It's a beautiful afternoon here in Padua. One of those days where everything just goes right, when you have a spring in your step, when everyone on the busy streets is happily licking away at ice cream cones, when the Spanish just rolls off your tongue without any stuttering. :) Those are always great days.
We just got done with a zone activity where we watched 17 Miracles and ate empandas. Wow, that movie sure is a tear jerker, I'm still trying to get back into the real world as I write this email. So amazing what those faithful saints did just to follow the will of the Lord, and it's so incredibly inspiring to see how the Lord blessed them for their faith. It made sassy Argentines and sore backs seem like nothin. I know that with faith in the Lord we can do all things and see miraculous things in our lives and in the lives of others!
Speaking of miraculous things, we have had a pretty amazing week. It's been tough in some ways seeing as it's Hermana Johnson's last week in the mission, which is a crazy roller coaster emotional experience for any missionary. Lots of goodbyes, lots of tears, lots walks down the memory lanes of the mission with her. :) She is such an amazing companion and I'm gonna miss her a ton. We've had some tough experiences but even more wonderful experiences in our one little transfer together, and when two people experience such highs and such lows together, they're bound to be friends for life. :) It's the beautiful thing about companions.
This week, we had a miracle with a wonderful lady named Irma. We stopped by the house of a lady who was a street contact, and she told us that she didn't have time to listen to us and that she wasn't really interested, but that her mom, Irma, was going through a really hard time because the grandma (Irma's mom) had just passed away, and the daughter thought that it would be really good if we could go visit her. She gave us Irma's address and we went on our way. As we turned the corner, a little old lady walked past us and we said hi to her like we do to everyone. She slowed down and looked at us, we slowed down and looked at her, and it was one of those freaky moments where our intuition (aka the Holy Ghost) knows better than we do. "Excuse me," said Hna. Johnson. "Is your name Irma?" Talk about creepy! Haha jk, it was actually a really cool experience, and as we explained who we were, Irma began to tell us her experience, and she broke down and cried right there on the street corner. We set up an appointment to go talk with her a few days later. When we went, we taught about repentance and the gift of Jesus Christ's Atonement (Irma's anguish over her mom isn't that she won't see her again. It's that she believes she didn't care for her the way she should have while she was in her last years, and she has feelings of overwhelming guilt.) It was so wonderful to be able to testify to her about the peace and relief from guilt that the Atonement of Christ brings to our hearts. Irma came to church on Sunday, and is now preparing for baptism in May!
The other Padua folk are still doing great. Well, Gabriel isn't progressing very much, but we are still teaching Andres in all his intellectual confusing-ness, Clotilde with her slow but steady race towards the finish line, and Matias has been crazy with basketball tournaments, so we haven't been able to teach him this week.
Hna. Johnson and I have talked about how this transfer has been a little bit of the refiners fire for us, mostly because we feel that we are constantly doing our best to learn and improve, contstantly trying to trust in the Lord and do this work with all our hearts, and helping our investigators progress towards baptism is proving to be a real challenge! But I know He has great things in store for these people and for me, and I have learned some lessons this transfer that have really changed me. I would say the greatest lesson has been that of humility. :)
This week I have also learned alot about the power that Jesus Christ has to turn our weaknesses into strengths. One of my greatest weaknesses on the mission I would say has been a lack of boldness in my teaching. As we help these wonderful people begin the process of repentance, we are expected to be devastated when they don't complete with commitments and call them to repentance. But too often I sit down at the table, ask the question, "So were you able to read in the Book of Mormon?" receive a negative, and tend to say something like, "It's okay, buddy! Just try harder next time!" Okay it's not quite like that, but I'm definitely trying to become a bolder, more loving teacher, who corrects my investigators and calls them to action because I love them.
As I've worked on it this week, I've seen that investigators react in the opposite way that I feared they would react. Instead of getting mad and telling us to never come back, they are eager to do better and do these small simple things that are going go bring them so much happiness.
Mom asked about a typical P Day, so here it is. :) Wake up, clean the apartment, make our usual banana pancake breakfast while the other showers, do our usual morning studies, read letters and open packages!, head out into the busy morning (wearing our proselyting clothes and name tags just like any other day), typically go to the cyber to email, go to the little market to buy milk and flour and jam (the new staples of my pancake diet), go to different little shops to get things done (the watch shop to fix my watch, the meat shop to buy milanesa to make for lunch, the fruit and veggie shop, the office supplies shop). I think I told you in one of my very first emails that my favorite thing about Argentina is all it's little shops! Then we usually head back home, I do more cleaning :), we write letters and so on. Not terribly exciting to be honest!