26 March, 2012

Is not this the fast I have chosen? Isaiah 58:6-12‏

This week we saw a lot of miracles in our area. Things are looking up a lot, every week we are seeing more and more progress in the branch. This week I have a lot to be thankful for and to really wonder at the great power and mercy that the Lord has shown to us.

On Tuesday, we talked about the importance of obedience in the District meeting. We talked about the importance of the rules, and how it is there to help us be apart from the world. I think it was good for the district, and I felt like it was something some of the elders were forgetting about. After that, I did divisions with the Zone Leaders again. I went with Elder King again.... I don't know why his companions never want to do divisions with me.... Anyway it went good, we found some good people, and talked to a guy that had lived in the US, in South Carolina. He spoke English of course, and we talked a little bit to him. Turns out he was found with a gun, without a licence, so he had to go to jail for 6 months, and then he couldn't renew his residency card, so he had to leave and come back to Paraguay. He wanted to go to church, because he says he wants to go to a Christian church, but all he can find is a bunch of Catholic churches. ;)

On Wednesday, it was back with my companion again. We knocked a door at a certain house, and an "it" came out. At first we thought it was just a girl, but then when it started talking, well lets just say it was the most girly voice I've ever heard. My companion was talking to it, and when I realized she was actually a he, I almost started laughing. We left that house pretty quick.

On Thursday, we had a really good day. We saw a lot of progress in the parents(members) of Miriam and Clarise (nonmembers). We taught them the Plan of Salvation, and the dad, Christian, asked us a lot of really good questions. They are progressing really well, and have a definite baptismal date for the 14th of April. We also have been working a lot with a really good member, that had dropped off for a while, and hasn't been going to church. We finally got him to commit to go to church this week again. His wife has been inactive for a longer time, and she also was planning on going. We told him that Satan was going to be working against them, and that he needed to read the BOM with his wife so that they could all go to church just fine. Unfortunately he didn't follow through with his part of reading like we invited him to, and his wife ended up deciding that she wasn't going to go. It's amazing how as missionaries, we can really see the things that people need to do, and sometimes I just want to force them to do them so that they can be happy, but I realize now how God feels with us sometimes, when he tells us to do things, and we don't do them. We also committed two other guys, Oscar and David to go to church.

On Friday, I did divisions again, with Hernandarias 1.1. I went with an elder, named Elder Edwards. He is a convert to the church, he's from New Mexico. He was baptized when he was 18, and the day he got baptized, he arrived home to a note on the door that said "congratulations, you now have a new family." And all of his stuff was outside of the door. His parents kicked him out of the house after he was baptized in the church. The rest of his family still aren't members of the church. During the divisions, we were focusing on finding new investigators, because they have been finding like 8 a week. In the day of divisions we found 8 new investigators. We found a family that had a 24 year old son that passed away 5 months ago. Also during the day, we sat down to teach some people, and an old man told us, yeah, we are pecadores(sinners). We explained to him that we are all sinners, but that we can repent, and be baptized to wash away our sins. He then said, yeah, but we just go down to the river every once in a while and sell our pecados(sins). Then I asked him if he goes to a church, and they said, yeah here in our house. Then we kept talking about repentance, and he said, no but we just go down to the river, and sell our pecados(sins). Then I said, alright, I don't understand, you sell your pecados(sins) by the river? He replied, yeah, whenever we have time to. I asked, but there are people who actually want to buy your pecados(sins)? He said, yeah, we just go to the people, and sell them to whoever wants to eat them. Lightbulb. Oh you are talking about Pescados(fish)? Yeah, the guy just doesn't speak a whole lot of Spanish it turns out. He was talking about sins the whole time, but really meant to say fish. Well done.

On Sunday, we really saw the miracles. I have been doing a lot of fasts lately, because I really want to see the miracles that we need here in our area. On Saturday, I started another fast, I was fasting that I would be able to have people in the church this week so that they could progress. Sunday morning we went to look for an investigator, Nestor. He is about 18 years old, and lives by himself, and is working. He came with us and we went in and sat down and everything. The priesthood meeting started and then they went to separate the young men and the adults. When they did that, Nestor stood up and just took off. We were kind of confused, so we sat there for a second not knowing what to do. Then we got up, and went out to talk to him. He told us that he was confused, and that he thought we were going to take him to the catholic church. We had already taught him all of the restoration, left him a Book Of Mormon, and set a baptismal date with him..... not sure how he mixed that one up. We tried to talk to him, but he ended up leaving, and went over to the Catholic Church. My companion got super disappointed after that, because he was really thinking that Nestor was a golden investigator. Then a member came and asked us, hey do you guys have anyone you want to go look for. We took up the offer, and went with him to look for Oscar (22) and David (20). We got to their house, and they were sleeping. When we got there, they got dressed, and ended up going with us. In the Sacrament meeting we ended up having 5 investigators, Oscar and David, Miriam and Clarise, and another investigator that is named Patricio. Last week we had just under 35 people in church, this week we had 55 (a goal that we had set as a companionship). We reactivated a ton of less-actives in the week as well. The whole family of Miriam and Clarise came (7 people) for the first time. Hermano Aregui came with his two daughters. 3 other daughters of a family we are working with came. We also had a 3 other people who we talked to so that they would come. It was really quite a miracle that we saw. We were able to increase the attendance to church by 21 people in a week. I know that the lord answered my fasting and prayer, and that really we didn't do hardly anything to be able to see that. I know that God is a God of miracles, and I know that he works according to our faith. He really is working wonders here in our area. It has had a complete change, and I know that it is due to the power and grace of God. This is the true church, and we have the same power to work the same miracles as were done in the past. All that we need is to have the faith like the apostles of old. Most of the ward was really surprised with some of the people that had come, and it really helped them be more excited. The spirit of the members is changing a lot. Everybody is more happy, and excited. It is so exciting to see what's happening here. We are now working with the branch president, so that they do their part to help all those people stay active.

I love you guys tons, and thank you all for the support and encouragement that I receive from you. I know that your prayers on my behalf have made a big difference in my mission. Love ya tons, jajatopata (see ya later in Guarani) until next week.

Elder Ryan Griffin

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