Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What a Wonderful Week!

Muy Buenos Días :) 

As I always I hope this, the 75 edition of Elder Hall´s Weekly Update, finds you in good health and even better spirits! This week we had a fantastic week. I couldn´t have asked for much better. We spent a ton of time working on things in the church cleaning, painting, more cleaning, fixing things up, then some more painting.... There were a few moments when I thought we were never going to get done. It didn´t help that my random OCD kicked in and I wanted everything to be perfect (I think there might have been a few moments that my companion wanted to choke me hahaha) 

We were able to get everything done and the Pensioneros (the missionaries who are in charge of all the apartments and our building) told us the chairs and tables were going to get there on friday. Well friday comes and goes and nothing! So we called and they said Saturday at 7am truck was leaving from Buenos Aires with all the stuff. I was kinda worried for as last minute as it was especially because literally anything that could have happened to stop us from opening has happened during the last 5 months. Well sure enough like 7:05 we get a call, ¨Umm Elderes do you guys know anyone who has a truck that could go down to the other church building and get you guys chairs, the guys truck broke down just as they were about to leave. (I believe at this moment I had finished with my morning prayers and was still knelt down thinking when the phone rang. My companion was in our bedroom to and after I hung up with them and banging my head a few times against my bed I explained what happened.... (Thinking back it was kinda funny!)

Luckily there was some hermanos from Pinamar (one of the District Counselor´s brothers) who was able to come with his little brother and bring us up chairs Saturday night! (They weren´t able to bring tables though.) So its 9:3010pm and we are making phone calls trying to figure out what we are going to do for tables and it was kinda a mess. In the end we got it all solved! 

Sunday morning luckily there was no problems! We got up went early and organized all the chairs. We had 20 people come for the first day (just to compare in Santa Teresita where the actual chapel has been for like 10 years had 32) this was our first day in 8 years having the official church meetings. It was so awesome because Hermano and Hermana Romero attended church. They are the ones whose house we painted. They are basically the pioneers of San Clemente they were baptized in 1993, and the very first meetings were held in their house. Hermano Juan Romero was the branch president for years. About 15 years ago he had a serious stroke that left him halfway paralyzed. Over the years of being so sick his health has deteriorated and barely says a few words. It was a miracle to get him there yesterday, and his wife got up and shared a small testimony with everyone. The hermano was so happy and although he couldn´t express it we saw it in his face and I am pretty sure there was one moment when I put my arm around him that he almost cried. It was such an amazing experience. 

We left the church with such an amazing feeling of peace and happiness, a feeling I haven´t felt quite that strong in a long time. The looks of joy on all the members face were priceless and it made every single struggle and effort we have put into this 100 percent worth it. I can not express how much I love the people and just the entire area of San Clemente. The Lord has blessed me so much just to have the opportunity to be here during this time! I will be honest I never thought I would see so  much change so fast! 

Funny side story about sunday is that most of our members haven´t attended LDS meetings in over 8 years and so with the lack of our church in San Clemente went to Evangelical Churches for awhile. (Cultural note: In Argentina evangelicals are very animated while they worship they are know for shouting out halleluyas and praising the lords in a more expressive manner.) So we get to the closing prayer and on the back row we just have members saying, ¨Halleluya, gloria a Dios! Amen, Señor!¨ (Halleluya, glory to god, Amen Lord!) not super loud but definetly noticeable and I almost lost it laughing. Just because our meetings our know for being a bit more serious and well we just don´t do that. So it was super funny!  

The other announcment for this week is that on Friday Nelly is going to be getting baptized! Finally everything has worked out and she has made the decision to be baptized. She asked my companion to baptize her, and I will have the opportunity to confirm her a member of the church of Sunday. I am so happy to see the change that this little old lady has had, I wish you all could get to know her because she is a spunky hilarious old lady with a super knowledge of the Bible, and a firm testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon! :) 

I am just so happy, it is a wonderful time to be in the service of the Lord. It is terrible how fast time is going by, especially knowing that I am probably out of here in 3 weeks. It makes me sad but I also know that the Lord has a plan, and I trust in Him! What a great time to be a member of the church and just to have the blessings that we have as the world tosses and tumbles around in confusion and doubt, we can have a firm and steady path that leads us to peace and happiness in this life and in the life to come. Queridos amigos don´t give up, keep fighting, and strive to follow the Savior. As we do what He has asked we will be blessed, and we are going to be alot happier. Have a great week! Love you all! 

Elder Hall  

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