This week was incredible! On Monday night NONE of our citas was in their house and one of our now ex-investigators hid from us in their house (that’s not too abnormal for missionaries) so we were walking in San Juan and decided to visit an old investigator of the trainer of Hermana Rodriguez here in San Juan. Her name is Sandra, and she lives alone with her three daughters since her husband is working in the states! So many brothers and fathers leave their families to work in the states and it breaks my heart because I know that I would have hated to have spent 14+ away from you, Dad, just for money! I always tell everyone here when they ask me which country is better that the best place is where your family is. 🙂 We taught the Restoration to Sandra and her daughters (11, 6, 4) to refresh their minds and as we taught and testified I just felt like THEY felt it too. We also had an activity with them on Saturday. We made brownies and watched Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s testimony of The Book of Mormon. They are a great great family and are very positive, so we were SO excited about them coming to church with us on Sunday! We passed by their house in the morning and waited and waited and finally one of the daughters came down to tell us her mom was on the phone with her dad in the states and that he told them they didn’t have permission to come with us. 😦 We were disappointed and it’s always SO HARD when everyone tells you they will accompany you to church, then at the last minute no one ¨has time¨ or permission. But we are working to help people feel a strong enough desire to feel the spirit and receive blessings and answers to their prayers by coming to church. Our branch has about 500 members, with between 60/70 who are active. There’s lots of work here to be done and we are blessed to be a part of it. 🙂
Tuesday and Wednesday we had DIVISIONS and I stayed in San Juan with Hermana McGill and got lost a few times since I only have three weeks here and all of the streets look the EXACT SAME. It was so so so strange to be with a gringa and there are so many words that we use that I don’t think are actual words in English but make sense to us. I don’t know how any of you are going to be able to understand me when I’m speaking once I’m home. It’s the strangest thing ever. It’s just so hard sometimes to think of words I want to use when I’m talking. Our Spanglish is ridiculous. Hermana McGill has such a great and happy spirit and it was a great time for me to learn and set goals, as it always is for me during divisions! She goes home in three weeks and she is a great great missionary and servant of God. We did some good contacting and also had some great lessons, with investigators and also an inactive family whose daughter wants to serve a mission! On Wednesday Hermana Rodriguez returned and we contacted an inactive woman who was baptized in a different town and then moved here! She is so great and hilarious and fun! The lights went out are 6 o’clock so we had to come back to the house and start language study early with my little flashlight, haha.
Friday we had interviews with President Smith and he taught me something that really changed my perspective on much of missionary work and our lives here in general. We talked about how, in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 33, the Lord says HE will gather His chosen ones. If we work with all our heart might mind and strength, He will put His own harvest on our backs and let it be our harvest. We cannot harvest anything unless we do it with the Lord, because HE is the one who is actually gathering His sheep. He also asked me what faith is, and then told me, ¨Hermana Marcheschi, faith is power. Faith is power.¨ He talked a little about that concept, and how faith comes from an increasing spiritual knowledge, but it has made me meditate a lot about whether I have the sufficient faith, whether I have the sufficient power, to be able to do all that the Lord wants from me here on this Earth, and what I need to do to develop more faith! Feel free to share with me your insights on how faith is power! I would love to hear. 🙂
Sunday was so special. This is the smallest branch I have ever been to, but I realized that the members who go every Sunday, as they were bearing their testimonies, are so strong and have some of the most powerful and simple testimonies that I have ever heard. One of the elders in our ward had the opportunity to give his first baby blessing for a less active sister who is now beginning to come to church again with her father, who is also returning to church. He was nervous and President Ordoñez whispered the first part to Him as he said it but then it was just so simple and powerful and I felt so strongly the power of the priesthood in that moment. I love this gospel and I know that this church is the true church of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all and I hope you are doing well. I would love to hear from all of you!! 🙂
All my love,