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"Our God shall fight for us" (Nehemiah 4:20)

Que pedo

I hope you're all doing great, these last few weeks have been pretty run of the mill here in Catocha. April is the hottest month of the year here, and it's just been getting worse haha

This week is the "Tope de Mayo" festival here in Catocha, celebrating the end of summer and the start of winter as they say here. The weather turns from super hot to super rainy usually right as May begins. I'll include some videos of the parades and celebrations at the end.

The work in Catocha has been slow, but good. Our big problem has been getting people to come to church. We have 2 investigators who say they know the church is true, and they've been learning about it for over a year, but neither one has ever come to church on Sunday. They always sleep in or are busy. We're praying that they can accept the invitation to "come and see" this next week, because we'll be having Stake Conference in Jalapa.

It's been kind of hard adapting to the unique problems we face in Catocha branch. I feel like we are literally trying to move mountains here. Mountains of distrust, mountains of hate, mountains of doubt, etc.

I love that one of the major themes of the Old Testament is that we don't have to do it alone. As Nehemiah said, "Our God shall fight for us." In the scriptures, when people got prideful and thought they could "win their own battles," the Lord often allowed them to try (and usually fail) all by themselves. I know that for the work to truly move forward in Catocha, the Lord will have to move mountains in His own time and in His own way. All we can do is keep working and trust that the Lord will fight our battles.

One awesome experience we had recently was with a woman named Ondyna. Ondyna has also been taught for about a year, but she didn't ever seem to show that much interest. She would allow us in, but she wouldn't read, pray, or come to church when we invited her to. So, as we sadly often do as missionaries, we prepared to give her a "drop lesson." (a.k.a. ask her if she really wants to learn more and become a member, and if not we're going to have to stop visiting her for a time)

So, we show up, planning on giving that lesson. During the prayer, I felt I should share Mosiah 26:21-24 which says,

21 And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive.

22 For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive.

23 For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand.

24 For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.

As we read, I thought to myself, alright, I'll ask her if she wants to be one of the Lords sheep, and then I'll explain what it takes. If she's not willing, we'll have to tell her we have to stop visiting her. As we finished, I asked her what she understood from the scripture. She said "I really liked the part about baptism... that the Lord freely forgives us as we listen to him and are baptized into his church."

In that moment, I felt to ask if the missionaries had ever invited her to be baptized, and, to my surprise, she had never been asked. I asked if she wanted to be baptized and she said she did.

My comp proceeded to explain the requirements of baptism and what it really meant, but her little son decided to throw himself off of a chair, so we kind of had to end abruptly. We are praying Ondyna comes to church now that she has a goal to be baptized and (hopefully) understands now why the church us so important.

Despite some success with older investigators, finding new people to teach has been tough. We knock doors for a few hours, find 1-2 people, and by the next week they no longer answer their door. Trying to activate less active members has also been tough, because they almost always just say "if it's God's will" if we ask them if they'll be at church on Sunday.

But what's important isn't the results, it's the journey. The Lord will fight our battles, we're currently just doing everything we know to do to help Him with that.

Thank you for all of your letters and support, sorry I couldn't send any emails last week, our mission had some technical issues and we didn't have internet.

I love you all,

Elder Telford

Among these pictures you'll find:

-random pictures of my district

-a stray pig we saw in exchanges

-a massive termite nest thing in a tree we found while doing service for an inactive member

-some pics with a view of the Suchitán Volanoe which overshadows Catocha

-Some pics of our p day activity in La Laguna de la Güija (we went fishing )

-Root beer .

-2 pictures with stories. The one with the glass, we were going by the church and we thought someone was breaking in because we heard glass break. So my comp went in, fists up, but there was nobody. I found the glass and we figured out that some kids were throwing empty beer bottles through a window that had been left open. We closed the window and told the local leaders.

The photo where my comp and I are sitting in the dark is because after we went to the lake, we took a bus to a place called La Arenera. It's not a town, it's just a gas station in the intersection between Catocha, Mita, and El Progreso. So the busses to our area go through there. Even though we got there early, every bus that passed by for about an hour was completely full, and didn't even stop to try and let us in. So it was around 6:30, and getting dark, and pretty soon there was going to be 0 busses. So we started calling everyone we knew with a car. Long story short, Ondynas sister in law gave us a ride. Lifesaver.

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