You are right, mom, the year is going way fast. I almost have 6 months in the mission already. What? Crazy. Also, it feels double crazy here because the weather hasn't changed hardly at all and to me it feels like April. But it's December. ¡Cómo marcha el tiempo!
Thanks for stalking for me and giving me updates on everybody's lives. At this rate, seems like pretty much everyone will be on a mission or married when I get back, but it's cool. And I am so very happy to know that the N family is finally getting baptized! I'll have to write them a letter one of these p-days. Also, speaking of facebook, apparently I have a friend request from someone named M. It's V, I guess her real name is M but everyone calls her V because she was born on Valentine's day. So don't decline that request, just wait and accept her when I leave this area.
Dad, I haven´t exactly seen what Brother Powell described, but that is also my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon and the people here definitely feel the Spirit when we read it with them.
Timo, sounds like you had the time of your life in New York! I do love that city. You got to do a lot of things that I didn't when I went (Brooklyn Bridge, Metropolitan Museum). Super fun. Maybe you'll get your mission call there. I kind of secretly wanted to go there if I went stateside. Have fun with your mission papers and know that I pray for you every day.
This week was pretty good. We accomplished our goal of 20 lessons with a member present! The standard of excellence for the mission is 30, and it's only a matter of time until we meet that goal, too. C and S have been coming with us to all the lessons every afternoon and it's been really great. Strenghten the new convert, have more lessons with a member. The bad news is that I really didn't put in much of an effort to be ready for his baptism this Saturday, so we had to move it to this week. Other bad news, T was the only investigator that we had in church this week, even though we were expecting about 8. So there's still plenty of work to do. But, we should have two baptisms this week, if all goes well. And we have baptismal dates for every Saturday in December, so hopefully all these people can come through.
We had a super cool experience this weekend. To start off, V's mom is the most Catholic person I have ever met in my life. Every once in a while we end up teaching lessons over there because that's where V, J, and J are, and she has no problem with that. She's been present for a few lessons and she participates. But the other night, she asked to talk to us. She shared some problems that she has been going through and asked for help. We put an appointment for the next day and talked to her. It went pretty well, and we scheduled a family night with her and V's family for the next night. We taught the restoration in the family night and cleared up her doubts on why we don't pray to Jesus and the Holy Ghost, why we don't worship the virgin, why we don't use the symbol of the cross, all that. It was really great, and you could really see the spirit working in her. We visited her and her husband Sunday after church and taught the plan of Salvation. We challenged them both to be baptized and they accepted a date for the 29th of December. It was an absolute miracle. Afterwards, they asked us to give them blessings for their health, and everybody felt the Spirit really strong. We challenged them to take off their cross necklaces and sleep without them for one night to see how it would go, and they said they would. The Lord is working miracles in this family. It started with one less active member and now her husband, son, sister in law, niece, mom, and dad are all listening to us, despite the fact that none of them wanted anything to do with us about a month ago. This church is true, and when people feel the Spirit and have a willing heart, it works miracles in them. I can't wait to see what happens with them. There are still a lot of challenges for them that they need to sort out, please pray for them this week.
Thanks for sending the baptismal clothes, and thanks to Sister Maag for providing the money for them! Thank you all for your love and support, for your prayers for me and your faithfulness in the gospel. Things have been really hard for me here--for time's sake, I haven't shared the challenges that I've had--but I am receiving so many blessings and learning so much. Elder A and I really are working hard to help the work go forth here, and we are being blessed with lots of results. Jesus Christ lives, and this is His church and His work. Never doubt it. Trust in Him. My new favorite scripture right now is John 16:33. He has overcome the world, and through Him, we can too. I love you all so much! Have a great week!
PS We are thinking about setting up so that we can use Skype when we call home this Christmas. Would that be possible for you? Would your internet connection support that, or could you find some other place to do it if not? Let me know what you think about this, so we can set it up. Love you!