Dear family y friends,
The fall weather here is just about as unpredictable as fall in Utah. One day it will get pretty hot, and the next day freezing cold. I am still preferring the COLD weather, y I think all this back y forth hot cold hot cold with the weather has me coming down with a bad cold. :( Hot, cold, rain, wind, sickness, tiredness... the work must go on! y overall we had a really busy, but satisfying week!
Started off the week good Tuesday morning with a Zone Breakfast before we had district meeting. We all got together in the church y the zone leaders cooked us waffles y french toast. First time in 19 months that I have eaten waffles... y they sure were tasty! Instead of messing with trying to make maple syrup like last time we got together, we ended up just putting Dulce de Leche on everything which was very tasty anyways. :) This week it was my turn for the first time in 4 weeks to teach the workshop in District Meeting... y it actually went really well. The Assistants to President Stapley were there y Elder Cockriel came to be with my district. Everyone participated really well y I enjoyed the discussion y learned a lot as well!
I actually spent several days outside of my area this week doing intercambios with the 2 companionships in my District. They actually both work in the same city y share the biggest ward in the Stake of Quilmes. Tuesday after district meeting Elder Knowles y I went back to his area. They have had a rough past couple of weeks y have been companions in the same area for almost 4 and a half months. (Very long time to be with the same companion...) I actually knew Elder Knowles a little bit beforehand since we were in the same zone in Avellaneda, but this was my first chance to get to work with him y it was fun getting to know him a little better. We had a really good experience contacting a reference from another area where they give us the name and address of someone who is interested in listening, y any other details they feel like including. In this case, the person we found happened to live at the same address y have the same name... but was NOTHING like the description they gave us. She told us she had never talked with missionaries before y hadn´t ever heard much about the church. We talked with her for a minute outside her house y just as we were about to leave her husband got home from work y invited us in to talk. We had a great chat with them about the Book of Mormon y they seemed really excited to learn more. Wednesday around lunch time we switched back with our companions y I spent the afternoon working in our area.
Early Thursday morning it was off to Gutierrez again to work with Elder Gonzalez, and to do several baptismal interviews they were needing for this Saturday. I also knew Elder Gonzalez right when he got to the mission when I was serving in the Coast y he was being trained in an area near by. He is a very hard worker y they are having a lot of success in their area. Thursday y Friday just happened to be random holidays here so the buses were running very behind y we ended up losing a lot of time waiting. Also it took about 3 hours to do the interviews of a part member family. The father is a member, y his wife Sandra y daughters Carolina (13), Camila (12) y Erika (10) were the ones getting ready to be baptized! They are great people y as always it was a great experience getting to know them. I was suprised y impressed to hear about the sacrifice they make each Sunday to walk 30 blocks to church, but as we talked I felt their testimonies and desires to be baptized y follow the example of Our Savior y realized that they knew WHY they made the effort to be in church each week.
In the time I was able to work in my area this week we were able to visit la familia Palavecino. This weekend my companion and I decided to fast for them because the father is having a really hard time giving up the other church y is holding the rest of his family back. We passed by their house yesterday morning to go to church together y the father came out y told us he had to go to work so they wouldn´t be able to go, but promised that they would all be there next week for General Conference. He is a very good man, we just keep hoping y praying that he will have a change of heart y recognize the blessings that are awaiting him y his family in the church.
Another one of our investigators is also being a little difficult. (though I suppose no one said missionary work would be easy...) His name is Oscar, y his Wife y daughter are both members. He goes to church EVERY week y always says his prayers y reads the scriptures. My companion has been teaching him ever since he got to the area (6 months ago), but for a lot of that time he was in the Coast for the summer supervising a property they rent there. Even while they were on "Vacation" he went to church every week! The only problem is he won´t commit to baptism y we have tried everything we know to try to figure out what his doubt or concern is. All he ever tells us is that he wants more TIME to think about it y learn more. This week we had a really good talk with him and he agreed to be baptized on April 9th... but I almost feel he just accepted it so we would stop bugging him about getting baptized. My comp is especially excited about the idea of baptizing him since it is likely that April 9th will be his last Saturday in the area since we have transfers the following Monday.
Good day at church yesterday. Somehow I was able to avoid giving a last minute talk and the Bishop called on my companion instead while I was talking with some new people that I hadn´t seen in the ward before. In my goings about I actually found 2 people who weren´t members. One who was visiting with a friend, and the other, Leonel (21), who was visiting with his Uncle who is an inactive member of the other ward that we share the church with. I sat with Leonel during sacrament meeting and introduced him to several of the young single adults afterwards. He seems pretty excited about the church y we have an appointment tomorrow to hopefully teach him and meet the rest of his family!
Anyways, thats all for this week! Enjoy general conference this weekend y I can´t wait to hear some of your thoughts next week!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse