This week was AMAZING!!!! I have gained an incredibly strong testimony of the power of fasting. It works!!! And it's amazing!!!! And I'm gonna tell you all about it. Here we gooooooo . .. . . . So last week we were having a lot of issues with well, pretty much everyone, and this week was going more or less the same way. Monica Remache's boyfriend got out of jail and came back and didn't have a huge spiritual awakening while he was in the big house like we were hoping, plus a lot of other frustrating things were happening. I was getting super frustrated and thinking about what we should do when a thought came into my mind-we need to fast. DUUUUUUHHHHH. Why didn't we think of that before??? I asked HNA Bravo how she felt about it and she agreed that we should give it a try.
So the next day after lunch we went to the chapel and knelt down and poured out our hearts to Heavenly Father. We told him that we needed a lot of blessings and that we were going to fast so that we could have them. We asked him to bless the Flia. Chisaguano, Flia. Ushca, Flia. Remache, Luis Enrique and Kela and all the people that we were teaching, that they could work out their issues and be baptized. We also asked him to bless us so that we could find people who would be baptized, that were prepared to hear the gospel. We closed the prayer, got up and went back out to work.The day of the fast was kind of lame too. We passed by the Flia. Chisaguano and HNA Silvia is having a ton of problems with her husband. She and her daughter Melany really want to be baptized, but HNO Cesar told her that if she gets baptized he'll kick her out of the house (although he did say that when he was drunk, so I doubt he'd actually do it). But she was really upset and we just told her that everything would be okay and that when we keep going on and do what we know the Lord wants us to do, He blesses us. We left her feeling much better and went off to visit some other people, then came back to the chapel to see if the zone leaders wanted to come with us to visit the Chisaguanos. Elder Garcia was dying to go but they had to do some baptismal interviews and the elders hadn't shown up with their investigators yet. So we went off to the appointment alone, but as it turned out, HNA Silvia and HNO Cesar weren't there-HNA Silvia's dad got worse and they went to Quito again. We left, went back to the chapel and told the zone leaders what had happened. They were very sympathetic, told us they were sorry and that everything would be okay. We went back out to visit someone else and on the way, we passed a little boy. I thought, we should talk to that kid, but then I was like, uhhh he's like 4 years old, what's he gonna tell us?? So we kept walking, and then I saw the same little boy run up behind us, pass us and keep going. I thought, that little boy is going to lead us to someone-which is when we saw his mom. We started talking to her, she said we could come visit her and we set an appointment for the next day. Then we went back to the chapel to teach Luis Enrique, the son of a recent convert. His problem was that he could never come to church because he worked and went to school on Sundays (they have school on Sunday here, kind of weird) but when we got there he said HNAs I need to talk you. I can work my schedule out so that I can come from 9-10 on Sundays. In other words, he can come for Sacrament Meeting. We were like . . . . . AWESOME!!!! DO IT!!!!! We left happy, knowing that we were already seeing the blessings of our fast.The next day we ended our fast and went out to work again. I don't remember exactly what happened on Friday, but Saturday was incredible. We went to visit Marcia, the lady that we found, and her husband came out and was like oh she's not here. Just as we were asking him when we could come back, she came out, opened the door and said, come in!!!! It was the funniest thing I've ever seen-some people just don't know how to lie!!!!! Her sister and niece were also there, the three of them listened to us, agreed to come to church that Sunday and accepted baptismal dates!!! We left super happy. We visited Monica Remache and her son Richard with one of the members and they hit it off really well, and she told us she would come to church the next day too. Then we went to visit the Ushcas. We thought HNO Angel wasn't going to be there but he was, so we decided to read the intro to the Book of Mormon with them. Long story short, the Spirit was really strong and all three of them accepted baptismal dates, even HNO Angel. He now knows without doubt that the church is true, he just has to keep on going. We were so excited!!!So then, the big day. Sunday. The last Sunday of the month, because next week no one can leave the house for the census. We got ready, ran out the door and grabbed a taxi. First we went to get HNA Sandra Uscha and Orlando (and Erik, of course). They weren't quite ready when we got there but they got ready really quick and we booked it to the chapel. We left them there and took off for Monica and Richard, stopping at Marcia's house on the way to get her, but she said that she'd come later bc she was waiting for her sister and brother in law to come. We ran to Monica's house, where she and Richard were ready and waiting. We hopped in the cab, ran to the chapel and tried to contact the cab driver, but he said he was Catholic (how many times have I heard that here???) We jumped out and ran in just as the opening hymn was ending and joined Sandra and Orlandito in the back. Right after the sacrament I looked over my shoulder and saw Elder Garcia peeking through the door waving at me. I thought, what's he doing here?? He should be in his own branch!! Then I remembered that the elders from the Loja branch had a baptism and he had probably come to help them, but that still didn't explain why he was peeking through the chapel door waving at me. Then I saw him and Elder Spencer showing a family through the door. At first I didn't recognize them, but then I realized that it was Marcia, her sister Tania, and Tania's husband Lauro. I wanted to jump out of my seat and do a backflip, but we all know I can't do a backflip. What I did instead was frantically nudge my companion and whisper (loudly) LOOOOOOK!!!! She turned around, got really excited, and got up and went to sit with them. As I was watching her go I noticed that Luis Enrique had somehow snuck in with his mom without us noticing. I then started counting the amount of investigators we had in church that day. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, EIGHT. The most people that I've ever managed to bring to church in one Sunday in my entire mission. In Loja, the most difficult area of the mission to baptize. And out of these eight people, 7 of them had a baptismal date. I turned around, focused my attention on the little kids in front (it was the primary presentation, my favorite!!!) and thought, I LOVE being a missionary!!!!!
Prayer works. Fasting works faster. If you want a blessing, and you're not getting it, maybe you're not sacrificing enough. That's what I learned this week. Later we went to choir practice and the zone leaders asked us how many people had come to church with us that day. When we told them, Elder Garcia's eyes about popped out of his head, it was so funny. They then asked us what we had done and we replied simply, we prayed and we fasted and we worked really hard. Because that's all we did, really. The Lord told us that we needed to fast and we followed His counsel. That's the key to success in missionary work-ask the Lord for help and do what He says!!!I love you all sooooo much. Thank you all for praying for me, for my compy and for our investigators. I hope that from this email you can see that your prayers are being answered. Keep it up. I know that what I'm doing is right. I know that the Lord answers my prayers. I know He loves me and that He loves everyone. And I know that this is His church.La vida es hermosa . . . . .