We are super excited by a couple we are teaching named Esmeralda and Nestor. Esmeralda has been studying the Bible seriously her whole life, and loves the new things we are teaching her. She prays daily to know the Church is true, the only thing is that she's never come to it! She brought her friend Elsa to our last lesson which was a ton of fun. Her husband has a lot less knowledge, and is pretty hesitant about the whole thing. He's not the only one. Our other recent converts, and so many other people's spouses want little to do with the Gospel. It isn't very cool. The best part of teaching Esmeralda is hearing her pray, she is so sincere, and now prays to our Heavenly Father.
We are really excited by learning and living Preach My Gospel, sure we've read the thing, but learning, living, applying, and receiving revelation from it is something completely different. I've always been someone who stresses, procrastinates, crams, worries and regrets, but I now know that learning how to set goals and make plans for the things that matter most like Chapter 8 teaches really changes all that around. Planning=Peace. Instead of arriving at Sunday each week and wondering why nobody got to church, we discuss every night what we can do for first Tanya, then Artemio, then Esmeralda and Nestor then Alvaro and Juan Pablo to have a conversion experience in sacrament meeting, we base the specific plans we make for the next day on what we already planned in weekly planning. We report our efforts to the Lord and our Leaders. We know there's nothing else we can possible do but have faith in the Lord and the person's agency, and promise to be a little more obedient and diligent every day.
We saw tons of blessings this week. Apart from the 4 baptisms in the zone, the Lord led Elder Johnson and I to lots of new people, including Artemio. He has been off drugs from 4 months now, after using and selling them since he was 7. He's disabled, but spends his time drawing the Savior and reading the Bible. Years back, he had gone to our Church with his girlfriend, but he just wasn't ready to give everything up yet. He prayed on Thursday that the Lord would show him what Church would be the right "school" for him. Fifteen minutes later Elder Paulson and Elder Leftwich knocked on their door. Their called us, the Spanish missionaries, and we got their that night. We were amazed by humility and great desire. He accepted a baptismal date on the spot. The next day he was at the ward party eating tons of tamales and reading in the Book of Mormon with Hno Juarez (yep, the same one that fed and taught me twice a week earlier this year). He loved Church yesterday, and the members really embraced him. He'll be at Hna Mercedes' house today for Noche de Hogar. We've decided that within our companionship, the Lord is leading us to plenty of people, it's really our job now to step up our teaching and get them moving. I love being companions with Elder Johnson, he is always mindful of what the Lord thinks and wants, and hates it when the Spirit goes away. I can trust in him. We were just giving out tons of cards and didn't have much to show for it. We tried finding another way last week, we carried rakes around door to door and did a lot of service, telling them that "We are YOUR missionaries!" we'd of course give them the He is the Gift card, but then we'd testify of the restoration and invite them to learn more. We got 7 new people to teach. I am learning so much about really including God in HIS work, testifying of simple truths of HIS Gospel to let HIS Spirit testify to HIS children. I enjoyed it.
love , Elder Decker