Thursday, August 23, 2012

And Another Week in ARARAS.... (Aug 8)

Hey everyone!!!
Did I mention lately that I love Araras???! Yep. I love it!!! =]
This week was gooooooood! Some tough times, but we have had some miracles as well!! 
To start it off, some funny stories....
For those of you that know me best, you may recall that me and grape flavored things DONT get along....I blame whatever grape flavored medicine that my parents force-fed me as a child....  The amount of times I´ve already had to drink grape soda and grape juice out here on the mission is ridiculous. I think Heavenly Father likes to tease me sometimes.....
One of the other things that I CANNOT stand is jello. Yep. Jello. I just hate it. Sorry to offend anyone... I have no explanation, but I really, really dont like jello. 
This past week I was telling Sister Feistner about how much I dislike jello.... We have a family in our ward that almost EVERYTIME that the feed us, they give us jello for dessert.... First time that Sister Pedersen and I ate there, she brought out a big round tray full of cups of jello just for us two... ... YIKES. Then after we each took a cup, she ran to the fridge, and grabbed two more to replace them!!! NOOOOOO. I ate that cup of jello slower than anything I´ve ever eaten in my life..... Afterwards, sister Pedersen was like "I never knew anyone could eat jello that slow...." hahaha. After a few cups of jello each, we were finally able to escape...
The next time we had lunch there, it happened AGAIN. Sister Pedersen knew what was up this time, so she helped me out with the jello.... When the Irmã that gave us lunch went into the kitchen, Sis. P. traded her almost empty jello cup for my full one..... hahah. Yay for awesome companions!! 
BUT to the point of the story.... I had just told all of these jello experiences to Sister Feistner this past week..... Monday, we had lunch with a different member. After lunch, she brought out dessert... And of course, it just happened to be GRAPE jello..... 
I nearly died. Sister Feistner nearly died laughing...... We couldnt even look at eachother while we ate it because we couldnt keep straight faces......  IT was terrible. SO BAD. But she was so worried about giving us a wonderful lunch that there was no way we were going to say anything about me hating grape things.... or jello. So like a good missionary, I ate it. And Sister Feistner ate two helpings for me.
Miracles of the week:
A couple weeks ago, we ran into a member and his fiancee walking by the lake. Sister Feistner started to make a contact with them and as she started to say "we are missionaries from the church of jesus christ...." he interrupted her and finished the name of the church. We were a little surprised, and figured they had just already heard about the church and didnt want to hear any more... BUT turns out, he is a member and his fiancee is an investigator that first met with missionaries back in January. Her name is Gidelma and she started coming to church to find out more because of her fiancee, and has been coming to church off and on ever since. The sisters stopped working with her because she got sick for a while, and then was impossible to get a hold of.... Or was making herself hard to get ahold of because she was scared of being pressured to get baptized...
Anyways. While we were talking with them by the lake, her member fiancee joked about her getting baptized the coming Saturday.... WHAT??! The following week, we called her, she told us that she WANTED TO BE BAPTIZED and so we tried to arrange to meet with her all week long... she never answered or returned our calls.
Sunday, they came to church again. So we talked with her and arranged to meet with her FINALLY. Yesterday, we had our first lesson with her. We were a little nervous, not knowing what to expect, but it turned out to be WAYYY better than we could have hoped!!
As we talked with Gidelma, she told us her experiences meeting with the other sisters and finding out about the church. The sisters had taught her about the restoration and given her a book of mormon. They challenged her to read it and pray and that she would receive an answer.. that she would feel the Spirit. She said that she read it and then prayed and felt NOTHING. And so she got frustrated.
She still read a lot, and was reading the gospel principles manual as well.
Quite a while later, she saw an add or something about the church on tv... she decided to get out her book of mormon and read again. She turned to the chapter that the sisters had marked for her and it was talking all about baptism. She said that as she was reading, she felt the Spirit so strong and just started crying. As she was reading she knew it was all true and that she needed to be baptized. AMAZING.
By the time we met with Gidelma yesterday, she had read the ENTIRE book of mormon and the ENTIRE gospel principles manual!! She had only ever been taught the first lesson (about joseph smith, the restoration and the book of mormon), but as we started to teach her all the other lessons, she started to explain everything TO US. She already knew everything!!! We taught all five lessons while we were sitting around her kitchen table (well really, we asked her about things and she taught us.... haha).
It was amazing. She is so prepared!!
She told us how she wants to get baptized and we are planning her baptism for this Saturday!!! She made her fiancee-- Justiniano, leave the room for us to talk about baptism. She said that she doesnt want him to know yet because he will get sooooo excited. haha. She is going to surprise him on Friday when she has her baptismal interview. Ahah. She is soooo cute and soo excited about it all. It is absolutely wonderful. I´m so excited for Saturday!!
About Michael...
We had marked baptism with Michael for this coming weekend..... We marked it about a month ago, and have been working with him a LOT since. He still doesnt feel prepared though. He feels like he has to be 100 percent with everything in order to be baptized... feels like he needs to be perfect. We´ve been trying so hard to explain to him that he CANT be perfect, but he still just doesnt feel ready.
We had a really good lesson with him last night. We had a member who was baptized a couple years ago with us and he shared some of his stories and experiences. We tried to help Michael with his doubts and concerns... Basically, we explained that it comes down to him having the faith to take this step, to be baptized. That through the repentance that he is doing now, and baptism, he can have his sins washed away... but he cant be perfect on his on! We read a couple scriptures with him... one that I really like in particular is Alma7:15... I dont remember how it is exactly in english, but it basically says to come, dont be afraid and lay aside your sins and be baptized.... At the end, I shared that scripture with him and invited him again to be baptized this saturday. The spirit was so strong throughout the entire lesson, we had born our testimonies to him and I felt like we had given it our all.... As we waited for him to answer, I was SURE he was going to say yes... But, in the end, he still said that it is too soon. AH.
Point being, with Michael, we have been working him a lot for a long time now.... He has been doing everything... reading, praying and changing his life. He has progressed so much!! And I know that he is ready for baptism now. We have taught him everything and teaching him has really pushed me to think and try to find experiences/scriptures to share to help him specifically. Working with him has made me work so hard to teach better every time. I feel like I have given my all in teaching him.
But,even so, this decision is up to him. Anddddd that is hard for me to accept. hahah.
But, I still have hope that he will have a change of heart and that Heavenly Father will help him feel prepared to be baptized. We are going to meet with him again, and we challenged him to pray about baptism this saturday but with real intent. I hope that he does and that he can recognize the answer.
Hopefully this time next week I´ll be able to send you a picture of Michael dressed in white for his baptism!!! =]
Well, we are off to go experiment chicken feet at a members house this afternoon....... Yikes. I´ll let you all know how that goes down.
love you all so much!!
have the best week!!!!!!!!
Sister Ward

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