I love you!
So sorry that we couldn`t write on Monday, again, but I have absolutely NO control over the schedule of President Baldwin. haha When he wants to have a meeting, we have to change or completely clear our schedules to fit his desires. Last week it was Interviews. This week it was a Trainers Meeting. So here I am finally, writing on Wednesday, and I would like to ask a special forgiveness from Grandma Welling...I know she gets a little crazy when Dad doesn`t post my emails on time. ;P
Okay, so I`m going to share first a few things that happened in my week, and then try to answer all of Dad`s questions and fill you all in on a few more aspects of my mission.
This week...was an emotional rollercoaster. First of all, my district had three baptisms two Sundays ago. This last Sunday, we had 5 more. It`s awesome being a leader when the members of your team that you direct have success and are all happy and content. The sisters, Hna. Cruz and Hna. Mascareño, had two baptisms, both young men, soon to be Priesthood holders. The elders, Elder Rodriguez and Elder Chavez, had six baptisms. In our area we are still waiting on our three baptisms, but I`ll have good news about Adrian and his family soon. =) We`re all working hard and enjoying success, but we still have a lot of room to grow as a district and as individuals. That`s the good news! Now, here`s the bad news. One of our former investigators, a member of a part-member family of all girls, died this week. We have been praying and fasting for Ana Marìa for about two weeks now (we even sent her hand.written letters to get her spirits up), but I guess that Heavenly Father needed her back Home. She passed peacefully, I believe. She was on the mend, making plans to get baptized, get married to a return missionary, or serve her own full-time mission, all for when she would come back home, but I guess she had to go. It was a tough experience for me, not because Ana Marìa died (I already knew exactly where she was, that she was at peace, and that she`s ready the moment she`s able to be baptized and confirmed), but because of the completely overwhelming presence of the Catholic Church in all the proceedings of her funeral. True, she was a baptized Catholic, but her whole family are members of the True Church. Nevertheless, the entire community swarmed the scene with their crosses, and their pantings of heaven and hell, and their repeated prayers, and their incessant tears and yells. We, as elders, helped the family, we taught them, we comforted them, but we could not guard them from centuries of conditioning and practice of an entire community in the erroneous traditions of a false Church. It made me angry...but I hid my anger behind a prayer in my heart. No one, besides the family of Ana Marìa, wanted to hear us. No one wanted to hear about the Atonement or the fact that our souls will rest in paradise if we prepare ourselves well. No one wanted to listen to the Restored Gospel...they just wanted to keep walking blindly in their old ways, and not open their eyes to see the real and true Light. This was hard for me to take...but I took it. I will be dedicating Ana Marìa`s grave next Sunday as a sacred place of rest for her until the Second Coming, and I`ll find comfort in that. I love my family and wanted to thank you all for helping me to grow in the knowledge about the True Gospel, the True Church, and the True Atonement and Redemption through our older brother Jesus Christ. I will always be eternally grateful to my family for the part you all played in MY progress to the point of when Death has no sting for me, just comfort and hope and joy. =) Please pray that the Familia Mancilla will be comforted and that they will find hope in the Gospel, to dry their tears and endure to the end.
Alright, I don't have a lot of time left (I kinda went off rambling...sorry) but I`ll try to answer a few of your questions now. My relationship with President Baldwin HAS grown a lot in these last two changes as a District Leader and now as a Trainer. I have had more opportunity to get to know how he really is and to let him know who I am too. He is almost always serious, but can have his fun moments as well. I still don't feel like he is a Dad-figure for me, but maybe eventually he will get there...He directs the mission well, and I now have a testimony that his decisions and our changes are truly inspired by God. He is not what I was expecting, nor what I was truly wanting in a Mission President, but he is a good man, and teaches me well. I have not heard anything more about the new mission, besides the fact that it will probably begin functioning in June or July of this year. I still have a suspicion that the new mission will take experienced missionaries as a Trainers for the new missionaries in the new mission, which means I could possibly change missions, but its definitely NOT a sure thing. Our Sunday services are from 9AM to 12PM and we only have one branch to direct and teach. Every fourth Sunday is set apart for the Mission Work and we are asked to talk every time. I`m given a talk on ¨Every Member a Missionary¨, and my next subject (self-chosen) will be one ¨Love¨. Unfortunately, I do not have the measurements that Hilton took for m y suit, but He says that it will be ready by next Tuesday! I went in to him yesterday for the final adjustments...and I must say...it`s going to be HOT! haha It`s an awesome, pin-striped black Kashmir wool suit, with two pairs of pants to match, and the Guatemalan Flag sewn in as the liner in my jacket. It`ll be one of a kind and it will only cost about 1100 Quetzales, about $130. It`s gunna make me look good...DANG good! haha I`m excited. I`m still skinny and this change I`ve actually been receiving a lot of comments that I look even thinner than I did a couple months ago. =) Now I`m going to try and bulk up with muscle, and keep trimming the fat. =) Perfect Pushups...here I come. We cook for ourselves for all three meals and I`m learning many dishes, both familiar and native to Guatemala. =) Yesterday I learned how to make ¨shukos¨, basically a hot dog, Guatemalan style. =) It`s fun. That`s what we`ve been doing for P-Day this change. We pick a dish we want to make, we learn how to make it, and then we make and eat it on Tuesdays. =) And finally, Hermana Xiomara Zumeta washes our laundry, BY HAND, dries it, irons it, and folds it, then gives it back to us in TWO DAYS after we hand it off. Isn`t that AMAZING, without not one machine in the process. =) Alright, did that cover all your questions for today? Keep them coming.
Alright, I`m out of time. I`ll write again on Monday. I love you all. Keep your chins up, your views always set on Heaven, and I`ll do the same knowing my Family is on it`s way to ETERNAL GLORY! =D
-Elder Preston William Tucker