We are late getting the Blog posted this week as we were in Castillos and Chuy, Saturday – Monday. Last week was change week. That is when the new missionaries come in and the old ones go home. It is a very busy week. We started out Tuesday morning by meeting the plane with the new missionaries at 7:30 A.M. We put the bags into the trailer and off we went to the mission home. The new missionaries are fed and given some training. In the afternoon, they are paired up with the missionaries and go tracking. I have a real neat story. Sister Townley, one of the missionaries going home took a new sister to visit a prospective member in her area. They taught a lesson and gave her the baptismal challenge and the prospective member accepted. Is that a cool story or what to give a baptismal challenge on your last day and first day in the field. Sister Townley is one of the best. We went on several discussions with her. She has a wonderful spirit and everyone knows that she knows that this work is true.
On Wednesday morning we got up early and to help feed the new missionaries. The new missionaries are then paired up with their companions and off they go. I like this time in the field. I reminds me of a cattle drive when the mothers are paired up with their calves. There is a lot of milling around and bawling.
Wednesday at noon we headed to the bus station to pick up the old missionaries coming in from the field. We threw their bags in the trailer and headed to the mission home. That evening we helped serve a dinner for them and President and Sister Cook. We got home at about 9:30 that night. On Thursday we took two different trips to the airport. All in all a pretty busy week.
These were the assistants until the last change. Honestly, when they spoke to the missionaries I thought they were the President. They are great leaders. Elder Martinez went home last week and Elder Olivera goes home the end of March. They will be missed. We got to know Elder Martinez real well. His mother joined the Church while he has been on his mission. She was the last of his family to join. He is looking forward to being sealed to his family when he returns home.
I want to say something else about how missionary work can be. Elder Martinez who is pictured above spent his last change from being an assistant to working in the field. He and his companion Elder Cary worked real hard and ended up with 5 investigators at Church. Several of them are getting ready for Baptism. That is a great way to end a mission. I really look up to both of these Elders for their hard work.
Thursday night we were able to do real missionary work. We were invited to go over to Humberto and Cristina’s house for dinner. They are about 70 years old. Humberto was baptized when he was 13 but still does not have the Priesthood. We started off with a Pionono. This is a specialty sandwich with lots of real good things. We then moved to the empanadas. They were ham and cheese or beef and cheese. I ate about 10 of them because I could not decide which ones I liked the most. We finished off with a fruit cocktail style dessert. It was so good. Afterward Humberto told us that he was reading the Book of Mormon and wanted to get the Priesthood. We discussed Section 13 of the Doctrine and Covenants and visited about the importance of the Priesthood. Humberto is really working on this. As we left he told me, “mi casa es su casa”, meaning my house is your house. He also told us that we are welcome anytime. We could really feel the love that they have for us. It was wonderful
On Friday we did some work fixing apartments and got ready to listen to Elder Bednar, who came to speak to both missions. He was wonderful. He spent a lot of time teaching about listening to the Spirit and following it. He stated that the Apostles never go anywhere by accident and always go to reach one person at a time. He emphasized that we as missionaries are the same. We need to be sensitive to the Spirit and follow it to be an answer to some ones prayer.
On Saturday we headed to Castillos again. We were able to meet with most of the rest of the members who come to Church. I am so impressed that most all of them have been to the Temple. They have great Testimonies and a great understanding of the Gospel. Their participation in class is some of the best I have heard. I least I think that is what I understand. I am still a little sketchy on some of the Spanish.
A few things that really stand out. Norma is the Relief Society President. She has been the President for 15 years. Saturday, she and another sister cleaned the Church by themselves. Sister Norma is 77 years old. So from now on, when I think I am a little picked on, I am going to think of Sister Norma as an example.
We also were able to eat lunch on Saturday at Sister Narda Molinas. We had Canelones. They were so good. I can’t believe how good the food is. We told her we had to leave early try to see the funeral. When she found out about the funeral she was so kind to Renee. When we told her about the big dinner afterward and that our meal with her was our meal after the funeral, she had tears in her eyes just like we did. It was wonderful.
On Monday we spent the day driving to Chuy to help them with their house. We got home after 9 P.M. We had a wonderful week. Thanks to all of you for your love and support. We are grateful to have the Gospel in our lives and can see it bless the lives of all the people in Uruguay.
Love Gordon and Renee