This week as I rode to Santa Fe to meet my new companion, Hermana Rasband, Jack Kelly's voice from Newsies kept playing in my mind over and over. "Santa Fe, are you there? Do you swear you won't forget me!? If I found you would you let me come and stay?" That song has a whole new meaning now, seeing as Santa Fe is an entire province (or "state" we call it in the US) where I have spent the majority of my mission. Santa Fe is also the capital city of Santa Fe, Province. Santa Fe, my mission, do you swear you won't forget me? I have thought often about the influence we make upon the people God places in my life. My deepest desire and greatest hope is to bring others closer to Christ, and if there's anything I don't want Santa Fe and the dear people in it to forget, is the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ that we've brought them.
Everything has been going FANTASTIC with Hermana Rasband. She is an absolute DOLL and is such a hard worker. This week we have been bombarded by MILAGROS (miracles). About two months ago we had a special Pday on the banks of the Paraná, and when we got to cooking choripanes, we realized we forgot the parilla (grill iron). So a few of the Elders went around to the local houses asking if they could borrow or rent one. They stopped by a closeby kiosco painted bright sherbet orange and the couple that live there kindly let us borrow their parilla, the Elders also asked if they could return to share a message of Jesus Christ another day. This family accepted, and this part of the banks of the Paraná happen to be our area. The elders passed us the reference and we stopped by a few weeks ago. The Mom of the family answered the door and had us sit down, and before we knew it she began to cry uncontrollably. She explained that her 17 year old son, Kevin, while he was washing his motorcycle outside 2 months ago an electric line broke, he was electrocuted and he died immediately. She was inconsolable and overcome with grief. Hermana Diorio and I began with a prayer petitioning for her comfort and immediately felt impressed to share scriptures about the Resurrection and the Spirit World. Marta (this sweet Argentine Mom) began to calm down a little. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and set an appointment to return. Hermana Rasband and I went back to her home this past Thursday with 17 year old member Priscila Mansilla, and to our surprise, Marta was a lot happier, a lot more composed, a lot more relieved. She brought out her Book of Mormon and began to explain that ever since she began reading she has felt such peace, and has been able to better deal with the loss of her son and have hope again. She told us she read all of Alma 40 and then began saying that she was fascinated about an account of a man who had to leave all his riches behind and travel with his family accross the sea in order to save them spiritually. We recognized by the end that she had read all of 1 Nephi and had begun 2 Nephi in the short time we had left her the book. She said she has a goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon, and also expressed her gratitude to have originally met those missionaries who borrowed the grill iron. She expressed that ever since she first met missionaries she has felt more hope and that she believes the message that we're sharing. She isn't married so we couldn't put her on date for baptism, but we did invite her to pray to know if the church is true and if she and her family should be a part of it. She is such a rock! She said gladly that she would. MIRACLES.
Hermana Rasband and I also taught Sylvia this week, a woman that 8-month-pregnant Recent Convert Soledad met in the street a few weeks ago (her twins STILL aren't born!), and by coincidence we also passed by in the same moment they were talking and got her address. She is a Philosophy teacher and mother of 2 young children. When we discussed the gift of the Spirit and the Fruits that it brings (Galatians 5) she looked at us with a longing in her green eyes and said, "Que maravilloso sería sentir así," or "How wonderful it would be to feel that!" We told her that she could, but she needed to fulfill her part in the promise by asking God if the Book of Mormon was true, and reading it with real intent. She also accepted and we're hoping she's another Marta :)
We have found several new investigators as well through the prayer tracting system that Presidente Giuliani has given us. It is amazing to see the difference when we put our faith in prayer and asking Father in Heaven where HIS children are prepared. He knows them far more perfectly than we do.
Preach My Gospel study this week can be found in the roman numeral page V of PMG. This part is the first presidency message. It states that there is no more compelling work than missionary work, nor any that rings greater satisfaction. It also states "Every missionary has an important role in helping to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Missionary work makes us one with God and His work. Heavenly Father´s work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and etrnal life. When we work to bring about the same, or Missionary Service, we become more like God. Our will becomes His, our Joys become His. Isn't it amazing? It concludes stating "More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children." I testify to that! My mission is the hardest thing I have ever done. But it wouldn't be fair not to tell you that it is by far the greatest fun I have ever had, and the sweetest and purest and sublimest joy to see My Argentine and WaTac brothers and sisters come unto Christ.
Remember always that "The most important of the Lord's work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes." Harold B. Lee.
The greatest missionaries I know are my parents, for that reason :)
I love you all! I will be talking to you in only 2 short weeks for Mother's day, AHHH! :) Details to come next week. Love you, love you, love you more than you know.
Con amor mas grande que los cielos y un abrazo mas fuerte que el poder de un oso,