We also ended up dropping two recent converts this week. One of them was probably the most frustrating lessons I've ever been in. He told us that he felt like his life was super hard and that he didn't feel like he was being blessed. We told him that the Lord wouldn't give certain blessings if he didn't go to church or pay his tithing, but he argued and we told him what he had to do. There was also another kid who hasn't been going, and each time, it's a new excuse. The thing is, our branch would be FILLED if all of the members in the area attented, but SO many people are inactive...
So... because our investigators didn't come to church, we now only have 3 baptisms for Saturday. Which is great, and I'm so excited for those who are being baptized, but also super sad for the others. Also, super sad for me, or Elder Garcia, depending on who's transferred because most likely one of us won't be around to see the others baptized. But! The important thing is that they make that covenant eventually.
My spiritual thought this week is my testimony... I want to let you guys know that the more I share about this gospel, the more I have faith in it. Faith is a principle of action, and the more I act, the more faith I have. But I truly believe in this work. I know that our Father in Heaven is there and that he loves us. I know because I've talked to him. I talk to him every night and every morning. I pour out all of my feelings and thoughts to him. His spirit has been with me here, and I've seen the difference his gospel has made in the lives of people here. I know the book of mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know these things are true, and I wish I could just make people believe. But then It wouldnt be faith. So I'm going to help as many people that are willing to come to gain that faith and knowledge for themselves. I love Christ, I love this gospel, and I love this work.
Love, Elder Anderson
Another letter we received this week in response to some questions I asked:
Thanks for the recipes and for the go ahead on the packages! I am now really excited to open them! So, to answer your questions:
1. My training's going really well. I think one of the toughest things has been realizing that I'm not very experienced and I need to rely on someone else. That was an internal battle for a while, because I'm used to being the one leading, and in charge, but I think I needed to learn some humility. As far as transfers, I feel like I'll probably be the one staying here in San Juan. Which, I'm a little nervous to show someone an area, but I'm sure it'll work out well.
2. The apartment is great, and the other two Elders are awesome! We have a lot of fun! And! There's another trainee here, who came a transfer after me, so I'm not even the newest Elder in our house, or our district! (Our district is just us 4 in the house)
3. My comp hits 17 months in a few days, so he came in a year and a month before me. When I arrived, he'd been in the area for just a transfer, so he's now been here about 4 and a half months
4. It is a third world country, but I've been surprised by the technology. The majority of people here have cell phones (sometimes pretty nice ones too) even if their house is just a few rooms. There are definitely some poor areas here in San Juan, and it's pretty sad to see. The branch building is pretty small. Just a chapel, and a few rooms. It's like a minute from our house though, so that's super convenient!
5. Like I said, the branch is pretty small. And there are so many inactive members. The branch president's wife is like, 1st counselor in the primary presidency, but she's the only active member, so she has to do everything alone. On average, I'd say we only have like 50 people in the branch on Sundays.
6. My favorite experience has been our baptisms, and finally seeing the fruits of our labors, or seeing Manuel quit smoking. (He's been smoking for 40 years, and now hasn't smoked in two weeks) Seeing lives change is incredible.
I just want to let you know that I hope your talk went great! I heard good things about it from Dad! I sent you a letter, but I have no idea when it'll get to you. Hopefully by your birthday! I love you mom, and I really can't wait to talk to you on Christmas! Oh, and things are good here! Don't even worry because I know that I'm being obedient, and I know that's the key to happiness. Love, Elder Anderson