Slipping through the mud: On Tuesday, we had appointments set up for every single hour of the day, which is a dream come true for me. It makes nightly planning sooo much easier. And I don't know what happened that day, but nearly every single one of our appointments fell through, and we spent a day walking from one appointment to another and clapping our hands, only to find blank, quiet houses. We seriously walked more than I've ever walked in one day, and at 8:00 at night, we were absolutely exhausted as we made our way to our last appointment, hoping with all our might that they would be there so we could sit down. We were in the area that has dirt roads, this street didn't have street lights, and it had rained the night before. It was pitch dark, and we somehow managed to get ourselves into mud up to our calves, and I lost one of my shoes to the suction of the thick mud. We just laughed and laughed, and in that moment when I was so tired and filthy and could have been so distraught, I was just overcome with the joy of being a missionary where I get to have these kind of funny little experiences. Plus in our day of a lot of walking we talked to alot of wonderful people in the street who I have high hopes for.
Riding in a train full of missionaries: On Wednesday, we had a special conference with all the missionaries in the central offices to listen to Elder Cook! And one of my favorite moments (besides listening to an apostle of course) came as we traveled to Ramos Mejia. We went in train, and as Hermana Carrillo and I boarded, we spotted black name tags and clean cut heads in the other train cars. We went to be with the Elders, and at every stop, more missionaries would get on the train, and people would look at us kind of weird. I don't know why, but it just filled me with joy to be with so many missionaries, riding along in the crowded train.
Leading a chorus of 400 in our missionary anthem: Elder Cooks talk was amazing. He taught us about the power of OUR faith to help our investigators progress. I'll talk more about that later. But then after his talk, we sang "Called to Serve" and President motioned me last minute to direct the hymn. So I hopped up, but had no idea what a spiritual experience it would be! I looked out at 400 something missionaries, all with bright smiles and singing with all their hearts, and the strains of that familiar song just pierced me to the core. In Castillano, the chorus ends with something like "God will give us courage, let us fight in the celestial cause," and as I looked out at that army of God's servants singing those words, I KNEW that we are truly engaged in a celestial cause.
Hermana Carrillo's Miracle on the homefront: I've told you a little about Hermana Carillo's story, but quick recap is: Mom and Dad have been struggling with separations and reuniting and then separating again ever since she was little. When her mom and she and her brother got baptized, they had just left their dad in Bolivia I think for the third time, and were determined to never go back. But Hna. Carrillo's missionaries promised her when they were teaching her that if she got baptized, she would be able to have an eternal family. And thirteen-year-old Herman Carrillo thought to herself, "Uhuh, sure. You don't know my family." Her dad came to Argentina a week before she left for her mission, and he was a changed man. Then she got the news in February that her mom and dad had gotten married! Many missionaries have been working with her dad, and in recent weeks, it seems like he's getting really close but struggling to stop smoking and keep other commitments.
SO. . . Hermana Carrillo lives in the Buenos Aires South mission, and we had this conferece with Elder Cook with the Buenos Aires South mission. Weeks before the conference, we kept saying, "What if you see the missionaries who are teaching your dad?" and that was one of her greatest hopes. But it turned out that they were super rigid in getting us in and out of the chapel, and when the meeting ended and President excused the South mission, we were sad that we hadn't seen them. Then randomly, three Elders came running up to the front, whispered something to President, and then came running up to Hna. Carrillo. "Hermana Carrillo? We're teaching your dad, and he's getting baptized in two weeks!" Hermana started crying, I teared up a little, and as they talked about his progress and I looked at Hermana Carrillo's face, I saw something that is hard to describe. The Spirit that filled that little circle was undeniable, and it was an experience I'll never forget.
And NOW, Hna Carrillo just got the email from her mom saying that the baptismal interview is confirmed and that President called to talk to the dad and tell them that Hna Carrillo is going to be able to go the baptism! I don't know if I'll be going, but either way I don't care. It's just been the most amazing thing to see the promise to missionaries fulfilled, that as they serve with all their might and strength, not only the people in their areas will be blessed, but those at home as well. :)