It sounds like you guys had a super fun week/weekend! It is good to hear that you were able to have some fun with Lane and Laura and everyone. So Amanda graduated! That is pretty awesome too that she was valedictorian (however you spell it!). It was great to read your emails and see the pictures and feel like for a moment that I was there with you all.
This week was a little slow... I am not sure I have much to tell :)
Our numbers were a little low this week, but Elder Harper and I have been talking a lot lately about people, not numbers, are the most important. Our leaders keep pushing us for higher and higher numbers, but we really don’t know what to do differently to achieve them. We do feel, however, that our efforts really are helping people to progress. Bety and Valente (jr) are doing well still. We have been able to teach them quite a few times this past week. Now her husband, also named Valente, is pretty active in the lessons too. At first his attitude was more like ''if you want it, go for it, but I'm good''. After he joined us in a lesson about the book of Mormon though, asking us a ton of questions, we gained his respect, and now actively listening. They are so grateful for us for coming that almost every time after the lesson Bety comes out with a huge glass of milk for each of us and sweet bread almost every lesson. Sometimes we feel bad having to eat it so fast because we have to go, but they really are super good. And they all three came to church yesterday! They even arrived a half hour early because they were so worried about being late! They were only able to stay for Sacrament, but said that next week they will schedule things so that they can stay for all of it next time. It was great to have investigators at church and progressing! We still need to teach the Word of Wisdom with them soon, as it appears to be their only real problem with living the gospel. While we are drinking our glasses of milk, Valente, and sometimes Bety, are drinking a mug of coffee... and they have a shelf of alcohol that I noticed a few visits ago. We see how that goes. I am sure that they will be willing to give it up, especially if we can bring the Spirit into that lesson.
Sad news about Karla though....We were finally able to talk with her, and she told us that her husband isn’t allowing her to be baptized anymore, and that he doesn’t want us to come by. And that is why she hasn’t been coming or opening up. It is really sad; not sure if we can do anything but keeps her and her husband in our prayers. Maybe it still isn’t her time yet.
Last Sunday the Bishop had an interview with Victorino so that he could get the priesthood. We ended up telling the Bishop that he felt unprepared. So this week we taught him and help him understand the Priesthood. We were confused when the Bishop talked about two different Priesthoods and that we would, because of his age, be ordained a Priest. So we helped him understand the difference between the two, and I ended up giving him a pep talk about him being ready and that everyone was supporting him, and that all he needed was to have faith and be willing. And he was faith. It was like one of the quotes that you sent me; That the power of the priesthood is far greater than the one asked to perform it. He said that he would accept it, so on Sunday he was sustained and in Elders Quorum he was ordained a Priest, and I stood in. I still don’t know if he understands what happened, but I have faith that with time we will understand better and better.
On Friday we tried to paint two different houses, as service projects. the First was a less active family, but we got there and they hadn’t even bought the paint. She told us to wait there while she ran to the shop to get it, so we changed our clothes and ended up waiting for an hour, so we changed again, and told her we could come back another day. When she came back, she wasn’t even able to find the paint... we will see what goes down on Wednesday when we go back to try again.
We were successful; however, I painted the second house. Well, it was more like painted the concrete wall around her house, but still. She is an investigator, and the first time that we saw her we asked if we could help her with anything, and right away she asked us to help her paint. So, before even teaching a lesson, we came and helped her paint. Afterwards we asked if we could share our message with her. It was getting late and we didn’t have time to change, so we taught her the first part of the first lesson in our shorts and t shirts. She wasn’t super thrilled about our baptismal challenge, as she is super catholic, but I hope that our service will help her want to keep listening.
We had a hard choice to make this week. We went to visit Lupita, but we didn’t have a member with us, and we can’t teach women alone. When we verified that there wasn’t a man home, we told her we would look for someone and come back, but then she started crying and asking us who told us that she was crazy and why we didn’t want to come in. So reluctantly we came in for a drink of water and then shared a scripture with her, and then ended up teaching a lesson about the Book of Mormon. It was bad because we broke a rule teaching her alone, but she really needed it... we just need to plan better next time. I still feel like we did the right thing though.
But yeah. So Victorino is now a Priest and Bety and her family are counting down the Sundays when they can be baptized. So I guess that even though numbers are low, we are still having success :)
Thank you so much for your Emails! It was super fun to read them. I really did try to send a picture, but it took forever and then told me that the attachment failed. oh well.
I love you all so much and am enjoying my time here in Mexico!
And I am drinking a lot more purified water!
I love you all so much.
Elder Hayden Redford