I have had some good realizations this week, and a great baptism and confirmation :)
So Thannyat Gabriela Lopez was baptized and confirmed a member of the church this last weekend. She's 21 and we met her the day of her birthday, Jan 14 of this year. This last week we had her baptismal interview and she said some cool things to the zone leader that he told me later on. She said that on her birthday she had been praying to find the truth, that she wanted to be doing what was right, what God wanted for her. That same day we showed up at her house following her little brother Moses who we had met and taught in the street with a bunch of other little street kids, haha. Everything I had studied to counter Jehovas Witness' doctrine came in handy as I taught her the Restoration of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation. It really is the Plan of Salvation that all the other religions just get so mixed up. But she read and prayed and received a testimony and was baptized within a month of meeting her. It is incredible seeing how God works and nothing makes me happier than to know that I was in the right place at the right time. I think I am really learning to recognize the Spirit better and follow it. All you have to do is seek the will of the Lord and He puts us where we need to be. I also have to be willing to be wrong. As I have done that I have been shown my weaknesses, and been given the tools to make them strengths.
I am trying to be better at lifting others up. Como dijo Jesucristo en Lucas 22 "Una vez vuelto, fortalece a tus hermanos." Once you're converted, strengthen your brethren. I am converted to this Gospel. I want to be able to say what Paul said in Efesios 3:1 about being a prisoner a Christ. There is a good talk in the May Liahona of 2011 about what it means to "Remember Him always" like it says in the sacrament prayer. My companion and I gave talks in Sacrament meeting. We had about 20 people there I think. But I really think we are just going to hit a point and have a ton of people, haha. Patience. The Elder's Quorum President asked us to go out with him this Friday and help him get people to church. We'll do that and keep our eyes peeled for new investigators. March should be a really successful month. Right now in Guayaquil is whats called Carnaval. 3 days where no one works and everyone stays home partying, which means drinking and getting everyone wet. We heard some horror stories of how they soaked the missionaries last year with paint, but we'll see what happens. We are staying away from the more sketchy parts of the neighborhood.
Oh yeah, so something I realized this week, well yesterday. A false idea I used to have was that the mission was going to get easier with time. Haha, I mean, with my investigators and their challenges and the challenge of leading them to baptism. It was really hard my first few months and I thought that it would eventually just get easier, that Satan would kind of give up once he realized I couldn't be discouraged and it would be like "follow the yellow brick road to baptism" for everyone I talked to. Well, I learned, just as Dorothy that the yellow brick road to baptism has trials. And the trials are specific and difficult for each person that takes the road. The tin man, the lion, and the scarecrow each had to overcome their personal trials. Every person I help on the road to baptism has to overcome their personal trials too. I don't know why I thought Satan would give up on trying to beat me. I now know for a surety that he won't, but I have to tools to make him powerless.
I had a dream here on the mission where it was like I was in a really cool looking video game of knights and dragons and stuff. I was a knight with this cool armour and I was fighting this mean looking dragon. I had like a magical guide that told me where to hit the dragon to beat him. So I got the dragon chained up and I kept giving him blows with my cool sword. But then my magical guide told me that if I stopped fighting him he would break out of the chains and destroy more things. He told me I had to keep fighting constantly until the King came and killed him. Then iI woke up. The significance of this dream has changed the way I go about my day. I have a new focus. We just can't get comfortable.
Going back to the house to grab the baptismal clothes before going for Thannyat with some members was just going to be an in-and-out of the house kind of thing. But we always pray before leaving the house. In that prayer I usually remember everything I had forgotten to grab. So we went in and out and I had the second thought of praying and thought "Nah, we were here for 2 seconds and they are waiting for us." and we went out. The door shut. We live upstairs and there is a second door downstairs that leads outside. You need the key to leave the house. I forgot the keys. We were stuck and the landlords family wasn't home. We can't get comfortable. Prayer, scripture study, every day, all day. I said a prayer in my heart and climbed up and through the window and got in the house in like 10 seconds. All that parkour training came in handy, haha. And the baptism was great.
We can't afford to think ever that Satan had forgotten about us because we are in the Church. On the contrary it is us who he wants to get most. He already has everyone else. We must keep striking blows against that dragon until the King comes and puts him in his place for a good thousand years of peace. I hope this email is of use to you. I hope you are all reading. I won't hear that someone went inactive while i was gone. I love you all so much.
Until the King comes again,