Sorry for the lack of letter last week, we are absolutely fine. You know that forest fire video I sent? Well, yeah that kept going and going and died out and had absolutely nothing to do with me not sending a letter. We got really sick the both of us, and were unable to leave the house, but have recovered. Just a ye olde stomach flu. And I got the package, mountains of thanks!!
As of June 11, the World Cup of Soccer began. All I can say is thank goodness I'm not actually in South Africa right now, there's enough chaos and mayhem here. All people talk about is soccer soccer soccer, and everything closes down during the games. Everything; I felt like I was walking through a ghost town, nobody in the streets. We walked into a grocery store and found the entire staff and a few passersby glued to a TV screen. Thankfully though, most of the games are already during lunch and the siesta, that or they're early in the morning. But the celebrations are intense after a win or a classification. Also, the gas trucks (trucks that sell tanks of gas (like for a grill) for houses) instead of playing their jingles and songs of the respective company are now playing the World Cup theme, "Waka Waka."
Jorge got baptized, and Edgardo the following week! This is the strongest family I've seen. It's almost unimaginable. When we first began teaching, the father couldn't read. He now reads as well as the next person. We've entered our last two lessons with them to find them beforehand studying as a family. All three of them with their respective Gospel Principles book, Book of Mormon, and a Mission pamphlet, marking scriptures, etc.
They've changed so much. There's a light in each of their eyes that wasn't there before. I asked them how they were doing with the Word of Wisdom when we were doing the interviews for Jorge, and they all bore strong testimony of the change that has happened when they've started obeying. "My head is a lot clearer, I have more energy, I'm happier, and I can do my errands with confidence in general about the day," said Jeanet (Mom of family). "You definitely see the blessings of God by obedience. I didn't need to pick up my carnet (Chile's ID card that is necessary for government business) for another two months, but I felt like I should pick it up yesterday. Today, I needed to use it in an emergency situation," said Edgardo.
For a reason we didn't really think of, I was chosen to baptized Edgardo. Edgardo is 19 years old, but huge, over 220 lbs. of muscle. Combine that with a baptismal font that didn't fill up all the way, and it was tricky, but after a few tries were able to get it done successfully. Very emotional and spiritual the service, tears were shed. Edgardo told some very amazing stories a week before his baptism, some of which shall be in the next letter (time is leaking). My camera card-USB is being awful fussy, so I'ma see if I can't get pictures next week.
Thursday we had our last conference with President and Hermana Chávez, they finish their missions tomorrow, and President and Sister Humphrey will begin. It was without a doubt one of the most spiritual conferences we've ever had, with the Assistants giving a long program about the Atonement. Very powerful. It truly is something we can never fully understand, but we can always learn something more. I know that Jesus suffered for us. How much, we can't fully imagine. But I know of nobody who would withstand the worst false accusations and beatings at the hands of traitors without fighting back or rebuking them, especially if all power to do so was in said person. Only for love would somebody willingly go through it. Laws were broken, almost every law, to condemn Him, and He suffereth it, wherefore they scourge him, and He suffereth it; and they smite Him, and He suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon Him, and He suffereth it, because of His loving kindness and His long-suffering towards the children of men. And even after He finished the Atonement, after suffering all, alone, He did not rest. He continued working to preach the Gospel to those in the Spirit World. This because we sin. This because we say "I will repent later." But this so that through Him, we can change. This so that we can overcome, and become even like Him in loving kindness.
I know God lives. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His. The Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet of God Almighty.
Elder Kent Pimentel