Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Companion

I have a new companion, Elder Peralta.  He's from Bolivia.  As you can see from the picture, he has already hit it off with Greg.  Anyway, this month has flown and I can hardly believe it.  Our work goes slowly, but I am learning how much I depend on God for so much.  As complicated as life is, it is hard to believe how anyone can stay sane without faith.  I am hoping to continue learning and developing that reliance.

Elder Peralta and Greg

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weddings and Baptisms

The couple we are working with got married along with a few other couples who were also waiting for the chance to be married.  Our whole district was working to help these families become legally married.  It was a great effort.  Then we had the weddings at Church on Thursday.  There was a celebration afterward.  Three of the couples got baptized a few days later.  The one we helped isn't ready to make that commitment yet, but we are working to introduce them to more people in the branch so they can learn from the members about living the Gospel of Christ.  We have transfers this week, but I am staying here in Paita, so I will get to continue working with this family.  My companion is being transferred to another area in Paita.

Making it official!

Can you find Elder Sims?

Celebrating the wedding!

Monday, August 6, 2012

In Disasters and Miracles

Last Sunday we had a baptism; here's a photo.

This week we had a pretty miraculous experience. We've been working with a family (a really good family, like all families are) to help them get married and be ready to get baptized. The requirements for getting married are really tedious, and for that reason there's such a high rate of cohabitating couples. Anyway, Friday was the last day that the papers could be submitted to be prepared for a scheduled marriage ceremony next Thursday. We got all of the papers together, and Friday morning we went to the municipality to submit the papers. When we first went to submit them, we found out that it would be impossible for the couple to get married unless one of them officially changed their address to Paita. Well, they didn't really want to and hesitated for a while. In the meantime, we had a succession of different people that came and went who could have signed as witnesses (it's a real headache). At 12:00 we gave up and went back to our area. Elder Martínez and I talked for a bit, wondered what we might do, prayed a lot, and decided to try just once more. Having prayed, I had a general idea of what we could do and who we could ask to be witnesses--even though it had been really hard that morning to find anyone who was willing and not busy. In spite of that, I felt that if God wanted this marriage to happen, He'd open the way and our pensionista and her husband would be disposed to help. We went to the investigator family's house, told the mom what we thought and called her husband--but he felt that it would be better to just let things wait until it was more convenient (which it never is). We sat there for about 5 minutes comiserating, when suddenly he called back again and said that he wanted to give it another shot. We agreed to meet again after lunch and work it all out. The man in the municipality had said that he'd wait until 3:00 in the afternoon. We went to the pension and found that the pensionista's husband was home. We asked if they had any plans for the afternoon, and they replied that they were free. So we explained our situation and asked their help and arranged for them to come down when everything was ready. As we took the mototaxi back to the city center, I looked at my watch and felt kind of like the people of Israel as they descended toward the Red Sea. It was going to be really difficult to get everything done in time, but I felt almost a cool confidence, like I already knew that we would make it. It wasn't easy to keep that faith for the whole process, but I trusted the best I could, and honestly, things turned out miraculously. We finished just barely in time. I realized that God really had performed a miracle with us that day, and not just that, but that He had let things fall apart and be a bit difficult so that I (at least) could realize that we hadn't succeeded alone. The couple is going to get married this Thursday, and I know that it is because that was what God wanted for them. And now I realize, too, that even though things don't go well at all from the start, if we trust God's will, it turns out well. He's in the distasters as well as in the miracles, because that's how He shows His power.

It was an exhilirating experience, and even though I didn't feel any spiritual explosions, I was sure that day that it was a miracle, and I'll stick with that.