You guys are too funny! I love the otis photo album idea. It really made me giggle to see the fotos and imagine the captions. I'm sure the Swindle's loved it to pieces. I'm glad you are all back safe and sound. It sounds like the fishing trip was fun and successful and that you're all busy again (especially mom) making everyone's lives a little better. That's the only way to be. I'm excited for Will to have some great experiences at scout< camp and EFY. I was talking with Hna. Tunche the other day about some of the greatest testimony building experiences we have had in our lives and almost all of the experiences came out of girl's camp and EFY. It's so important to have some really anchoring spiritual experiences in those teenage years, but even big spiritual experiences can't take the place of daily cultivating the spirit in our lives through scripture study and prayer, and just trying our best to be good.
We met our new President and his wife this week. They seem great. Pres. Arredondo has a degree in business administration and his wife in education administration. They have five kids 16 - 23 years old, one returned missionary (daughter) one married (daughter) one on a mission (son) and two that are here with them. We had a conference with them on Thursday and we< talked a lot about listening to the spirit and helping our investigators have spiritual experiences and recognizing the spirit when they feel it. Really, that is the key to obtaining a testimony - having your own experiences with the spirit, recognizing that it is testifying of truth, and developing a hunger to have more.
We had some great experiences this week. We are teaching a older lady named Silvia, who is the grandma of a recent convert. We went and started teaching her about eternal marriage because her husband has passed away and she is already familiar with the church. But not far into the lesson, she asked about the angel on top of the temple and I went with what the spirit was prompting me to say and ended up teaching all about the book of mormon and the restoration (which is pretty much my favorite). And then we challenged her to pray about the prophet Joseph Smith and be baptized at the end of this month and she accepted. It was a really good lesson.
Yesterday we also had an interesting day. It was a "yoyo" day, with a lot of ups and downs. We had 5 investigators in church although two came after sacrament meeting. Kester, Erwin (who came last week too but we can never find him at home so we have never taught him), Coco, Liliana, and Shilo (María Auxiliadora). I was sad that Sofia and Erlin didn't come and that Miguel and the husband of Shilo (José) didn't show up either, but we'll keep fighting for them. After lunch we started out right at the end of the world cup finals. The street was completely deserted and after a few minutes, cheers errupted from every house, people banging pots and pans and lighting firecrackers... seriosly, a grand cacophony started up. It was crazy andmade me laugh. But then we couldn't find anyone at home, seriously, every single person and plan B and plan C that we had fell through. So we ended up contacting and then finally we went to see if José was home. He wasn't, of course, but Shilo let us in and we started to chat. Pretty soon she was telling us all about her son that died and how her heart aches because her daughters don't talk to her, don't even look at her when they come over, just to visit their dad. She said she feels abandoned by the Lord and almost doesn't have any hope left. I wish I had more time to tell you the details, but basically, we sat in her little house and cried together for a while. Then I pulled out some scriptures (1 Ne 21:14-16, Alma 7:11-13, Ether 12:4, Alma 32:27) and tried to help her find the peace and hope she needed. I know that the Savior and his perfect gospel can heal her heart and the hearts of her family members. I'm anxious to go back and keep teaching her and her husband because I know how much their lives can change. Pray for them.
And also pray for Liliana. She is awesome but it's a little hard to teach her because of her living situation. She lives with< her kids and two grandkids, but they don't have a roof, just a sheet of plastic and since it's the rainy season here, they are having a hard time. She works in the school by the Medina's and she takes the grandkids there to sleep at night. Also, the Medina family (parents) was assaulted and robbed yesterday. Crazy story but I don't have time to tell it... sad. They are all shaken up but doing fine, with purses a little lighter.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - mourn with those that mourn and let the Savior heal their hearts.