This week was pretty cool. The whole church thing didn't come together like last week, but we were excited to see Lady there, once again. Plus we started teaching a member´s girlfriend, Isabel, who is really great. Teaching her is a little interesting because she's actually from Germany, but her mom is from Argentina, so she grew up speaking German and Spanish, but her first language is German. She's really fluent but sometimes she has questions or doubts that she can't explain very well. But she's great, and although she doesn't want to accept a baptismal date yet, we're really excited about her because she's progressing really well. When she prayed at the end of the lesson she said, Heavenly Father, help me not to be so full of doubts!!! I thought that was really funny, and it showed that even though she does have doubts, which is natural, she wants to know the truth. Pray for her!!!
So after church, we decided to go over to Lady's house and give her what we like to call the "franca" in other words, we ask her what her problem is and why she hasn't been baptized yet when she's been to church like 7 times. So we went in, sat down and said, all the members are asking when you're getting baptized (which is completely true.) She thought about that for a second and said . . . . really?? Uhhh . . . YES!!!! So we sat there for about an hour hashing out all her doubts. I loved it because we were so direct it was not even real. She said, well what about the Virgin?? We said, okay Lady, lookit. It is NOT okay to worship the Virgin, saints, idols, images or anyone else that is not God or Jesus Christ. Then she said, well I don't want to be baptized again bc I was already baptized. We explained the power and authority and how Jesus was baptized and she said, but it's a mockery before God to be baptized again. I had a thought come to my mind, got scared for a second and then thought, what do I have to lose?? I looked at her and said, very plainly, Lady, if God asks us to be baptized like His Son Jesus was baptized, and we don't do it, THAT is a mockery before God. She looked kind of surprised, but we just kept on going. We said, if we don't get baptized the way Jesus was, we're telling Heavenly Father that we don't want to go back to His presence. We're telling Him that we don't want to receive blessings, that we don't want to be with our families, and that we don't love Him, because we're not being obedient to His commandments. She was thinking hard about that too. Then we said, Hermana, do you believe that this is the true church of Jesus Christ?? She said yes. Then we asked her, then why won't you be baptized?? We know that you know that you need to be baptized!!! She said, yeah, you know what?? I actually had a dream the other night that I was standing by the baptismal font. I said, you dreamed that you were being baptized and you STILL DON'T WANT TO BE BAPTIZED??? She laughed and said, I'll let you know sisters. She also told us that she wants the support of her mom, which was something we didn't know before. She also told us that she didn't want to be baptized by herself, that she wanted someone else to be baptized with her. I thought that was kind of interesting, but hey, I'm willing to baptize someone else, always. Anyway, we left that lesson and although she STILL didn't accept a baptismal date and maybe won't, I felt really good. HNA Robison afterwards was like, that lesson was SO GOOD!!! I felt like it was pretty much what Heavenly Father has been saying to her all along. We'll see what happens with her . . . . . hopefully she gets baptized before I go home!!!
So we had a fun experience on Saturday. We were standing outside of the Parque Jipiro waiting for the bus, when we heard a horn honking across the street. We looked over to see President Hernandez and his wife waving to us from the car. We waved back and then in a mixture of yelling and sign language, Pres. Hernandez communicated the message: Talk!!! Both of you!!! Tomorrow!!! I thought I hadn't heard him right at first, but unfortunately I did. He drove away and I was like, he can't be serious!!! When Hermana Robison heard that she had to give a talk too she was like, I can't give a talk!!! I can't even speak Spanish!!! But she rocked it of course. I talked about Pres. Monson's talk from the Relief Society session, Charity Never Faileth. He talks about not judging other people and developing the pure love of Christ and seeing them as they really are. It's a fabulous talk and I recommend it to everyone. We never know what's going on underneath someone's physical appearance, actions, inactions, personality or character. I remembered something that Mom always told me-people hide a lot under their Sunday clothes. We should never judge anyone by anything, and especially by physical appearance. Instead of judging, we should try to understand, instead of criticizing, we should try to love. Every single one of us has weaknesses, and the last thing we want or need is someone to point them all out every day. So why would we do it to someone else?? Judge not, that ye be not judged.
So lately I've been a little frustrated because the people we're working with aren't progressing. Although we teach, exhort, sort out doubts, bring the Spirit and pray that they'll do the right things, sometimes they don't. But I've realized that even though it seems like nothing is going right, the Lord is still pleased with what we're doing. He loves us and wants us to be happy, and He has blessed us with new people to teach who do want to progress. Although they have doubts, they have the desire to know the truth, and that will bring them to know it. We just have to keep working and keep being obedient and the success we're looking for will come. I know it will. I was also thinking hard this week and I realized how blessed I was to grow up with the gospel. I was born under the covenant, baptized when I was 8 by my dad, grew up in Young Women's and Young Single Adults. My parents supported me in all my church activities and callings and when I decided to go on a mission they couldn't have been more thrilled. Here in Loja I'm realizing how much of a blessing that was. I have no idea what it's like to grow up thinking that the Catholic church is true and if I'm baptized into another church I'll be damned. I have no idea what it's like to leave traditions that have been passed down for generations of time. I have no idea what it's like to change everything I've believed my whole life in 2 or 3 weeks. I have no idea what it's like to face opposition from my family or friends for listening to the missionaries, going to church or being baptized. I have no idea how difficult it is for some people to accept the gospel because for my whole life I've known it's true and my family and friends have supported me in it. But it's good for me to think like that because I'm becoming more patient with the investigators and I'm loving them more the way Christ does. But please pray for all of them-they face more opposition down here in Loja than any of us have ever imagined.
Week highlights: once again, the one liners of HNA Robison. This is my favorite so far:
(As we're walking by the nightclub near our house, smelling alcohol and cigarrettes) HNA Robison: Smell that?? That's SATAN.
More week highlights: Finally beginning to teach Isabel after wanting to for months. Sunshine every day (although it's raining right now, boo.) Eating bread and ice cream every day. Laughing about the random announcements in district meeting. My favorite: apparently now if we use knives to clean out the ice in our freezer, we will be transferred and bumped down to junior companion. HNA Robison's commentary: What if you're already junior companion?? Cleaning the freezer with knives then became the zone joke of the week. (sidenote:just in case president or the assistants are reading this, neither of us has ever cleaned out the freezer with a knife. Promise.) Teaching HNA Robison how to make patacones. Setting appointments to teach more incomplete families and less actives. Getting to know the members better through visiting them. Translating HNA Robison's talk into Spanish. Hearing her rock it from the pulpit on Sunday. Speaking Spanish. Loving life. Being a missionary!!!!
Well everyone, time to go. Tune in next week for more of the miracles and adventures from the misson life of Hermana Chamberlain!!!