Elder Fris has been transferred to Zaculeo, up in HueHuetenango. My new companion is a gringo from Utah, named Elder Miles. I don’t know why, but every time President Smith puts me with a gringo, he always matches me with one of the tallest gringos in the mission. It’s like he’s trying to rub it in. At least I’m still taller than the average Guatemalan.
I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me the strength to bare my challenges with patience the last few weeks. This week, things are looking up for us. Fortunately, Elder Miles and I didn’t have to walk around the streets very much this week because nearly all those whom we contacted on the street this week openly accepted the invite to set an appointment to study with us. I feel strongly that the people we met this week were actually prepared in advance by the Spirit to hear the message of the restored gospel. For example, the first new family that we have recently begun teaching recently had to suffer through the loss of their father. He was actually an active member of the Church, until he picked up drinking again in recent years. We had a great conversation with his widow, Esperanza, about how God often allows us to go through trials so that He can humble us. Through our humility, He is better able to help us find the desire He has for us, so that we can more fully enjoy all of His blessings. After our conversation, Esperzana expressed a desire to get baptized on September 17th, as she feels that this is really the Lord’s desire for her.
The other new family that we have started teaching happens to have family members who are currently serving missions. They were very interested in finding out why LDS young men and women go on missions, and what the message is that we share with others. We extended the challenge to the family to read the entire book of 3 Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, and to ask God if it is true. The father accepted our invitation on the condition that we accept his invitation to us. The invitation he extended to us was to read the entire New Testament, and when we come across a scripture that describes God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost as the same person, that we should meditate upon it, and pray about it. We accepted his invitation, which will be easy, since there are no scriptures in the New Testament that support the doctrine of the trinity as the Catholics and many Protestants understand it. Instead, I will find multiple scriptures that will confirm the doctrine of “the Godhead.”
There is another family who is very open to learning. I think that a lot of the rapport we’ve built with this family comes from Elder Fris’s fondness for dog’s; This family loves their dogs. Elder Miles and I both happen to share the same dislike for dogs, so hopefully we can find some other areas where we can build a relationship of trust. I think the Lord is testing us, because Elder Fris had offered to wash their dogs before he left, and we got stuck with the task after Fris was transferred. I am actually grateful that Elder Fris offered to extend this service, because the family told us that they had been praying that God would help them better balance their household chores with the demands of their family business.
We also found a new inactive member this week with whom to work. When we visited her, she told us that she had begun to lose faith in the Church since nobody ever checked up on her, to see how she was doing, after her baptism, until the day we showed up at her home.
The Lord’s work moves forward here in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. I am elated to be a part of this great work. I still have more stories to tell about the happenings of this last week, but I still have to write them in my journal… so, I can tell you about them next week. I love you guys and will continue praying for you always.
Con amor, tu hijo, Jake