I already told mom in my email to her, but I was so happy to open up my email this morning and see letters from everyone in my family! You guys are the best!
It has been an absolutely incredible week here in San Justo, and there's so much to tell. First of all, I've had a change of heart. It's the greatest thing that's happened to me, and I feel as though I've come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much more this week in an incredible way. I'll be completely honest with you, the first few weeks of my time here in Buenos Aires were the hardest time in my life, mostly because those weeks seemed to high light every single weakness within me and some weaknesses that I didn't even know I had! But this week, I learned about the power of faith as we trust in the Atonement of our Savior to change our weaknesses into strengths and help us accomplish things that we couldn't do on our own. I learned about this at the amazing conference we had that was especially for the hermanas, and something that one hermana said completely changed my mission and my life. I'll get to that later.
Right now, we have more investigators than we know what to do with and it's the greatest blessing! Amalia is continuing to progress even though we had to move her baptismal date to October 13th because her nasty neighbor told her that she was going to "the bad place" if she joined the "Mormon religion" so her mind was filled with doubts and we've been working with Heavenly Father to help her receive her answer about what's really true. She prays and reads without fail, but she's struggling to recognize the quiet, subtle voice of the Spirit that testifies to her. I've never prayed so hard in my life as I have in those lessons with Amalia that I can say the right thing and be the mouthpiece for Heavenly Father. It's alot of pressure and many times I leave from those lessons just wanting to cry to let out all that pressure!
We have been so blessed this week to find FAMILIES to teach, every missionary's dream, and we are praying with all our heart that they progress. I had a cool experience Friday morning when we were walking along getting ready to do some tracting. That morning I hadn't been the most obedient with the schedule. I think I started personal study a few minutes late because I was flossing or something and then during language study I tried to do my laundry and study at the same time (we do alot of our laundry by hand) and it didn't really work. Needless to say I felt bad that whole morning with a lesson and street contacting, and I didn't know why I felt bad. Then I realized that I hadn't been obedient and I needed to repent to get the Spirit! So I stopped Hna Castillo in the street, told her I needed to pray, and just bowed my head to say a little prayer asking for forgiveness and promising to be better. When I lifted my head I felt a lot better, and with smiles on our faces we said, "Okay let's go knock." Well I guess I should say "clap" since we mostly have to clap at houses with fences in front. So we went to the first house, clapped, and out came a nice looking younger lady and greeted us with a beso! That does NOT usually happen, and we were super surprised. But then she explained that 3 north american boys who didn't speak castillano very well had been by about 15 days earlier to share a quick message. They were 3 elders from the Argentine MTC who were out doing some tracting. She invited us in, we met her family, she and her husband are MARRIED (which never happens either) and we've begun teaching them! Oh the miracle of repentance. :) I think Heavenly Father just wanted to make a point with me by blessing us with a miracle after I repented.
We also started teaching our neighbors who for some reason after 15 years of living next to missionaries have NEVER talked with the missionaries! Crazy. So we knocked on their door one day, set up an FHE, made brownies and taught them how to pray as a family! They are super Catholic and not super open right now, but they'll get there. :)
The greatest miracle of the week is Luis and Anna. Last week we clapped on their home and Anna came out to talk with us. She was super nice and we set up a return appointment when her husband would be home. When we came back for the appointment, they were actually THERE (which doesn´t happen very often either!) and we got to know them and talked a little bit about our message. I felt good with them right from the start, they are just so down do earth and there is a tangible feeling of love in that home. They have one little 4 year old boy named Alejandro. We set up an FHE with them and when we went back last night for FHE we were super nervous becuase we knew we needed to invite them to be baptized but were scared about their reaction. It's funny how with the legit investigators you're nervous about inviting them and then with the crazy people you just come out and invite them to be baptized. But we talked about the love that Heavenly Father has for their beautiful family, and even though they knew nothing about Joseph Smith, we invited them to be baptized. They accepted the invitation and the Spirit just rushed into the room. I couldn´t even talk I was so happy, and Hna Castillo and I walked home on air last night.
I don't have time to write about the Hermanas Conference that changed my life, so here's my letter to President that talks about it:
I am beyond excited to write you today because I have learned so much in the Hnas Conference, and it has really changed the way I’m serving in the mission and the way I’m living as a person. I think the thing that really got to me was something that Hna. Pullan said. “It’s not about the numbers and frantically running around on Sunday night thinking,” I still need two investigators to reach the standard!” It’s thinking,” I have faith in the Lord’s promise that He has prepared people in my area to receive the gospel and I just need to do my part.” That to me was one of the most profound things that I have heard on my mission and ever since then, my attitude has been different. Now I see our goals as something other than just numbers. Those goals are hearts and souls that are ready to receive the gospel and that need the light and saving ordinances of the Gospel.
After the conference, Hna. Castillo and I had an amazing talk about everything we wanted to change, and we have seen the incredible results of our faith and our trust in the Lord as WE PUT MORE EFFOR T IN ON OUR SIDE OF THE PROMISE. We found three amazing families to teach this week, one of which is absolutely completely ready for the Gospel and have a baptismal date for the 27th of October. Luis and Anna are their names, and in our lesson with them last night when we invited them to be baptized, a spirit of love and light filled the room, the Spirit of God, and I think it was one of the happiest moments I have experienced on the mission. Ever since Thursday, in every lesson, every planning moment, every moment that we’re walking along the street, I find myself saying little prayers and asking the same question, “What do you want from us right now Heavenly Father? What do we need to be doing to fulfill our end of the deal?” And yesterday at 5:00 at night when we still only had 3 investigators with a baptismal date, it was like, “No worries. President has told us that he knows we can have 5 fechas, and he is a representative of the Lord, so there must be two more people in San Justo right now who are ready to commit to prepare for baptism. Okay Heavenly Father, where are they?” And Hna. Castillo and I both knew that Luis and Anna would commit to be baptized, so we went into that lesson with faith and confidence. Seriously, that one comment from Hna. Pullan changed everything! I love being a part of the Lord’s glorious work that is moving forward, and I’m so grateful for the things that I learned from you and the other amazing missionaries this week. Thank you!
With love, Hna. Leavitt"
Heavenly Father loves these people so much and He really is using us as His tools to help them find happiness right now through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and live as eternal families! I can't wait for that day when Luis and Anna are sealed together as a family in the Buenos Aires Temple!
I love you all so much, and I love being a missionary!