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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

[Note: items in blue brackets have been added for clarification]
Hey Guys!!
It's been interesting here this week! We're marrying a family this Friday, and I found a bunch of new people to teach while we were doing Divisions [missionaries split up and go out teaching with members] a few times this week!
We have some baptisms this coming Sunday, although the family is falling apart in our hands. The parents are separating because of preexisting problems, and this Sunday we only brought two of the kids with us. It's a very strange thing because this 40 year old man asked us our impression of his family and what he should do to keep it together, and that faith has always been a struggle for him. I'm this tiny kid with a retainer, glasses, and a gigantic backpack, but he thanked me for my advice. It really made me realized how much a calling as a missionary changes how people look at you.
Their daughter is the absolute best however. Her name is Evelyn and she's 10, and she ALWAYS reads the chapters we leave for the family, and is constantly involved. She informed her family that she was going to attend all three hours of church this week. People like her are the miracles out here. Something I worry about is something that Darling talked about quite a bit before I left- that a lot of the people that get baptized stop going to church the minute you leave the area. The reality is in a lot of cases, she's right, Our stake has 3000 members more or less, but all of the wards have attendances much lower than those back home. There are a lot of people who are inactive, A LOT. Something I've learned here though is that missionary work in Mexico is different. Back home conversion has to happen before baptism because most people won't get baptized without it. Here it's different. A lot of people do their converting a long time after they've been baptized. They gain testimonies after years of attendance and messages, and often are only staying active because they like it, and after a good amount of time because they actually have a testimony. It's not ideal, but it's not bad. The reality is that we understand very well the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion, but many times a testimony of that book is a long time in coming for these people, because as much as we try they just won't sit down and read for themselves. It's why people like Evelyn just make me so happy. Because they get it NOW. Because they don't just listen to our lesson about faith and works, they actually take the hard steps to change and do it.
Another quick story is all I have time for. One of the converts of Elder Rojas who was baptized just before I got here, named Sharon, is on fire. She gave me 27 references this week and has been a super powerful example for her newly baptized family. They really like the Liahonas [Church magazine] because it's easier to understand. Also Personal Progress [the Church young women's program] is an inspired missionary tool. I can tell you right now they didn't just make it for young women born in the church so they can have something to do. It teaches new members in a very special way.
Gah, I still have to write the [mission] president! Talk to you all later!!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Wadman

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