Great to hear from you. We have had an incredible week here in Pilar. General Conference this weekend has been a real treat. I always look forward to it. I found myself feeling on Friday evening like a kid waiting for Christmas, haha. I think that General Conference might be the Christmas for missionaries. Anyway, I got a lot from it and we were able to take many investigators so all in all it was a fantastic weekend.
This past week we have been working really hard, especially with the members to get investigators excited to attend church. The past several weeks we had been struggling to get new people to church. We decided that we needed to do more teaching with members, help the members fellowship and be real friends of our investigators. We also set the goal to teach more lessons to investigators in the homes of members. Studies on missionary work have shown that many more people are baptized when they are taught in a member's home. In the end, the hard work paid off and we were able to get a lot of people in church yesterday.
This week we have seen a lot of progress with the family of Gricelda. A couple of weeks ago I went to do a division with the other missionaries in Pilar. They are teaching a young woman and her boyfriend, who is a member. The young woman has been very receptive and we asked her for referrals. She gave us the referral of her mom, who actually lives in the area of Elder Shaw and I. So we contacted her and have taught her several times in the past week and a half. The key was that we had members in every lesson. Gricelda has become very good friends already with Sister Suarez (The Suarez family help us out so much!). So Gricelda and 3 of her other daughters were able to make it to church Sunday afternoon to see General Conference. What a blessing!
We also saw many miracles in working with Jorge Jara. I don´t know if I have written about Jorge yet. He is 30 years old, single, and works a lot. His work is next door to that of Romina. Romina is a returned missionary from the other branch. She has set a really good example for Jorge and frequently answers his questions. So Romina gave us the referral a couple weeks back and we have been teaching Jorge. It has gone really well. He is reading in the Book of Mormon and developing a testimony of it. Up until this weekend we hadn´t been able to get him in church. But he finally broke though and made it to two sessions this weekend! He really enjoyed it as well and is progressing well.
Another great miracle we have seen is with the Servin Family! You will all remember the Servins. The family that got baptized my first change in Pilar. They are doing so well! They have been in church every single week without fail. We have been working so hard with them to share the gospel with some of their friends. Up until this past week we hadn´t seen a lot of success. We were praying really hard for them, because the Servin Family was doing their part. They were inviting, testifying, doing everything. This past week we were finally able to teach one of their neighbours. He is a young man named Victor. He is only 14 or 15 but is really intelligent and polite. We taught him a couple of times and the Servin Family brought him to conference yesterday!! Another great miracle. The Lord has really blessed us as we have worked hard with the members and been obedient. I realize now that we were working hard before, but weren´t working well enough with the members. I think that the Lord had us struggle a little bit because He wanted us to learn how to work more effectively.
Apart from that, 3 other investigators made it to church this weekend. The thing is that every one came with a member and was able to sit with that member in church.
Now about General Conference! Wow, so great. I love to always pick out and note the themes of General Conferences. This time there were many messages on the family, the importance of having the goal of the temple, and much about rescuing the less active and reaching out to those who need the Gospel. I received many personal answers during this conference. Dad mentioned the talk by Elder Evans. That was one of my favorites, for sure. It was really powerful when he mentioned that as the conference went on, the Spirit had brought someone to our minds, some prompting came of a person who we needed to reach out to. He promised that as we followed those promptings with faith that we would be able to change a person and, effectively, generations.
I also loved Elder Holland´s talk. Many spoke of how it´s never too late, or never is a person too far away to come back. Very touching. I am so grateful to the Lord and to Jesus Christ for His sacrifice. I know that through Him we can be saved and make our way back to Him. I know that the Atonement is real. I know that through it we can experience the greatest joy and peace of our lives. I know that this true.
I love you all very much! Please keep going onward, I know that we are in the truth. Have a great week!