Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16, 2013

Dear family,

First of all, we had our Christmas conference yesterday, so that is why I'm writing you today. It was a lot of fun and included all the missionaries serving in the south (outside the capitol). Usually, everyone travels to Santo Domingo for one big conference, but with the recent growth in the number of missionaries, President decided to split this year into 2 conferences. It was admittedly a bit anti-climactic because everyone came to our area, but it was well done - it included a nice Christmas dinner, skits by each of the 4 zones, and lots of singing.

This week, we decided to start teaching a Clase de ReligiĆ³n on Tuesday nights in response to several people who have asked if there is any other times they can come to church besides Sunday morning (it's like institute, but for anyone over age 30). And also, in response to the overwhelming popular demand, we are also now offering free English classes on Saturday mornings. It's a great no-pressure kind of way to get people to visit the church - and after only the first week, one of the girls who came to the class showed up to church the next day.

I'm also proud to say that we had 4 investigators and 2 menos activos in church this week. Of course, Domingo was there with his big smile and his little stack of books. This was the fifth Sunday in a row and his baptism is scheduled for this coming Saturday. He has been having a hard time giving up coffee, though, and he can't drink any this week or his baptism will have to be postponed. We have faith in him, though: a few years ago, he was able to quit drinking and smoking all on his own. Today we are having a special fast for him and we also plan to meet with him a few minutes each day before Saturday for extra support and preparation. I wish you could all see him, though - he's grown so much these past few weeks, he's so ready to take this wonderful step in his life, and he already seems like a member of the branch. Please keep him in your prayers this week so that he will be able to get baptized this weekend.

Yudi also finally made it to church this week. She’s the quiet young woman I mentioned in my letter 4 weeks ago who is really dedicated about doing all her reading assignments. She's very intelligent and always has great questions and comments. She even has a baptismal date for the 25 of January. She's quite reserved, though, so it has been a bit hard to get her to church. So this week, we were thrilled that she came.

In fact, it worked out perfectly because it turns out that Yudi knows Pamela, our stubborn, little investigator (who was in church for the second time this week after much persuasion and our agreement to do her morning chores for her if she would just go put a dress on).

So Yudi sat with Pamela, who was sitting with her menos activo sister Leilany. To our delight, Leilany has been in church on time for the past three weeks, before which she hadn't been for several years. Hermana Sanchez and I agree that she is showing the signs of someone who is truly reactivated (among which was reprimanding Pamela for being late and not combing her hair).

And finally there's Daniel, who is a primary school teacher working on his master's degree. We've been teaching him for several weeks, but he has really only started to progress this past week. When we first met him he was very friendly, but also highly skeptical with a tendency to interrupt us while we were talking. In our first lesson he told us that he didn't believe that there was one true church and that the only thing that he knew about Mormons was that they worshipped Jose Smith. In our last lesson with him, however, we were amazed to hear him speak up to his friend that was saying the same things and clearly explain to him the need for a living prophet and the authority of the priesthood.

Since then, we've passed by his house several times and seen him studying his pamphlet about the Restoration, and on Sunday morning he surprised us by sliding silently into the back row 20 minutes into sacrament meeting. It is the quiet but momentous moments like those that make missionary work so fulfilling.

All my love,

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen

Kaitlin and Hermana Sanchez

Christmas Conferencce in the mission

Kaitlin and Hermana Matteson

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