Monday, July 31, 2017

My Last Week in Argentina

My last week in the mission field was amazing. We were going at it at about 1000 mph. It was an awesome week.

We started it off right on P-Day, with almost 10 kilograms of asado. We also played TEG, which is the Argentine version of Risk. I thought playing that would be kind of boring, but, it was actually pretty fun.

We also had lots of really good lessons. Jeremías Mendoza was on fire. It was so amazing to see his progress. He passed his baptismal interview, and was baptized on Saturday afternoon. It was a solid last Saturday afternoon. I feel so blessed to have been able to see the baptism of someone that I helped find and that I started teaching.

His baptism was really powerful. Jeremías is from a really poor part of town, and all of his cousins do really bad things. He is the only one of his male cousins that doesn't do anything that could get him sent to jail. The only remotely bad thing that he did, he stopped doing when we told him that it was a sin to do it, even if lots of other people do it. His grandma is really catholic. Usually, religious relatives are opposed to baptisms in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She's not one of those though. She supported his baptism and was more in favor of his baptism than I was haha. She was just SOOO thrilled that one of her grandkids was choosing to follow Christ, and not the things of the world. She thanked me and Elder Jiménez so much for helping her grandson. She took a lot of family members to the baptism.

After the ordinance of baptism, Elder Jiménez and I gave Jeremías a suit, white collared shirt, and a tie. When he walked in the room wearing all that, his grandma burst in tears. She was so happy, and Jeremías was too. He's a pretty quiet kid, but after his baptism, he was talking and joking with all the members that were there. He was baptized by a recent convert named Cristián Fábrego. It was a really great last baptism.

I also had a surprise baptism. So I interviewed a little girl named Melany for baptism. Later on in the week, the elders that taught her and her family asked her who she wanted to baptize her, and she said that she wanted me to baptize her. That experience taught me how to win the trust of little kids. She was really timid and shy, and it took a lot to get her to open up. Once opened up though, she didn't stop talking. It was really neat.

As some of you may or may not know, I have had the wonderful privilege to spend this last week with my parents in Argentina. We started off going to the Iguazú Falls. Then we saw a bit of Buenos Aires. Both were amazingly beautiful and unforgettable experiences, especially the falls. I think, however, that the best part of the time I spent with them wasn't going either to the waterfall that dwarfs Niagara Falls, nor seeing the fanciest and most bizarre cemetary ever. The best part was going to say goodbye to some of the families that I have worked with and helped during these two years. I won't share what happened in every home, but, I will share what happened in two.

The Medina's. I contacted them July 30th of 2016, a year ago almost to the day. We visited them the 29th of July, 2017.

When we went, I perceived that something wasn't right. He was really, really quiet, and is normally super talkative. So, I asked what was the matter. I believe that my parents being able to visit and go with me was inspired. What he was going through was something that my parents have gone through, and they were able to give perfect advice. This also helped him to feel that he is not alone, and that everyone goes through hard things. Afterwards, he seemed really resolved and determined to press forward, even with the trials he is passing through.

The Medina Family

Lorena and Ulises. Lorena is Ulises's mom. She is the ex-sister in law of one of the best converts that I have ever seen. I started teaching them when I was in Rosario, and they got baptized shortly after I left the area/ward of Azcuénaga.

We show up, I clap, and she comes out real nervous looking. I got to thinking, when you see someone that helped you out a lot spiritually, and you are living the commandments, you get really excited. If you are someone who helped you out a lot spiritually, and you're not keeping the commandments, you get nervous and don't want that person to be there. I definitely got the second impression from her. We talked a bit and she said that they were eating, and we said that we would come back later, after they'd finished eating.

We went back afterwards, and we had an amazing discussion outside her house. We, or better yet, I, spoke to her about parenting, specifically about motherhood and bringing your kids up in the church. I used two wonderful examples. I spoke of the sons of Helaman and what they did and accomplished thanks to what their mothers had taught them. Then I used a more tangible example: my own mother. As I was standing right next to her, in front of Lorena and Ulises, I decided to take advantage of the situation and use my childhood as an example. I felt the spirit of love and charity so strong towards them, stronger I think than in any other moment of my life. I really just gave it my all to love them, understand their situation and try to help them come back to church so that they could feel the joy and the peace that they had once felt when they went to church. We must have done something right, because they went with us to their neighbors house for a Family Home Evening with the missionaries of their ward. It was amazing.

I truly love Argentina and the Argentines. I will sorely miss them, in fact, I already do. I love this church and this gospel. I know that this is indeed the one and only true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love him. In my two years as a missionary, I came to know him. I still haven't seen his face, but, I know he lives. I add my own testimony to that of Jospeh Smith and Sidney Rigdon, "That he lives!" (D&C 76:22). I testify of all these things and do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Brown

John 3:16

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