Friday, November 14, 2014

2014-11-10 ... it will be one of the most memorable moments of my mission...

Hey Everyone,
This was an awesome and fun week.  My companion and I are getting along really well and we are really comfortable with each other which makes everything easier and better.

First of all, my pensionista moved far away from my area which means we needed to switch pensions.  We found someone who is willing to cook for us as a service twice a day and it only took about 1 hour.  You could never do that at home.  Its hermana Joanna Ancalle.  She is a professional pastry chef and cooks delicious food.  I sent you a picture of a dessert in a glass before.  Now she is our pensionista.  She also lives right on the main road so it is a very convenient location too.  My old pensionista was not my favorite so I'm really happy that we got to switch.  Last night she made us enchiladas which were great.  She also made us a delicious apple pie a few nights ago.  When I thanked her and said it's the first time I've eaten pie in Bolivia, she boxed up half the pie and sent it home with me.  Anyway, I'm loving the pension.  It's also good because she had a somewhat active 19-year-old son who should be getting ready for a mission who we eat lunch with every day.  Hopefully we can have a good influence on him.

Last Sunday, Kevin and Samuel showed up just on time for church but it looked like they'd just rolled out of bed.  When we went to visit them during the week, Kevin explained why.  He'd hurt his foot playing soccer on Saturday night and when he woke up it still hurt so he decided to just keep sleeping and not go to church.  He said as he laid in his bed he couldn't sleep and then heard a voice that said translated to English something like, 'Kevin, get to church, you are going to miss out on good things.´  It was 30 minutes 'til church started and he woke up his brother, they threw on clothes and ran to the church.  He still got there before the majority of the members.  Anyway, he's doing great and I think we are going to go to the temple with him in the next 2 weeks.  Samuel is also doing great.  He reads the Book of Mormon every day.  As soon as his dad gives permission, he'll get baptized.

We had monthly leadership council this week.  My companion and I gave a 30-minute class based on how to use the ward council to help more investigators attend church.  It went well. 

On Saturday there was an event to celebrate 50 years of the Church in Bolivia.  It was mostly the members doing the traditional dances.  Each region of Bolivia has its own dance.  The missionaries could go if they took investigators.  We were supposed to go with Benancia's husband and kids but the husband got home late from work so we went with her kids and their grandma who only speaks Quechua.  That was fun Quechua practice.  It was a blast.  Since all of Cochabamba went, I got to see a lot of people I know.  I ran into Maria Terrazas  (who got baptized in Alamos) who I haven't seen in ages.  She'd moved to another ward but she told me she still goes every Sunday.  That made me happy because lots of people go inactive when they move here.  I also got to talk to Sergio Villca on the way out.  He used to accompany me in divisions in Villa Graciela.  He graduates from high school this year and told me he's gonna leave on his mission next year.  On the way back home, we were in a taxi/van thing.  I was sitting next to Oliver and he told me he wants to be baptized.  Now Benancia, Selma, and Oliver all want to be baptized.  
Junior, Isabelle, and Raul
We had an awesome lesson with the whole family when we got back.  We talked about the Sabbath day which looks like it will be the biggest change for the family since they don't have much money and both work some Sundays. However, when we taught the commandment we felt the Spirit strongly and they did too. Instead of justifying their working they just told us that they'd look for the way to change and that they know that God will help themI love that family and it's awesome to be able to teach a whole family together.

Michel and Katerine, the Bustamante twins, are still excited for their baptism.  The mom is not a member and isn't on board with them getting baptized this week.  The member dad and older sister are very on board. They were supposed to talk to the mom and explain why the twins should be baptized and tonight we are going to talk with the mom and see if they have her convinced so the twins can be baptized.  I really think it will work out.  I just don't know how we can get to the mom.  She is tough.  Every once in a while she listens to us but she just argues with everything we say.  Anyway I'm very excited for the twins and they are both very firm and sure in their decision that they want to be baptized.

Wilfredo got the Priesthood on Sunday and after church went with us to do visits.  He is doing great and loved going out to do visits with us.  He bore his testimony when we taught the Bustamante mom and it was the only time that she let one of us talk without interrupting to argue.
area of my mission we hadn't been in before
This was one of my favorite weeks in the mission.  I felt the Spirit a lot.  One of the best moments was the taxi ride home and chatting with Oliver.  I asked him why he wanted to be baptized when he told me he did.  Then I talked a little about how he needs an answer from God that it's the true church.  He asked me how I gotten an answer and I explained.  And as I did I felt the Spirit strongly and it got me thinking about how coming to know of the truthfulness of the gospel changed my life.  There really is nothing better nor more important than the gospel.  I am a happy and blessed person because of it.  Living the gospel is by far the best way to live this life.  And I told Oliver all that too.  I don't know what impact it had on him but it will be one of the most memorable moments of my mission and a moment I can look back on as a source of spiritual strength.  The Spirit confirmed what I already believe and know.

I love and miss you all.  I hope you have an awesome week.  I can't believe how fast time is flying by here in the mission.  Don't forget to make time to go to the temple.

Elder Howlett

P.S.  D&C 61:37-39

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