Great to hear from you again. We are seeing more miracles like crazy here in Minga Guazú. This past week we had some challenges but we worked hard and the Lord blessed us a lot.
One really great miracle is the progress of Nestor. This past week we gave him a Book of Mormon and marked 3 Nefi 11 for him to read. A few days later we went back to verify how his reading was going. Wow! He had read all of the chapter we left and then began to read the introduction, the testimony of Joesph Smith, and started reading in 1 Nephi. He explained everything that he had read perfectly and loved it. He is really prepared and continues to progress. By the middle of the week it started getting tough to find Nestor because he started working again. This weekend we weren´t able to visit him and he couldn´t make to to church on Sunday because they were having a fund raiser for his sister with mental disabilities. I was kind of bummed that he didn´t make it to church but we will keep working with him. I think that the plan is to bump his baptismal date up to the 4th of August. We have to pass by today to see how his progress is going.
Another great miracle from this week is with the González family. It is a part-member family. The dad, Jorge, has been a member for a while but has been inactive for about a year. Jorge was married before with another woman and they were sealed in the temple. His wife died almost 3 years ago and I think that is what contributed a little bit to his inactivity. Now Jorge is living with another woman named Valentina and they aren´t married. They have a little daughter who is about 5 months old. We had been working with them for a while and Valentina had attended two times in church already. But then a couple of weeks ago Jorge had an accident downtown when he was working late at night. He and a few of his friends were stabbed really bad and Jorge was in intensive care for about a week. After he got home we started visiting them again. After he had been home for about a week Jorge decided to attend church. The entire family attended yesterday. For Jorge, it was the first time in a long time that he has been to church. It was good to see him mingle with some of the older members that were really good friends with him while he was active. I could tell that he felt really good being in church again. Jorge says that it wasn´t because of his accident that he decided to go to church. I just kind of play dumb and go along with what he is saying but in reality I think that the experience humbled him a little bit and helped him feel the need to go back to church. It´s not a bad thing. Alma says in Alma 32 that those who are compelled to be humble are blessed as well.
Yesterday in church we were expecting a lot of investigators in church but in the end only Valentina attended. The Lesme family didn´t make it yesterday. We will visit them this week and excite them to make it to church.
Another great thing that is happening here is that the branch is progressing like crazy. About a year ago the attendance was around 25. Now we are averaging 75. It has a lot to do with the new Branch President. He is a stud and things are getting done. It´s great to work in a branch with members who want to have success and have a vision to improve. The other missionaries in Minga were talking with the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency this week and the great news is that if Minga continues to do well in attendance then they will build a chapel here. That would be so great. The Church reviews attendance on a trimestral system and this trimester ends in September. So basically if the attendance is good in September, they will begin on the chapel.
It was great to hear about the focus on missionary work in the ward. In an interview with President Callan one time I asked him what we can do to really help the unit that we are working in. He talked a lot about the importance of the unit (ward or branch) having an focus on missionary work. With a focus on missionary work, the meetings on Sunday will be better, the youth preparing for the mission will be strenthened, there will be more excitement about the gospel. I know that preparing for the mission is what really changed my life.
Anywho, I love you all very much. Thanks for the support and for everything. I appreciate your letters every week. You strengthen me a lot. I hope you have a great week!