Thanks for a great letter. I enjoyed hearing about the stake conference and hearing about the themes that were covered. It`s always so amazing how at conferences there are common threads and themes throughout the conference, even when the speakers aren`t giving assigned talks. The Lord knows what He wants us to hear.
Dad seemed to be very excited to hear about my transfer. He had several questions about my new area so I will go ahead and answer them
So are there many women named Pilar there?Haha, yeah there are several that I`ve met so far. I hadn`t met anyone named Pilar until I came here. I remember Dad telling me about a woman named Pilar from his mission. Didn`t you meet up with her when you visited Spain several years ago?
So is it more laid back in a smaller town like Pilar?
Yeah, it`s very laid back. It`s a really safe part and it has that small town feel. I really like it
Do you find that the town is more family oriented like Santa Rita was?
Yes, there are more families together. It`s so nice for missionary work. It`s easier to find families together. Pilar really does remind me a lot of Santa Rita. There are a couple of differences however in that the Church has been in Pilar for a really long time already(like 30 years or so) and there aren`t any Brazilians. Other than that, the layout of the city and the small town feel are a lot like Santa Rita
How does the average sacrament meeting attendance in Pilar compare to wards in Asuncion? Our Branch is pretty strong. The attendance here is much better than in my last ward. The last two Sundays we have had over 60 people in attendance. In Asunción there are some wards with an attendance over 100, but for the most part it`s about the same as here in Pilar.
You said that there are four companionships in your zone. Do they all serve in Pilar?
No, we have 2 companionships in Pilar, 1 in an area named San Ignacio and another in an area named Ayolas. In Pilar there are 2 branches and 1 companionship serving in each branch. The other two areas (San Ignacio and Ayolas) are like 3 and 5 hours away from Pilar, so we will do A LOT of traveling.
How many companionships are there per branch?
There is one companionship in each branch.
I think I hit about all of the questions that were asked. If there is anything else that you would like to know just let me know.
We have had a great week. It`s been really hot but we haven`t let the heat get us down. The Servín Family is continuing to progress so well. Elder Shaw and I have really developed a great love for them. This week we have been really fighting to help them get married. The husband has several doubts and still hasn`t attended church. He wants some more time to make a decision. The mom and the 3 children are practically already members. They have attended 3 Sundays in a row, are reading and praying, love the church, etc. So this past week we have been working with them, sending the members to their house, doing everything to help them get excited and make the decision to get married so that the mom can get baptized. The dad agreed and we have the wedding and the baptism of the mom set for the 4th of February. The plan is to go forward with the baptisms of the the children this Saturday and invite the parents to come. I know that the dad will feel the Spirit at the baptism and that it will help him to continue and want to know more.
Apart from that we have continued working with an investigator named Adda, but it seems as if we will have to drop her. She had a baptismal date for this past Saturday but had some doubts and took off to her dad`s house in the campo. When she came back she said that she didn`t want to get baptized anymore and that she feels like she should continue with her traditions (Catholic). Kind of a bummer because she knows it`s true and we know she knows. We will continue to pray for her and hope that she will develop the faith to be baptized.
Thanks, Mom, for the family history update. I am very proud of you for catching the Spirit of Elijah and working hard on the family history. You are a great example to me. Ooh, a cool story from this week about that as a matter of fact! There is a recent convert of Elder Shaw in our area named Aniseto. He is an older man, he has like 60 years. This past week we were teaching a retention lesson about the Plan of Salvation. He mentioned that he had read in his Gospel Principles book about the doctrine of baptisms for the dead. He expressed a great interest and appreciation for that doctrine. He expressed excitement to be able to do those ordinances for his father. He mentioned that before he had always wondered about the salvation of his father, who was a very good man but was never baptized in any church. The joy that Aniseto felt upon hearing about the opportunity to do that ordinance was a great miracle and reminder to me about the importance of this work. As one person is converted, it saves generations. Not only the future generations and descendents of the converts, but the ancestors and past generations as well. What a perfect Gospel Plan. I love it.
We have also found some great new people this week. After the Servín family, we don`t have anyone else with a baptismal date so we really need to get cracking on more progress with other investigators.
Thanks for all of your love and support. I love you all so much!!
Have a great week!