This week Sergia got baptized! It was so much fun to see that family united even more in the gospel of Jesus Christ! Elder Scalise baptized her and she will be confirmed next Sunday! So much fun for that family! Elder Scalise and I have been so blessed recently! We've been working really hard recently to plan well, work hard daily, coordinate well with the ward, etc. I feel like my first few months here, we found a lot of success sometimes, and less success other times, but it was just kind of hit and miss. It's been a lot harder over all since Elder Scalise and I have been together, but it's also been more consistent. We've been learning and improving more or less together and are really starting to see the fruits of our labors, earned the hard way, after patiently pushing uphill week after week. I absolutely love the people we know here. We're meeting wonderful new people regularly and having a blast daily! I think stress is finally being transferred to joy in both of us and the whole area and ward is starting to grow the way things do in the real world, slowly, steadily, and consistently as we work for it.
Diabetes-Wise, doing a lot better. We just saw a bunch of patterns that answered a lot of questions and, long story short, Dr. Roberts isn't worried. That's not to say we're out of the deep end, but we're pretty sure we know the problem and thus can adjust. Thanks for all the prayers! They make a difference!
Challenge of the Week: This one has a bit of a back story. We started talking to this High School Senior named Ramiro a few weeks ago (named after his dad Ramiro, whose wife is Marciel, just if I've mentioned them before). He's a cool guy who just chatted about what we do as missionaries with us but wasn't interested in church or anything as he is an Atheist. I'll be honest, I really had been hoping to meet an atheist and had just given up hope a couple months ago. Yesterday, after the baptism, we went to visit Marciel and Ramiro Sr. with Bro. Atrice (who served a mission in Puerto Rico). Ramiro was asleep already and Marciel was busy but Ramiro Jr. invited us in because he likes to talk anyway. We got talking about after High School plans and Ramiro says he's really interested in Psychology. Brother Atrice studied Psychology in College with a business focus and so they got talking right away. Long story short, things connected to the Restoration of the gospel. We started talking about God and Jesus Christ's roles and when we shared about what prophets are he asked if there was one today, then how the prophets become prophets...after a bit (we had been standing around their kitchen counter) he said, "That's interesting...Ya'll wanna take a seat? We gotta talk." We laughed then sat down and talked and he shared how he'd grown up seeing contradictions in the Bible. Bro. Atrice shared how the Bible came about (Prophets all having their own books, Constantine calling the Nicene Creed and how essentially, [as we believe it]
good, well-intending men, though not authorized by God, debated and voted to determine what was scripture and what wasn't) thus the imperfections and following translations lead to a book of true scripture, The Bible, that simply lost the CLARITY and COMPLETENESS that was originally taught. Ramiro then said, "Well i you have a prophet now authorized by God, why can't he just make another book to clarify what's missing?" That of course led to the, "Interesting you should say that..." after which we explained what The Book of Mormon is [a record of all the "Books" from prophets and their teachings on the American continent (as the Bible was kept by the Jews and later Christians in the Eurasian continent) collected and abridged by Mormon (an authorized prophet of God), a project finished by his son Moroni (the last prophet of God among that people) then hidden to be given in the 1800s to Joseph Smith (a newly called, authorized, and guided prophet of God) to translate (1 time under divine direction) into The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which testifies of the truth of the divine identity, birth, ministry, atonement, death and cruzifiction, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible and clarifies the simple truths lost over time in the Bible.] How the Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other and testify of Christ and God, and that if the Book of Mormon is true, then God is our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer, and He directs His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints through a living prophet, called by God and authorized to do so and to act in God's name for the salvation of humankind. The challenge we left with him (which he accepted), if the challenge of the week this week for EVERYONE reading this (and is also the best part of the story). Science is the search for truth through putting claims (hypotheses) to the test in experiments. We go house to house, person to person, country to country challenging all of God's children to do the same exact thing: Read the Book of Mormon, take time to ponder or meditate about the message it contains, then "ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things (that the book teaches about God and Jesus Christ) are not true" Moroni 10:4. If you do, no matter what your current beliefs are (including those who are members and already believe this book to be the true word of God), with a willingness to act on the answer you receive and a genuine desire to know and accept whatever answer you get, then I promise you from my personal experience doing the same, He will make the truth of it clear to you through His Holy Spirit.
I know this church is true, I've put everything I can that it teaches to the test and I continue to test it all each day and I know that it is. The best part? You can, too.
Love you all tons!
P.S. Pictures coming next week!