Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm grateful to Heavenly Father for all the blessings!

First off, Elder Fogelberg and I are doing better and better each week. He’s someone who is willing to work as hard as we have to work out here, but at the same time, we can relax and share stories from home, or BYU without getting homesick. I love it. He asks me a ton of questions about the country, the people, the mission, etc. Tomorrow, President Oliveira will be coming here to impart training as usual, but it will be Elder Fogelberg’s first training on his mission, and he’s pretty excited about it. I’m grateful to Heavenly Father for all the blessings that he has given us.

So this weekend, we had the baptism of Orlandina. Everything went well, and she was prepared to take upon herself the promises to follow Jesus Christ. We found eight new investigators this week, and we have a total of 8 baptism dates marked. There are several challenges that lie ahead of us, but we’re going to do all that we can to get these people to church and get them to progress for their own true happiness.  One of the challenges that we have here is the location of the church because it’s a 25 minute walk from our house in a 90 degree heat. It’s very hot, and of course, being that Bela Vista is a very poor area no one has money to pay the bus. So we just walk with the investigators. Every Sunday, when we get to church, we’re soaking wet, and in a suit, it’s a bit tiring, but we got used to it very quickly. Most of the investigators don’t seem to have a problem with walking so much, but still remains a challenge.

This week we will be preparing this woman for baptism, and her name is Firmina. She was, for years, in this terrible relationship with her husband. Her husband would often beat her, threaten to expel her, and even threaten to kill her. He has quite the temper, and he has caused much pain to her and her children. She has been taking lessons from the Elders for a very long time. She has even received a visit one time from President and Sister Oliveira, and the Elders, us included, have tried to visit her husband many times, but our efforts have been in vain. He’s not interested in changing at all or accepting the invites that we give him. Two weeks ago, Firmina and her husband got into a huge argument, and he threatened again to kill her. She took that as the last straw and decided to leave him. Finally that she has separated from him, she can move on to what she wanted to do for a long time, and that is to be baptized. This woman has an incredible testimony and is right now living in a wood and tin shack with her 3 year old child. She does not even dwell on all the things that have happened to her, but instead looks forward to her baptism.

There is this one family that we’re teaching, and they remind me a lot of Jocyleida and Andirson, but only a little older. Abilio is 35 and Sandra is 32, and they also live in a very small tin shack in our area.  They have gotten all their documents to get married, but Satan tries everything to tear families in prospective apart. Right now, Sandra’s mom has some serious health issues, and she has to go all day every day to take care of her. Abilio’s ex-girlfriend, who he shares a son with, is making some big time fuss about his plans to marry Sandra. She really has no reason to do so, other than Satan. He tries to destroy everything. He never succeeds when the investigators do what is right. We had this incredible lesson last night with them, where both Fogelberg and I literally felt the spirit moving our mouths for us. They’re going to pray and see if they should proceed with their plans to get married. We hope that everything goes well.
We also went by Andirsons’ house on our way into the city. His family is doing amazingly. Better than I thought as new converts go. Andirson is doing tons of church service for all the charity that the branch has given his family. He’s preparing for the Melchizidek Priesthood, and everything is going super well for the whole family. I’m so proud of them and grateful that the Lord has blessed me so much with all these sacred experiences.
Elder Cuestas


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