So sorry that I didn´t give you then heads up that we had a conference yesterday and Pday today... we didn´t find out in time to email you last week about the change. Elder Foster, a council in our area 70 and Sister Foster are doing a mission tour and they started out here in Ushuaia. I learned SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much and it was such an amazing conference! I want to share a few things that I learned from the conference.
The whole theme was "crecimiento real" or real growth in the church. We are baptizing, but then some go inactive, other previously active members go inactive, etc. He told us that in one stake in 2005 their were 755 active members, in 2010 there were only 661. But the thing even crazier is that that stake had had 482 baptisms in these 5 years. WOW... so we really need to help these people stay active and help those we have to stay in the church. We talked about how we REALLY need the help of the members to do it... we as missionaries will eventually leave, and really our duty is to find, teach, and baptize. Yes, we love working with recent converts and less active members, but we also have to find more people who are ready to come unto Christ through baptism. That´s why it´s so important that every member has a friend, and assignment, and nurishment by the good word of God. I especially want to mention the importance of Home Teachers and Visiting Teachers... SO essential.
Hermana Foster talked alot about having faith in yourself. I really needed to hear that this week. She said that we have to get down to our knees but look up to heaven. I really loved that.
President Foster had us start out by all thinking what we would want to say in our final prayer as a missionary. Who we would want to have become, how we felt, how we learned, etc. It was a really powerful moment for me. I just kept thinking that I want it to be a prayer of total gratitude. For the people, for my comps, for the converts and baptisms, the members, the areas, President and Hermana Gulbrandsen, the language, for the culture, for the things that I have learned and experienced, for my amazing family and EVERYTHING they do so that I can be here, for my friends and their support, etc. etc. Then I want to do what we learned from the missionary talk from priesthood session (Mom... thank you so much for recommending reading it last week. Changed. My. Life!) and talk about the things that I´ve learned and how I am going to use them in future service in the kingdom. I want to have really and truly become and instrument in the Lord´s hands. I want to be transformed. I want to be His.
President Foster showed us a diagram that I´ve seen before, but is just so true... there are three ways to do missionary work:
1. Missionaries do everything (study, plan, teach, obedience, etc) and this makes for about 100 baptisms per month in a mission
2. Members help the missionaries (go to lessons, pray for, etc.) and this makes for 200 per month per mission
3. Missionaries help the members (THEY give us the references, bring their friends to church and activities, and we just teach) and this make for 400 baptisms per month per mission.
WOW... This is such a key! We are talking about SALVATION here... we can baptize WAY more when the members really understand that this is missionary work, not the missionary´s work... that we are hear as full time teachers. We need the MEMBERS to be the full time finders. We need a vision that missionary work is the work of the CHURCH... the work of the MEMBERS...
Yes, it was super great! I loved, loved, loved the conference. I learned so much from the speakers and more importantly from the Spirit. I am grateful for all that we learned and we´re super excited to put it in practice.
I also got to sing the special musical number with Hermana Milmont who is serving in Rio Grande (about 3 hours from here and they come for conference) and it was sucha great experience. I loved doing it with Hermana Milmont. She´s one of my favorite Hermanas and we really get along great!
Mom got here!!!!!! I love being with Hermana Gonzalez again! She is just the cutest thing. I really wish that I could have had way more to offer her. I know that she had a hard time with 4 months in super difficult Congreso, and I wish that she could have got here to like 100 baptisms.... but ya... that didn´t happen. I was super down to be honest and feeling like "really???!!!??? Why is it that everyone that was progressing so well had to go on vacation?? What did I do wrong? Where did our baptisms go?" and then I realized that I was being like Laman and Lemuel and murmuring a whole ton and my problem was that I just needed to GO and DO. Hermana Gonzalez was super awesome about it too and just said, "hey... sometimes that happens. Let´s get out there and find new people!" She´s super great! We´re really looking forward to the success that we KNOW we will find... we might have a few tough weeks, but we aren´t worried. It will come!
Hermana Gonzalez is super funny, just like always. My favorite is when we have to hike up to the barrios and she always says "I just don´t like it at all when you say that!" hahahaha.
So to explain, yes Hermana Gonzalez was in the south... and yes it was her that we looked at the penguins when I was blog stalking... but she was in Rio Gallegos, which is more north from here. She was SO surprised to be coming back to the south... but the funny thing is that she was SUPPOSED to come here from Rio Gallegos and then a volcano erupted and she couldn´t get a flight so she went back north, and a transfer later trained me... we figure that there is DEFINITELY someone here that needs HER.
Speaking of blog stalking... I found out that Herman Pinto in Congreso still reads my blog!!! YAY!!! Shout out to Familia Pinto. I love you both and hope that all is well. It was so fun to see pictures of you both from Hermana Gonzalez. You are both so great! Thanks for all you do for the work!
Also, Brother and Sister Gonzalez read my blog! I love that! I am so excited to meet you both some day. I love hearing all about your lives! Also, thank you for having such an AMAZING daughter. I just love her!
So Hermana Malhue´s last day here (SAD!) we decided that we DID have righteous desires to ring the doorbell on the big house... they are children of our Heavenly Father just like everyone else... so we did it!!!!! haha. Oh man! The man actually came out and talked with us about his family and everything!!! We gave him a folleto... um... I think it´s flier... no... pamphlet??? Oh English... anyways, we gave him one and tried to set up a return appointment, but he told us that he had everything that he needed in his life and didn´t need anything else. Bummer. I think we´ll stick with working in the more humble areas. At least we planted a seed and he has a Folleto.
Yes, it was hard when Hermana Malhue left. Cried? Of course. But it´s ok. I know that she is needed in Capitol and I am really excited for the adventure to continue on here and be working with Hermana Gonzalez again. We didn´t even have to have the awkward getting to know you phase. It was great. She already know´s that I´m super awkward, super clumsy, etc.
Hermana Gonzalez´s first full day here was her Bday! It was super fun! I didn´t want it to be a big bummer, so I had already told like the whole world that it was her bday before she got here. So I made a cake and we ate it with the Elders and district meeting that day, our lunch appointment had ice cream with candles and everything, everyone wished her a happy birthday, and that night, Veronica brought us a half kilo of ice cream! Sweet! It was a fun day.
I forgot my camera chord again... sorry, no pics this week!
Well, another week down! I can´t believe how fast time flies. I love being a missionary. I have a strong testimony of the gospel that grows every day. I know that this is the Lord´s work and that we are just His servants. I know that the church is true. I know that Jesus lives. I know that we are lead by a prophet of God. I know that the scriptures are true.
I love you all!