This transfer has flown! I can hardly believe it but today is the first day of my last transfer. If this transfer goes as fast as last transfer I'll be going home before I know it! I have taken some time the last 24 hours to set some lofty goals for myself to work as hard and as focused as I can. I'm anticipating that this will be the greatest transfer of my mission. I do not know yet whether I will be transferring or staying but will find out on Tuesday night. Transfer meeting will be on Thursday. I almost asked you all to wait for a Facebook post on Thursday to find out what happened but that would be straight apostasy since our mission is taking a few months break from Facebook. ;)
On March 4th the whole mission was brought together for a 5 hour training meeting from a member of the 2nd quorum of the 70 and a representative from the missionary department. The meeting was the 1st of a 3 stage training program the church is rolling out with all online proselyting missions throughout the world. Stage 1 is being called a restart in our mission since we have been an online proselyting mission previous to the meeting. The main topic was spiritually protecting ourselves while proselyting online. A lot of interesting principles were shared. One of my favorite quotes that applies to anyone with a weakness (that means everyone reading this letter!) said, "When we struggle with a weakness we are disappointed in ourselves. The Savior, however, is not disappointed with us if we seek true repentance. He is grateful for every decision we make to follow Him." They also talked about how iPads are just tools and you only use it when you need it. There are a lot of situations we use technology way too much when we should just put it away and focus on the people we're around or the meeting we're in. People deserve the gift of our attention.
Family and friends, a miracle occurred this week. A man I've been working with ever since I got into this area 7 and a half months ago and who missionaries have trying to get baptized for the last 20 years was baptized Saturday night with his two grandsons. His wife is a member and they would have us over for dinner fairly often and I would always challenge her husband (who speaks better Spanish than English) to take the lessons. It never worked. Finally after having finished another meal, I told the husband that at 2:00 the next day the Spanish missionaries would be knocking on his door to teach him the first lesson. He didn't tell me not to do it so the next day at 2:00 the Spanish sisters in our zone were teaching him the first lesson in his living room. More lessons followed and he started going to church. In the meantime we were introduced to two of his grand kids who had previously been taught all the lessons and just wanted to be baptized. We over viewed the lessons with them, got their interview and then put them on date for March 7th. Later that same day the Spanish sisters went over to visit the grandpa. The wife brought up the fact that the grandkids were preparing for baptism for March 7th. Instantly the spirit touched this man and he too accepted an invitation to be baptized on that day. As a zone we have been praying for families to teach and baptize. March 7th was the last weekend of the transfer and we had a family baptism. To celebrate we invited all the missionaries in our zone to come watch and our mission president and his wife came too. It was a special experience for sure.
I will quickly tell you a few other things that happened is week. One investigator I visited on exchanges in another area was feeling pretty depressed so after the lesson we picked her some flowers to cheer her up. It worked. Also on that exchange I was able to bike again for the first time in about 6 months! On Monday night we took the three boys of a family we're teaching to fhe at the church. The lesson was the plan of salvation and the 10 year old boy raised his hand at the end and said, "there's only one problem... Who judges Jesus?" Hahaha this kid is so funny, he always has off the wall questions. We also taught a man in a hotel room later in the week... That one was interesting! We got a text for a referral and the address showed a hotel. We took the elevator to the 5th floor and knocked on the number that matched our text. I felt so weird being in a hotel knocking on a random door. Well it opened and the man seemed to recognize who we were and he welcomed us in! It turns out he is a recent convert from Guatemala and wanted to find the church building.
This is the home stretch! I appreciate your love, prayers, and support! I'm giving this mission all I've got!
Love Elder Janis