After a few weeks of chilliness, Buenos Aires decided to give us another little bit of autumn, so we're warm and content sitting in the little internet cafe. :) It's been a wonderful week in Padua, I've learned alot of lessons, and I'm super excited to go into this next week with alot of faith and diligence to apply the things I've learned! That would be one thing that I'm learning on the mission, is that we're ALWAYS learning. And that we WILL be learning up until the very last day of our lives! I feel like I understand alot more than I did at the beginning of the mission, and yet I continue to learn something new every day. If the mission really is a little microcosm of life, then I imagine that even the wisest oldest person on earth is still learning. In some ways it's really humbling because you think to yourself, "Man, HOW long have I been a missionary? Shouldn't I be a perfect missionary by now?" But of course we all know the answer to that question. :) We'll never reach perfection in this life, and it's exciting to always be improving and growing.
The week was full of amazing moments. On Thursday we went to Clotilde's with our district leader Elder Viana and his companion Elder Yoder, and wow was it an experience. Elder Viana likes to come to our area to meet our investigators, and it's the closest we can get to divisions where we can learn from other missionaries. He is an incredible leader and missionary and I learn SO much from him and his example of being a bold, fearless agent of repentance. But to be honest, I was a little nervous about having Elder Viana and Clotilde in the same room, because if Elder Viana is bold and confident, he's met his match in Clotilde. SUCH a classy, peaceful lady but has that undeniable "history professor" air about her. Like I've mentioned, Clotilde's big hold up is the Apostasy because she just can't find the evidence in history to support such a bold claim, that Christ's church literally was not on the earth for 1800 years. So I somewhat nervously set up this appointment with Clotilde, asked her if it was okay that we brought our leaders with us to the lesson, and put my trust in Heavenly Father that everything was going to work out okay.
Not only did it work out, but it was an amazing experience for everyone involved! At the beginning of the lesson, I sat and watched in horror as Elder Yoder (from the US) and Elder Viana (from Uruguay), both VERY prepared and very knowledgable missionaries sat across from Clotilde and handed her the doctrine of the apostasy with all the authority of James Talmage himself. Clotilde would make a rebuttle to something they said, and they would open the Bible and teach tell her with just as much confidence that she was wrong. I never knew what it meant to be bold until I watched those two teach, and I thought to myself, "Well, there goes our golden investigator. We've lost her for sure. There's no way she's letting us back after this!" But as the lesson progressed, I was amazed at what I saw. Instead of getting offended or closing up, Clotilde got really excited about the discussion and began asking questions, expressing doubts, and when we walked out of that kitchen that night, we left Clotilde very pensive and thoughtful and very OPEN. What I had thought was going to be straight up "Bible Bashing"
was really just bold declarations of truth, and when we declare the truth, the Spirit has a chance to testify. Those Elders had the Spirit and every word that came out of their mouths was guided by the Spirit, so instead of causing contention, it created peace and everyone was "edified together." Seriously an incredible lesson for me.
We had a ward temple trip this Saturday, and we got to go with Clotilde and familia Villasenor to have a lesson in the gardens and teach about the temple while the members were inside. Clotilde told us that she was going to come with a lot of questions for Heavenly Father, and we promised her that if there's one place in the world where she would receive the answers, it's the temple. Then she actually invited a friend to come too! It was beautiful. She left very thoughtful and said that she feel's the answer is close. All those prayers going up from Highland, Utah are being heard! :)
Saturday was a big holiday here in Argentina, kind of like our 4th of July, so the Hermana's brought little blue and white pins to the temple trip to pin onto everyone's jackets and everyone in Argentina was supposed to eat a traditional May 2th food called locro, a super hearty beef and chicken stew. We didn't manage to fit in the locro, but the 9th of June is another day of independence for them, so I'm told we'll get another chance to eat Locro.
Sunday was the baptism, and it was so beautiful! It was amazing to see Fabian's dad go up and bear his testimony, timid and quiet but burning with a freshly renewed testimony. After years of inactivity, that family has made so many changes and are steadily working towards being sealed together in the temple!
I love this work and I love you all so much. Have a beautiful week!