Hello Hola aloha familia! To those who I love so much:
A preface, Jorge and Rita were married and baptized. I was able to get in the water. Then I got special transferred to be the District Leader in Justo Daract.
I hope you are all doing good and practicing your lacrosse AND your piano! And mom, I hope you don´t odiar me too much for that sentence I sent you yesterday. But I had to go to the cyber one last time with Arrua to transfer pictures before I left for a different province, so I thought I’d send you a cliff hanger!
The marriage was on Friday at 11am in the morning, and the registro civil is less than a block from where we live, just a random fact there for you. So at 10:45 we met Jorge, Rita, Celeste, and Angel there. Jorge was ready, he had been waiting that day for quite some time. And Rita, o RITA, I love her so much, and she was so nervous! As any 20 year old would be on their wedding day. We were a little nervous for a few minutes waiting for the witnesses to show their faces, but they eventually came and all was in order. The marriage ceremony started and was wonderful. I took a ton of pictures and Elder Owens filmed the whole thing in HD on his camera. I have to remember to buscar that after the mission, because I don´t have it right now. It was something way different and very special. The judge talked and talked, but not what it was supposed to be I guess because there was another couple waiting. They married, kissed and then were showered with rice as they walked through the doors outside. It was such a fun, great and new experience for us all. One to Remember!!! It’s weird to think that because of one kid coming to Argentina and following the spirit to open the mouth with them, Jorge and Rita got married and now are Mormons, Clean and Pure members of the Church of Jesus Christ.
The baptism was wonderful!! Lea Maure, the amazing recent convert with a testimony fuerte fuerte, came and brought a friend, who we taught with Jorge and Rita, awaiting the branch president. When he showed up we all changed into our white clothes, took a picture or two, and started the baptism.
I played the piano and the talks were good too. But then it was time . . . for the long long o so long awaited ordinance of baptism. It was truly a miracle to put my arm to the square and baptize Jorge. I loved being in the water. And the power of God was definitely manifested in those 2 ordinances. Elder Arrua baptized Rita, and it was also fantastic. After baptizing him, I was the happiest missionary alive. Start to Finish, it was a Miracle. I love Jorge and Rita. They are my Family.
And I can’t tell the story of their confirmation without first telling of the marriage/baptism party Saturday night. A few days before hand, Jorge asked if he could drink cervesa with his family during the party. He knew the answer and accepted it, but told us it would be a great challenge. We taught again about the espiritu santo and being worthy. We showed up to the party praying that God would protect him. Arrua and I were both worried. It was a pretty tranquilo party, a few familiares came and some friends, and there was certainly beer. Several times Jorge was given a bottle of Andes, but I carefully watched him every time, and he never drank it. He always found a better home for it atop a table or something. It was a pretty sweet party, and we were able to teach Rita’s sister and her marido about the Gospel. The 14.5 kilos of pollo that we bought were put to good use and cooked asado. It tasted really good. Rita was just all smiles and at midnight we sang her happy birthday as she cumplired 21. We talked to Jorge just before we left, at about 12:15 am (we had permiso to be out late celebrating with our converts) and he told us he would be strong through the nite and not drink, as to be able to receive the espiritu santo the following day in church.
At about 10am Jorge and Rita walked through the church doors all smiles. Jorge had withstood the devil and didn't drink a drop. I was so happy, amazed at his desire and Faith. Elder Arrua and I stood in the confirmation circle as both of them received the espiritu santo. It was amazing. Knowing that it would be the last time I would see them for quite some time, I despedir them at the church and had them write in my libro de recuerdos. Jorge told me some pretty cool stuff. When I baptized him por la immersion del agua he told me that he felt as if he physically left something behind in the water. And then on Sunday he said that as we laid our hands on his head to receive the gift of the holy ghost, that his chest burned when president said, receive the Holy Ghost. It was such a huge payday this weekend with them. I love the picture outside the church with them, one of my favorites.
Part number 2
Saturday morning during personal study we received a personal phone call from The Great Man, President Lindahl. I knew. I already felt it and knew I was out. He told me that I was going to Justo Daract, San Luis, tal vez the farthest area out in the mission. He told me that I would be senior companion again and would be with Elder Mulen, Elder George´s second son, trained in Sarmiento. President talked with me about our sacred spiritual interview we had had just days before. He talked to me about how Justo is his leadership training ground. Reynolds was here about 6 months ago and I am honored to walk in his great footsteps. The special transfer was to take place Monday, leaving me without a p day this week. It was the best way to go out. Everyone at church knew I was leaving. It was sad passing by so many houses and watching many women cry as I left. But its not me that makes them cry, it is Christ, and His Spirit which is so abundantly in me.
Elder Arrua and I arrived in Mendoza at 12 and made the change. Then at 2 I hopped on a bus to San Luis. 6 hours. It was a pretty fun and tranquilo bus ride. I wrote you all a letter, if you care.
I left my Heart in Rivadavia. That place and those members are my family. It is where I belong. It was also sad being parted with one of my best friends, Elder Mario Vincente Arrua. The special transfer was made by president because 2 more elders have been moved into the offices to be trained there, and he needed to move some elders around. But on the phone with me, he made it very clear that this call, to come to Justo Daract is from the Lord, and there, on the phone, I felt the power of President Lindahl and received my own confirmacion that this is what God wants.
And here I sit, in Justo Daract with Elder Molen. Life is good. I am excited, so excited for this place. President Lindahl told me that it would be, and I quote, “a very Argentine experience.” The funny thing is, I am in the Villa Mercedes zone, the same one I was born in. I did divisions here in Justo with the Man Reynolds about 7 months ago.
We live in the church. It is truly a wild experience. I will give you living conditions la semana que viene. I haven't unpacked a thing yet. We came out to work the siesta and had an amazing lesson with a woman named Silviana, just an hour ago. She is going blind. I testified to her of Christ. In a very powerful way she understood that we are missionaries of Christ and have the power and faith to heal her. We taught about baptism, and aun que she’s very very catholic, she listened to us, and whats more, understood us.
I learned SO MUCH in my hometown, Rivadavia Argentina. I grew so much there! We are going to find and baptize so many people here in Justo Daract. Rumor is apart from last Sunday, there hasn´t been an asistance at church since enero. I’m excited to see what we can do.
We live in the church, and it’s a branch. I hear that the average attendance is 12. We will see what we can do about that.
I am in Argentina. I am a Servant of the Most High God. And thus, I end my epistle to my familia, the familia ostler.