the evidence is found in the members of this church. I know that God´s Love is real and He is a God of miracles.
Love you guys,
Elder Ren Porter
Baptism, me (with THE tie), elder rojas, franko, enzo, angel, enzo´s mom, enzo´s brother elias
Baptism. All the same people from above PLUS fransisco and president robertson!
me and brother omar our old mission leader. coolest guy ever! I love him alot.