Monday, January 27, 2014

Wet Laundry and Dry Members

Querida familia,

This week has been really enjoyable. I'm growing to love La Venta more and more the longer I'm here. I love the area itself, but the people here are just so fantastic - investigators and members alike.

As of right now, we don't have a lot of investigators. This is mainly because the ones the other Hermanas had before I arrived all got baptized - which is amazing - so we end up teaching quite a few recent convert lessons. The few investigators that we do have though are all progressing.

First, there's Estefani, a quiet, sweet 13-year-old girl who is scheduled to be baptized on the 15 of February.

Then there's Miguela and Manuel, a mother and her 9-year-old son, who have been attending church faithfully for several weeks. They both want to get baptized and Miguela is reading everything from General Conference to the Doctrine and Covenants. The problem is that her 'husband' doesn't want much to do with the church. However, things started to change a few days ago when he happened to overhear Manuel praying that God would soften his father's heart so that they could go to church together. There is always something powerful in the simple sincerity of a child's prayer, and Miguela certainly has hope for him, too. Time will tell.

Next, there's Fausto, whose wife Judi and 10-year-old son are baptized, but he still has his doubts. He's been investigating the church for 9 years and attends church most weeks with his family. He reads and he prays, but he says that he feels like he's never received an answer. We're trying to find out what exactly is holding him back, but I have no doubt that he'll get baptized someday (even if it’s not for a while longer).

Fausto is what is called a dry member: someone basically lives their life in accordance with the gospel, but isn't baptized for one reason or another. There are several in this branch, including Mario (who lives right below us) and the 2rd counselor's wife Raisa, who insists that she's Catholic but leaves mass early every Sunday morning to come to sacrament meeting.

Finally, Hna Erickson and I have started teaching an amazing family in Tierra Llana. The parents' names are Arturo and Miguelina and they have three young children. They truly are a golden family: very kind, sincerely interested, actively looking for a church, and highly family-oriented. They have amazing potential and we have high hopes for them.

So that's pretty much all the investigators we have at the moment, so we've been working to try and find some more. As I mentioned though, we also teach a lot of recent convert lessons because they make up the majority of the branch, and I've found that I really like it, too - we visit a lot of wonderful converts. I don't really have time to talk about them all this week, so maybe that can be the bulk of my letter next week.

Interesting things that happened this week:

- Arturo and Miguelina gave us chinola cheesecake (passion fruit). It was amazing - my new favorite dessert.

- It rains more in the capitol. So far I've left all my laundry on the line during a downpour and we've been splashed practically head-to-toe while walking along the side of the highway. It was actually quite hilarious.

- I ran out of bug spray and it’s so expensive here I didn't want to buy anymore. Several people told me that white vanilla extract works just as well, so I decided to try it. Now, I always smell like vanilla and it really does seem to keeping the bugs away.

- I finished El Libro de Mormon for the second time this week. I feel like I'm going to be a lot more familiar with the scriptures in Spanish by the time I get home.

All my love,

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen

P.S. I found out that Daniel and Pamela got baptized last Saturday! I'm so thrilled!! Daniel has come so far and I didn't know if stubborn little Pamela would make it, but they both made it and I'm so proud of them!

Church in La Venta

View from on top of the church

View from on top of the church

Kaitlin and Hermana Erickson

Teaching English class - Kaitlin and Herman Erickson

Making empanadas for a zone activity today

Daniel getting baptized in Azua

Pamela getting baptized in Azua

Hermana Sanchez and her new companion

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