Subject: ¡Hola Familia!
Mi querida flamia, (flammy en español)
Congratulations to Dad for landing Sir Joseph in Pinafore! I must say I'm quite a fan of dear Gilbert and Sullivan, that'll be a blast! It seems like the house just isn't the place to be anymore, what with Mom running off to dance camps left and right, Daniel to orchestra trips, and Dad to rehearsals. I do fear that Sunny in her teenage rebellion just might take up smoking and make friends with the wrong crowd. Get her curfew solid and monitor her internet chatting.
Tierra Bella continues to flourish, we've had some wonderful things a-happen lately! First off, I got a very uplifting letter from one of my non-member friends who's now taking her second institute class (She's in an LDS Sorority and the U) and thoroughly enjoying it. We were in rather poor spirits Tuesday and Wednesday because it appeared that things with Jean Pierre and Kevin were going nowhere, the son of Delia told us that he didn't want to go to Church anymore because his grandma gets mad about it, and that Delia didn't either. We talked with her and she told us she was too busy and couldn't do anything until next week, which was extremely different and odd behavior from her norm. However, Thursday trangled along and things all flipped.
We found Delia in the park and talked with her and she actually just was really busy and stressed out that day, she was happy to see us, and we had just ran into a member that we had planned to get to know her three minutes earlier. So we went over to their house and the whole family got to know her and make her feel welcome to the house and everything. Talking with her afterward she told us that she didn't go because she still just felt shy because she didn't know anyone, but now she does. We also went over a few of the core reasons why we go to Church, explained more of the Atonement, authority, the Sacrament, etc. At times I feel we as members take for granted our understanding of the Gospel and somewhat expect others to get it quickly and easily. It was interesting having to work hard to get down to core things again to help her understand. She's extremely sensitive to The Spirit, though doesn't have much knowledge of what is Christianity, but that night really started to click and she got it.
We also (Thursday) found a gem, yea, even a diamond shining brilliantly against a black velvet. (The poetic metaphor that Preach My Gospel uses to describe the Restoration when contrasted with the Apostasy). Her name is Cynthia. We actually found her three or four weeks ago when we were doing a Mission Table (that sounds so much cooler in Spanish) and offered the six free pictures of Jesus. She's the nicest person ever, about 28 or so years old, and is pretty much already a member that just isn't baptized. Finally we were able to get in contact with her (she hadn't been home the many times we contacted her house) and had a wonderful lesson with her. Turns out she actually knows a lot about the Church, and had gone regularly as a child, but her father didn't like it. She loves all the emphasis the Church has on the family, not changing doctrine to be accepted by the world, etc. She knows one of the members in the Ward, wants to come to Church, and accepted a baptismal date right off the bat. We're quite certain she will be Young Women's President within three months. As we were leaving she asked us what were the things in the Word of Wisdom just to make sure she was already good, because she had been living what she remembered when she was taught years and years ago. She was good, so that won't be a problem. We have an FHE with her tonight.
There was a family that the Elders in a neighboring ward were teaching that moved here into our Sector a few weeks ago with whom we got in contact. The mom, Fabiola, is an inactive member, and she has a daughter Francisca, 15 years old, that the Elders had been teaching. She had attended (if I ever write ''assisted'' I mean attended. The Spanish word for attend is ''asistir'') two times in the other ward (Chiguayante). For the first time we were able to get the whole family to come to Church! Usually only Francisca had come. Fabiola has the desires to get things straightened out in her life, just has a bit of hesitance to have to talk with a Bishop for it all. Francisca is highly outgoing, (and easy on the eyes) and as a result four of the Young Men came up to us after Church asking when they could accompany us to help teach her, with great enthusiasm ;). Francisca really just needs to have some friends, she says she knows that what we teach is true, but she doesn't feel ready for baptism yet.
So we implemented our latest tool: ''Un efecto más potente.'' This device has been in the making for some two or so weeks, and after beta testing we have decided to release for field use. It's a calendar-type thing for members to fellowship the investigators. Under direction of the Spirit we ''assign'' certain members/families to get in contact with the investigators and there are ideas every day for things they can do with them, such as FHE's, just passing by to talk, leaving a note, watching a movie (of the church or otherwise), leaving some type baked good, going shopping, etc. etc. So far results have been positive, the key thing to do is to make sure that the members don't do it in a way that's overwhelming or obligated, giving them a flexibility to choose things to do while at the same time not allowing slothfulness to seep in. All too often there are converts that make great friends with the missionaries, and so when the missionaries leave they don't have a strong root to get them to Church on the hard days, which gets them rolling into a quick pattern that leads to inactivity.
As far as transfers go, there's one every six weeks, but that doesn't mean that people change sectors every six weeks. Usually people stay in a sector for six months, or four transfers. Generally when someone moves to a new sector, their new companion has been there for three months already, or two transfers. Rarely is it different, but here and there someone will stay up to 7 1/2 months, or only three.
We were able to have a lesson with Karen and Claudio and they are sharp. We explained the pattern of prophets and authority and they clicked quickly that there had definitely been an apostasy, and were relieved to hear about the Book of Mormon. Karen said ''It makes so much sense! Think about it: The Bible only talks about the Eastern continent as if the Americas didn't even exist.'' Claudio was raised Catholic but recognized that we are servants of God and wanted to listen to us. (Usually husbands/fathers don't want to listen to missionaries or have anyone in their family doing so). It's going to be tricky for them though because he's still married to someone else and the papers to get legally divorced are still pending, they've been waiting two years already. It's a horrific mess and hassle divorce, I think for that reason most people are hesitant to get married in the first place. (That might be a good thing, except for the fact that there are lots of families that aren't married). They committed to pray and read the Book of Mormon (Karen had the guns -Ganas en español- to read the whole thing, Claudio not so much so we gave him a calendar with core doctrines and important passages). Very very sincere and humble people that are ready for the Gospel.
We've been feeling and seeing God's hand in His work very much of late. Know that This is His Church and that He lives. Jesus is His Son, The Christ.
Elder Kent Pimentel
P.S. We got in contact with Yasna, apparently she's overswamped with work at the Mall, but gave a few pictures of Jesus to a friend at work, who is now investigating the Church and progressing well, and pressuring her to make the time to do likewise.