Its been almost a month since I last wrote, and so much has happened. I've been really really busy, which is kind of the best when you're engaged in such a noble cause
Since I last wrote, Estanzuela has been on fire. Mario Romero was able to get baptized at last, after being on the fence about baptism for over 2 years. Marvin Vasquez, a member returning to acivity, finally got to baptize his daughters--Rocío and Katerine--after being ordained a priest. Honestly, we haven't achieved that much here, all of the successes I've seen have been miracles. I know that as we have faith and do everything we can, the Lord works miracles in our lives.
The Zone has been doing excellent as well, but the goings about to get a lot rougher. Our mission president called a special meeting with the missionaries in our region (the interior, or the rural part of the mission outside of the capital) and invited the local leaders from all of our areas to attend. He talked to us about how faith can move mountains, and then announced that the plan was to create a new stake here in Zacapa.
That's a lot easier said than done. To have a stake, you're supposed to have 5 strong wards. I am currently serving in a district, which is like a stake, but is dependant on the mission for support, and consists of branches. In order to make a stake here, 2 of the branches here in my Zone have to become wards, and the 3 weak wards in Zacapa have to start acting like wards. In simple terms, that means we have to activate a LOT of people, baptize a LOT of people, and exercise a LOT of faith.
The mission is such a unique experience. Although there are high expectations, we don't have quotas. I'm not going to get fired if I don't work; it's a labor of love. Recently in my studies I keep coming back to charity. Paul taught that even if we gave everything we had to the poor, it would be worth nothing in the eyes of God if we didn't do it out of love. Our motivation is so important, because when we do things for the right reasons-- we change. We don't just do good things, we become good people. And God can bless us so much more and help us so much more. As a missionary, it's so important to strive to have charity, to be 100% motivated by your love for God and for the people you serve. It makes all the difference.
Right now we have another person on date for baptism, her name is Carmen. She's awesome, she really wants to know for herself if this is the true church. She lives all the way in Río Hondo, but she has come to church every week for the last month, and she told us she's seen a difference in her life in doing it. She's felt the Spirit more and she's been happier, and she wants to be a member of the church The only problem is, she doesn't turn 18 until November, so we're praying her parents will give permission (they're thinking about it) But, highlight of this week, he did give permission for her (and her sister) to come to the District Conference this last Sunday. It was in Guastatoya, which is like an hour and a half away. I felt the Spirit, and the twins really enjoyed the conference
Other than the work, I'm doing well. Estanzuela is still super hot. There's a certain bug called "Chinches" that are just the worst. They look like flying ticks. But you can't kill them, because once you do they smell terrible. There are millions of them around Estanzuela right now. At least I can say I feel like I've gotten used to Estanzuela by now, I can find my way around pretty comfortably, and I've learned the names of (almost) all of the members. I'm just getting started in this area, I'm looking forward to the next few months!!
2. Baptism of Mario
3. Baptism of the Vasquez girls
5. Learning to make Pupusas
6. Divisions in Zacapa
7. Missionaries of Distrito Motagua
8. Carmen and Hilary (twins) at the District Conference
9. Estanzuela Branch at the Conference
10. A strange fruit called Lichi
11-13 Pday (we went to a little waterfall and afterwards a little museum )