Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Fire and Soul of Arroyito

The Baptism of Brisa

The Fabulous Fiorela
When I arrived in Arroyito I was flusterered- Still quite new to mission life, at this time having only 4 months of experience.  My companion and I were new to the area and I was very overwhelmed.  I missed General Villegas and my trainer and I was not too “fond” of frequently getting lost.  Unfortunately we also did not have a base to start with from what the elders had left.  We pretty much started from ground 0 with the only direction to go being UPWARDS!  After a few weeks, we were exposed to many problems the members had with one another.  We witnessed a few fights in Relief Society.  We frequently heard members gossip about one another and we were caught in the middle of this commotion.  So we began to do what was in our control—to work, to find a teaching pool, and to love the members. At the beginning of this last transfer we had a conference in which all the ward councils and the missionaries met together, analyzing the numbers of 2016 and setting goals as a ward for 2017.  One of which was the goal of convert baptisms.  In 2016 there were only 2 so the goal of 16 for 2017 might have seemed crazy at the time.  In a district meeting, the 4 of us missionaries all prayed and asked God to tell us the number that He knew we could baptize in one entire 6 week transfer.  I was prompted that as a district we could baptize 8.  We set a district goal of 6 for the transfer and we began to share this goal with EVERYONE! Members, investigators, less actives- everyone!  Our mission president had advised that as a mission we should speak to everyone about baptism so we put this in practice.  Instead of being fearful that people would deny the request we began to just ask fearlessly because we had nothing to lose. The result surprised us.  God placed people in our path.  The elders ran into a less active member who had sons with the age and desire to be baptized.  This family is a blessing to the ward.  Fiorela and Lucia were baptized and as a result the Young Women’s group was brought to life and former “rebellious” girls were kindly welcoming the new young women and being examples for them.  Those with whom we shared our goal of 6 baptisms were surprised that we were on track to reach the goal.  The excitement flooded the ward and even more helping hands were extended.  Aby was baptized after a long and tough battle that still continues, and reminded her mother of what the ordinance of baptism meant to her when she also received it as a young girl.  As the result of activation, the elders found and taught 2 men who also accepted baptism and sweet Brisa, through friendship with the young women and the example of the wonderful young women’s president was baptized.  So in total, at the end of the transfer, 8 precious souls were baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The fire has been ignited and is spreading rapidly in Arroyito.

Some of the Wonderful Young Women of the Ward

I have grown to deeply love Arroyito and everyone whom God so knowingly placed in my path.  I am a witness that people can change, that prayers are answered, that hearts are prepared.  God is truly a God of miracles.  I thank Him for the time I had to love Arroyito, for giving me a wonderful companion, wonderful members, and wonderful people to teach.  It was very hard to leave them all, feeling like I left a little piece of my soul will remain in Arroyito.  I have truly been so blessed to witness such a miracle.  The attitude of the ward changed, a new enthusiasm for missionary work has sparked, the trust the members had for us increased and the Work of Salvation progressed.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
Our new friend and investigator Luis
 How Lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
--Winnie the Pooh
Oh how I will miss the dear people of Arroyito. They will be in my heart forever.  God be with you 'till we meet again.


The District who set a goal and went to work and through the
grace of God experienced a great miracle
Transfer time:  My new companion is on the left-- Hermana Shumtz from Salt Lake City 

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