SO this week me and Elder Wihongi did great. I feel like this area is progressing a lot right now and the Lord is preparing the people here, for the conference coming up, which will turn this branch into a ward. We have been getting lots of great possibilities lately in this area. One family in particular we are working with is the family Quavedo.
The Hermano is menos activo but his novia right now is not. He's the only baptized member in his family. We started visiting them to try and re-activate the Hermano, but after we started teaching him we realized that the Hermana was interested as well. So we started visiting Sergio and Augustina more (that's their names) but for some reason we always showed up at the worst times, right as they were leaving so we were only able to share a quick scripture and plan another day to come back and teach the first lesson to Augustina. Every time we went back they told us about something interesting and spiritually impacting that happened to them that week. Augustina told us, one time, she already knew our message was true and wants to join our church and we still, at this point, had not even taught a her a full lesson!! haha. it was awesome. And Sergio helped us so much, as well. He would answer her questions about the church when we weren't there and then tell us the answers he gave her to make sure he told her right. Finally when we had time to sit down and talk with them, we taught them the first lesson, and Sergios daughter (who was an old investigator) was also there. We Managed to set dates and goals for them for baptism. The best part was that me and ELder Wihongi barely had to do anything with this great family. They had already decided, in their hearts, they were going to follow Jesus Christ and do what was necessary to start their path of discipleship.
Also, Me and Elder Wihongi have been growing more unified as a companionship and missionary work has become more enjoyable than ever. Elder Wihongi is a capo. He is hilarious and we quote "lord of the rings" lines to each other all day. So, As I mentioned last week, me and elder Wihongi are about equal in our Spanish speaking skills. This has made for some rather interesting lessons and situations. But, since me and Elder Wihongi are both struggling with the language right now, our “charade abilities” have skyrocketed! Elder Wihongi is particularly good at it. I feel like we could teach a whole lesson together, right now, without saying anything at all. Just letting our bodies do the talking for us!! If they ever have a ward or stake talent night…...watch out!
Mercedes is awesome and I’m super excited for the next couple weeks here. It's starting to get cold. I busted out all my winter gear. We'll see if we got the "right" clothes and shoes for this area during the next couple of months. It's not TO bad yet, but I do have to apologize every single time I shake someone's hand here, because they always go "oh geez, your hand is like Ice!" Haha.
This might sound strange, but i love how difficult some of the people we've been meeting here are. I love it because my personal study has become so much more focused and has been so much more effective. I have to be on my “spiritual A game” here in Mercedes because we’ve come across some very difficult situations. We met a family the other day and were able to teach the first lesson. Everything was going good. Nice and normal. Then afterwards, they asked us to bless their house because they were being haunted by spirits. haha. Awesome. We also met another lady and some of her family last week. She belongs to a bizarre religion. We've been begging and pleading with her to give up her religion because it superbad and crazy!! They basically worship spirits and sometimes sacrifice animals. We were super blunt with her. We were like, “Hermana this is wrong. You're not going to find peace in this at all. You need to throw all your religious trinkets outside your house and not practice for two weeks and see the difference." She declined because she said one of her “religious holidays” was coming up and so she couldn't stop because the "Saints" of her religion were coming down soon (from the sky) to do some ceremony with the practicers here. Hmm...We´ll go back in a couple of weeks and try again. But her family is really cool, if not a little loud.
We also have been working with a guy who believes all we have said so far, Like everything. BUT, he can’t accept a latter-day prophet. Oh man, that was such a frustrating lesson!!
So…….Bikes are Awesome! So much faster than walking. But the dogs are also a little more brave when you're on a bike! There’s nothing scarier than a big black dog coming out of the shadows of death and trying to bite your feet! Though, when you're in this situation you can do a number of things. I have created a list of evasive maneuvers that I am testing out.
1) Pedal to the metal and get out of their.
2) Kick it in the face….while you continue pedaling with the opposite foot. (Sorry dog lovers.)
3) Yell “CUCHA” at them, which means “doghouse” in spanish.
4) Get off the bike and start fighting them, with said bike.
5) Pick up a rock (which usually works because they are smart enough to figure out that THAT means something...)
6) Throw the rock.
All very useful and very effective. My personal favorite is the "CUCHA" technique, its simple, but effective.
For some reason we don't get fed here in Mercedes as well as we did in Villa Tesei. That has been difficult, because Elder Wihongi and I LOVE to eat!!!! Luckily the food here is super cheap, so me and Elder Wihongi have been buying and making our own great food lately. I bought two kilos of mandarins today for $1.50. AWESOME.
But anyway, this area is awesome! I love it here and I love you guys!
Elder Ren Porter
#1 & 2- me and Elder Wihongi (all bundled up for warmth)
#3 & 4- some of the awesome Catholic Cathedrals
#5-the “farmland” part of our area
#6- a road near our apartment