Things are going great! We witnessed so many miracles this week and we had many great experiences! We are going to have a baptism this Saturday, June 1st! We are so excited! His name is Pedro Bacho. He is about 56 years old and was a famous musician. He won the festival of “Viña del Mar” a while ago, which is a really big accomplishment and recently won second place in a national music awards ceremony for his folklore music. Now he has a sickness that keeps him from being able to sing or do much which is sad but it has humbled him and he wants to draw closer to God. He is amazing. He goes to church every week and he is committed to keeping the commandments. He is also very funny.
This whole month has been crazy because about 10 people on the island have died. They all died from different things but when someone dies here, the whole island knows and somehow everyone is related. So everyone goes to the house of the deceased person and they pray and visit with the family. A couple of days ago, a 12-year-old kid passed away and the island was really affected. It is kind of unusual that so many people are dying. I was talking with Richard about it and he says that he believes that the Lord is preparing peoples hearts to be more receptive to his teachings. I believe it. We have seen peoples hearts soften here. We had our best Sunday yesterday! We had 20 people in church and we have 3 investigators that are progressing towards a specific baptismal date! It was so awesome yesterday in church. There were kids and one baby and someone from about every age group. There was a lot of excitement and a different positive vibe. It is so awesome to have little kids in church and even though they are loud and crazy, they balance out the older, more sedate members and investigators. They bring a different energy to the church, which is great. The branch is slowly growing which is very exciting to see.
We had a couple of funny experiences this week. There is this person that was a referral that we have been trying to contact but every time we try to go to the house, the neighbor who owns all of that land comes out and yells at us and tells us to leave his property. We try and tell him that we are trying to see his neighbor and that we don’t want to talk to him but he just yells at us. So this last week we were talking with Pedro and he told us that he was moving to a new house. We asked where and turns out he is moving into the same house as that previous referral!!!!!!!!!!!! So a few days ago, we tried to go see Pedro and before we got close to his house, we ran into the crazy neighbor named “Hopu”. He again told us not to get near his land. So we decided to go see another person. But we went back later and tried to sneak around to the house without being seen, but right as we were entering onto the property, Hopu came from around the corner and I turned around and told my companion to run!! It was pretty funny!
Later in church, we told Pedro about his crazy neighbor and he laughed and said that he knows him and that he is actually really nice. He said that he was going to talk to him for us.
On Sunday, we again taught our investigator that is in jail. His nickname is Chino. He is so awesome. He really misses his daughter and loves his family. We were talking to him and he told us something that shocked me a little. He said that he didn’t want to leave jail. He said that he was scared to go back out into the world. He said that there is too much temptation and he doesn’t want to mess up again. He said that it is so much easier in jail. You don’t have to worry about anything. He said it is safer and easier. I was kind of shocked by that. But he did bring up an interesting point. The world we live in today is slowly getting worse and worse. Temptation and the bad things around us are constantly battering us. A higher level of self-discipline is required. I thought of the scripture that says that in the “last days men’s hearts will fail them”. This man’s heart is failing. He is losing the courage to face the challenges and temptations of life. He is scared of the outside world. We told him that there is a way to keep the protection he feels in jail always with him. It is through obedience to the commandments of God and always having the spirit with him. We explained to him that he could create a safe protected environment inside of himself and always have the spirit with him by living the gospel. We can’t let our outside environment define who we are on the inside. We must be strong and become who God wants us to be regardless of our circumstances.
We found a new investigator this week named Bruno. He is this huge Rapa Nui guy. He is very nice though. One day we had a lesson with him and he answered the door wearing this orange sweatshirt that said county jail on it. We started laughing and asked him where he got it and he said that it was a gift from his friend. We asked him if he knew what it meant and he said no. We also brought the Terrys to this lesson and they were pretty scared when he opened the door. A huge Rapa Nui guy with a county jail sweatshirt on is a little intimidating. It was funny. I am having a blast and learning a ton. It is amazing to watch the work progress here and how God is preparing the people of this island to accept the gospel. Gracias a todos por leer mis cartas!