Looks like you all are the tan ones now and I'm the "pale and whitey" as Austin used to say. Hope the summer sun is just a blast! Enjoy the SOL! You brothers of mine are just handsome kids.
God is too good to me. But really, TOO GOOD. I feel spoiled with all of the miracles and joy that is bursting in my heart these days. I feel that every transfer it just can't get better, but it does. Every time. Hermana Briggs and I are kindred spirits, we have so much in common. We both love poetry and live to write, we both have desires to be exactly obedient, have the same mission backpack, crave chocolate at the same moments, etc. I feel that Heavenly Father is so good to me. She and I are working hard, we know we have such little time together and we want to take advantage of every moment to learn from each other. She gets me ready for the life ahead and I get her ready for the mission ahead. She amazes me, she gave a 20 minute talk yesterday and she's only been in Argentina for 2 weeks. She is teaching me so much and I learn all the time how God Qualifies whom he calls.
I have had a heart to heart with Mormon and Moroni again this week. Mormon explains at one point that he ceases to write about the wickedness of the people to refrain from saddening us too much by their wickedness. I think of him and his tender, considerate heart towards us and our testimonies and feelings despite the cruel and bloodthirsty world that surrounded him. And Moroni's bravery to continue living a virtuous life even when he's the ONLY ONE left of the Nephites. I admire them both and recognize the same love, and parent-child guidance-obedience in my relationship with my parents. I hope to be like Moroni and follow the council and diligent example my parents offer me, like Mormon gave. How often I have felt like Moroni in receiving letters of love and guidance from my parents in the mission field! The Book of Mormon truly teaches us how to be HAPPY in this life, I know it.
Okay, GÁLVEZ. We have so much work to do, this area is such a blessing to us! The joy of our lives at the moment is the Acevedo Family. Sergio, a single father who has had to raise his 5 kids ALONE for the past 7 years (His wife abandoned them, I don't know the whole story since he doesn't like to talk about it in front of his Kids) has always had a faith in God and has long looked for the truth. About a month ago he saw Hermana Ordoñez and Hermana Dean, the Hermanas before us, and felt he should talk to them. A few weeks later he saw them in the same place and again felt he should talk to them, but resisted. The third time he saw them in the same place, he got off his Motorcycle and went over and talked to them of his own volition. They soon went to his house for a teaching appointment, and after some diligent prayer and reading in the book of Mormon and attending church, he chose his own baptismal date for the 16th of August. He is a ROCK, as are his children. The oldest two have recently left to live with their Mom for a little time, she apparently came back into the picture recently and they are trying to mend the parent-child relationships between the kids and Her. It's a mess, but luckily the Gospel is bringing them so much happiness. Gabriel, age 11, Ailen, age 9, and Esteban, age 7 are so attentive. When we gave them the comic style Book of Mormon Stories book they read it all in 2.5 days. Each night they kneel together as a family for family prayer. They are the first to come to the chapel on Sundays. Sergio says he knows that this is the true church, it's the help that he's been looking for for years in his Struggles as a Single Father raising his family. He delights in the happiness he sees in his Kids. At nights when he comes home tired from work and he isn't always up for reading, Gabriel--this solid, solid as a rock 11 year old boy--sits his Dad down and begins teaching him what he read from the Book of Mormon and asks him if they can read more. Esteban stood up in Primary yesterday and said that if we feel afraid we should pray that Jesus can Help us take the fear away. Needless to say this sincere family has humbled our hearts and amazes us all the time. We love them so much and are striving to help them prepare in every way for their baptism the 16th of August.
This week as an effort to get to know the branch and start getting a firmer grip on the area, we went to visit a Grandma Sister in the Branch named Ebelia. We began to chat and discovered that she has never married, has been a member of the church for 37 years, hasn't any kids nor any relatives that live in Gálvez. Also, that her Birthday was this past Tuesday and nobody remembered, nor did she celebrate. I whispered to Hermana Briggs "My Mom would not be okay with this! We have to celebrate her Birthday!" Well, On Saturday night I whipped her up a birthday cake out of the Yogurt Cake recipe Hermana Rasband taught me, decorated it with Dulce De Leche Frosting and grated coconut. Sunday we invited everyone at church to come with us to her home that night at 6 pm. We showed up with a giant candle in the middle of the cake and sang her "Que Los Cumplas Feliz!" and shared a family home evening lesson in her Home. Her smile and delight was so worth it. I thought of President Monson and how he cared for all those 80+ widows in his ward, and how he United that little ward in Salt Lake City to be a ward family, to love and care for one another. Hermana Briggs and I set a goal that our work in Gálvez must have the goal of uniting this little branch in this little outcast city to be a true branch family. That's the only way it will grow. THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS SERVICE. We also wrapped up my gospel art picture book and gave it to her. She ADORES artwork, and we figured this would be the most fitting birthday present of any.
Sundays are an adventure. Yesterday We both taught primary, I taught Gospel Principles, Hermana Briggs gave a talk, and I offered a musical number--a capella solo of medley Abide With Me and Abide with Me Tis Eventide. We had 15 souls yesterday, we're making progress. 1 more than last week! After church we rushed with our Branch President to the Hospital, we went to visit the YW President who had some type of sudden vertigo/stomache disease (I don't understand medical Spanish yet, so I didn't quite get the details) but he Gave her a blessing and we offered our love. Our Branch President is going through a personal challenge of 2 of his 4 kids that are suffering distinct forms of Cancer. He is such an example to me of serving this little branch 2 hours away from his home. Everyone has so many distinctive challenges. We must be loving and patient with those around us, we don't know what personal crosses they're carrying. But the Savior does! It brings me such comfort to know that.
I love you all. Please, oh please, never forget how much I love you!