Hello My Family,
Another week of adventure in Paraná. I wish you could be here, truly. It's a city always moving, always bustling, and full of Jungle. There's nowhere like it. I love it here and have so much to tell you!
Firstly, let me tell a miracle I missed writing last week. One of those moments when you just know God is watching over you! When I first rode to paraná and got off the bus, I walked off the double decker bus and hugged my new companion and Hermana Telfer (yep! My companion from the MTC who was in trio with me and Hermana Alicea), and then a hug to Hermana Haynes. I shook Elder Vergara's Hand (he's my zone leader now! I could have hugged him too, my Chilean District Leader from Venado Tuerto, but I didn't don't worry), And then Elder Adair (who turns out to be Mrs. Dole's nephew, she was my 1st grade teacher!). And then I turned to shake whom I thought was another Elder's hand, when to my surprise, before me stood Mario B. I'm pretty sure I gasped like a fish gasps for water when it's caught above surface. I beamed my widest grin and exclaimed in absolute surprise, "MARIO?!?!?!" And he smiled his mischevious smile and explained that he had asked the Elders in VT where Elder Vergara had gone to, and packed up shop and moved on over to Paraná only a few days before. And when he found out I was coming too, He accompanied them to the terminal to greet me. I was so overcome with surprise and delight and so many wonderful memories from His Miracle Baptism in September that came flooding back to my memory. I scurried to one of my suitcases and pulled out a tie--the black one with green stripes--that my family sent me. And I gave it to him. And we took a picture. It was one of those tender, FLASH photo moments of absolute, unfeigned surprise and delight I will never forget. It was so good to see my recent convert from those miracle days of Venado Tuerto once again. God sure loves me.
MY COMPANION IS SO AWESOME! I wish I could put her to words. I love Hermana Diorio so much! She's kind of a shy cookie, but has finally started opening up and showing her goofy side and she is a HOOT. I love her sneaky side smiles, her faces of feigned desperation. Teaching with her, my goodness, I am learning SO MUCH! She knows how to help the investigators feel loved and comfortable, which helps them open up and feel comfortable to ask questions. She also knows how to listen. Somewhere in Preach MY Gospel it talks about how the investigators should talk 60% of the time and the missionaries only 40%. She knows how to do that, and I'm seeing the fruits of that kind of labor first hand. It's MIRACULOUS work here in Paraná, and I owe it to Hermana Diorio and Hermana Aragón before me and the LORD for all the work they've been doing together here in the 5 esquinas ward. Such a joy to see these miracles first hand and to take part in the lessons. I feel like Ammon when He faints from Happiness in the Book of Mormon.
Gabriel, our 19 year old punk investigator, but absolute ROCK in his desire to be baptized, has come to church 6 weeks in a row. He told us this week that he hasn't smoked since Tuesday and we are SO EXCITED for Him. Hermana Diorio told him "Con ese progreso puede leegar a su bautismo por 22 de Febrero" ("With this progress you can make it to your baptism on the 22nd of February") to which he responded "Yo llego donde quiero." (Basically . . ."I do what I want"). PUNK! XD But so awesome at the same time! He's had such a hard life and I'm extremely delighted to see him growing and softening with the light of the Gospel. He has a goal to finish High School, and I have a dream of seeing him on a mission. OH. And he also starting preaching the gospel to his friends. KIND OF A BIG DEAL.
Humberto also is taking leaps and bounds. He too has dropped smoking altogether and is SO DESIROUS to enter the waters of baptism. This sweet man starts every lesson off with His testimony of the truth of this church, God's love for Him, and the changes He's seeing in His life. He is ON FIRE with the Gospel and calls us to make sure our appointments are solid, or when he can't make it. Any missionary will tell you that's a MIRACLE right there. We're praying for Him to keep his other commitments and the other commandments.
This week I had the privilege of going to a Mission Council, where we learned from President Giuliani the 4 elements of true conversion. He explained that while Obedience is the first law in heaven, it isn't the only law! Laman and Lemuel were obedient, they left Jerusalem and built the boat--but why do we love Sam and Nephi more? We should be earnestly working to be truly converted, too. The four elements are the following--
1. A desire to do good
2. No rebellion against God
3. Sharing the Gospel
4. To be filled with LOVE.
To finish, I want to share my Preach my Gospel moment for Study. I didn't get the chance to finish my Study on Patience with you last week, I got run short on time. I wanted to share who my example of Patience is, after we read the Second Paragraph of Patience in Preach my Gospel. Austin James, my oldest younger brother, is my example of Patience. I have been quite the older sister and some times too much of a boss in my lifetime, but Austin has loved me and been patient with me just the same. AJ, you helped me get Jackie dog ready in the mornings when I was running particularly late getting ready for the day before school, you helped me calm down after my one fender-bender and you were the only person with me (remember when you told me to call Dad first, not to call Mom because you didn't want her to worry?), you did the Dishes for me one Sunday when the Relief Society leadership meetings ran a little long in the Single's ward and I got home later than usual to do them. I know you may not remember doing that act of service, but I sure do. I remember when you patiently taught the little guys at the kid's camp with me, and they LOVED you. You patiently played with them, prepared the snacks and crafts by my side. You even patiently agreed to put on a costume for mad scientist day, and dressed up to be my Egore. I love you for that, J bird. Despite my moments being bossy or and olderly sister, you have patiently kept loving me just the same. Thank you for that Christlike attribute I so admire and love in you. Keep it up!
Scriptures: Alma 26:27. If we are patient and keep on keeping on, God will give us Success.
Mosiah 24: 9-16. Prayer helps us receive the patience we need.
Alma 17: 10-11. What will God help us become if we are patient?
Romans 5:3-5 Patience in tribulations allows us a greater ability to LOVE.
Romans 5:8-11 Christ's patience with us & His love for us.
Next week I will continue with the next Christlike attribute, Humility.
I love you! Never forget that! Know that we are burning bright with the Fire of the Gospel in our Hearts. I love being a missionary. Dearest Brothers of mine--Austin, Tyler, Jordan, Corey-- NEVER lose sight of serving a mission. We give a moment to God here in the field, and he in turn gives us our Life.
Love, forever, your Sister Boren