Mommy and All,
"Real difficulties can be overcome; it is the imaginary ones that are unconquerable." -Theodore N. Vail
This week has been really good. We've found more people to teach in just the 5 days we've been here, than in the last month I was in Comodoro. Its a little different being here but its way cool. Our home base is Las Heras which is 2 hrs outside of Caleta Olivia and 1 hr outside Truncado which is where our District Leader is. So we live in a 2 story apartment house which is brand new. We are here most of the time, and this is where almost all the members are and the church house. The church building really is just a really big house they bought with the church plaque slapped on the outside. haha It's interesting and pretty cool. But we also have another area called Perito Moreno. Its another 2 1/2 hrs from here and sits about 1 1/2 hrs from Chile. So every week, we ride a collectivo bus over there and stay in a hotel and work for 2-3 days. Perito is a town of only about 5000, but it has a few member families who meet together each week and at least have sacrament meeting. This week we went over there for just a day and saw that the church has a lot of potential to grow out there as well. Las Heras isn't huge and Perito is small and so its doable. I'm going to get to know the buses here really well because anytime we have District or Zone meeting, its a 1-4 hr bus ride depending on what are we are in haha.
The branch here in Las Heras has a little more than 300 members, but the most they say they usually have in church is 50, and yesterday there was only 20. Elder Soto and I both talked in church, and the members are really excited to work with us. Before we got here, it was always known as a place in the mission where you just go and do nothing out in the middle of nowhere and that no one will really talk to us. Butwe have 14 new investigators and 4 baptismal dates. We are also the unofficial opening of the Perito Moreno area. When we headed out there, we talked to people and most have never seen Mormon Missionaries, just have heard of our church. That is why President Salerno wanted Elder Soto out here, and for some reason, Elder Soto wanted me with him and we have been pretty efficient. Soto is the best missionary I've ever seen. I'm really learning how to teach and prepare people for baptism and the things we have to do as missionaries to help them feel the spirit and keep their commitments. He is just teaching me tons of things and really helping me become better.
We are teaching one family who doesn't have baptismal dates yet. We call them the Familia Cyntia because the Moms name is Cyntia and she is super loud and really funny. haha. We talked with her about baptism and she told us about 100 times we were not going to baptize her. She is Catholic and said she will die Catholic and will never ever change. The only thing she said she had a little problem with was the baby baptisms the Catholics do and how she didn't get that. She LOVES to argue with Soto about the Catholic church because his mom was Catholic but became a convert when he was 6 so he knows quite a bit about it. After about 2 hrs of that, it got to the point where she said we had no right to tell her these things since she has way more life experience than us. That is when I could just tell her she was exactly right. But also that we were called by a prophet of God and have the power and authority to baptize her and to invite her to do things but not to force her. So I asked her what was the reason we needed to baptized and she said to cleanse us. I told her she was exactly right, so she needed to be baptized again plain and simple, and by the proper authority because there is no reason to cleanse a baby from sin when they don't have any. Her eyes suddenly got huge and she said "Elder Christensen, you actually might have a reason there!!" So we just invited them to pray and if they receive an answer, we will put a baptismal date with them as well. I realized after though, that it wasn't me talking at all but the Spirit. Elder Soto said he even felt it fill the room. It was easily the most powerful testimony I've given in my life.