So I really hope that you got all the pictures I sent. I know you wanted to see some more of what was going on here. The Relief Society activity was amazing. They did such a good job and we were so happy to be a part of it. They reenacted what happened when the Relief Society was first organized. We had a couple of non memebers there and a couple menos activos. It was really nice for them to see this part of the church. The sisters went all out with the activity. There was tons of food, the decorations were gorgeous, the costumes were superb, and the Spirit was there. I really do love the sisters in my ward. The men are pretty fun too. ^_^
So I am going to answer the questions right off the bat so I don´t forget. The area is combined again, but we are still in seperate apartments and working mostly in different areas, but we are needing to communicate more and be more familiar with the entire area. It looks like Hermana Renteria will be my companion until the end of the transfer. Transfers are sunday night right after Conference.
I am sooooo excited for General Conference. I love General Conference and several of our recent converts and investigators have shown interest in going. Here in Buenos Aires it´s not broadcasted over television so we go to the stake center to watch General Conference. They also have a special room for all the english speakers to listen to Conference. I know that I am going to love this weekend.
Back to answering questions. I have not gotten any packages yet, because we don´t get mail until transfers and only if your companion is leaving. Other than that we get mail when we have interviews or zone conferences. On average we get mail about every six weeks no matter when it actually arrives. Letters still take six weeks anyway. I am still working on letters for people, but it will most likely be the beginning of next transfer when I send them all out.
We do not really have any investigators right now. The other Hermanas found 5 investigators in 1 day. It was an entire family and they were so happy. We were happy for them as well. Finding is the most difficult thing in our District. Our mission president has said that street contacting and door knocking are the last things you try. You are going to have the most success in contacting references, talking with menos activos, recent converts, and 5-5-5. We are still learning how to effectively do that.
The biggest emphasis in our mission is the vision. The Lord has a vision for each individual area and when we have that vision we will do what the Lord wants and have the greatest success. I believe that I am starting to get it, but I have always been thick headed. Part of receiving the vision (in my case) is understanding that I am in my area for a reason. The Lord wants to use me and my talents for the people here specifically. I now understand that and can go from there. Another part of the vision for everyone is to understand and believe with all their heart that in reality ¨the field is white already to harvest¨ now! A lot of missionaries have a hard time believing that the field is white in their area. They can see it in other areas, but often fail to see it in their own. President Gulbrandsen related it all to the story of Nephi in 1 Nephi 10-11. Nephi wanted to know and understand the vision his father had. He showed us how we can receive the vision and the understanding. I am still putting that into practice. I love that President Gulbrandsen sends out quotes every week from people´s letters about receiving the vision. It´s inspiring.
This last sunday we had 5 menos activos at church. Four of them were an entire family that had been inactive for 5 years and they wanted to come back. They had told us several times (as missionaries) that they felt special and wanted because we kept stopping by. I cannot stress enough the importance of visiting teaching and home teaching. It is to go after the one who is sick or lost or lonely. It is to let them know they have a brother or a sister who will listen and spend time with them. My words through letters are not enough to express what I know and feel about this. There cannot be retention and love without visiting and home teaching. We are told that we will not be saved without our dead and they cannot be saved without us. It is true in this life as well. Everyone is a brother and sister and they cannot be saved without us and we cannot be saved without them. The Lord has condemned those who do not take care of their brother and had pleaded that we do so. I don´t want to sound condemning or preaching, but please know that I say this will all the love I possess. These people need you so much. I know that I will have to account for the visiting teaching that I did not do. I also know that there is great joy and wonderful friendships to be found in fulfilling this call. I wish that you could see the faces of these people when they see that someone loves them enough to come find them. It´s not always easy. But they need you.
I have run out of time. I love you all sooooo much and wish that I could express that in my letters, but I feel like Nephi when he says that ¨the Holy Ghost makes a man mighty in word, but not in writing¨. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I will talk to you all soon.