AGAIN, I am going to be transferred. I think that I might make a world record of the missionary with the most areas. As of now I will have 8. However, I BELIEVE that this next area will be my last. I hope. I mean, there are only 2.5 transfers left (Yeah, my group will come home in the middle of a transfer. It is kind of strange, but it was the mission decided to do). The mission will actually be closing a lot of areas in the next few transfers. When I got to the mission, there were 254 missionaries in our mission. When I leave, it is possible that the mission will only have 140. That is more than 50 areas that have to close. Right now the mission has 188 missionaries.
There are two reasons the mission will shrink. First the big group of missionaries that left in the 6-8 months after the age change will all be coming home. There will be a few thousand less missionaries in the mission field (our mission president said the number of missionaries will probably descend to 80,000 instead of 87,000 where it is now). Second, the church created 11 new missions and intentionally is creating missions with less missionaries because the church saw that many missions with 200+ missionaries became a little hard to manage.
But aside from being transferred YET AGAIN, this week we had a few good experiences.
Edna, who I have mentioned the past two weeks, is progressing really well and will be baptized next Sunday (too bad I won´t be there).
Also, Claudia (the pastor´s wife) is progressing as well. We visited her with a member of the bishopric who works in the temple (he is the head chef of the cafeteria). The visit was awesome. As missionaries, we avoid at ALL COSTS “proving” the truthfulness of the restored gospel. By logic, scriptures, or science. We just avoid it. Because we know that in our minds we can prove many things, but we also know that the SPIRIT is the one who teaches eternal truths. The SPIRIT will be the one who testifies the truthfulness of the gospel to the heart of our investigator in a way that we simply cannot do. However, Claudia, being a missionary in her church and the wife of a pastor, knows the scriptures REALLY WELL. She admitted to us that she had some doubts because she thought we couldn´t show her that the message of the restoration was true using the scriptures. Our first counselor of the bishopric then responded to ALL of her questions (which were many) using the bible. I was really grateful that he was there, because my companion (who I love to death) was really wanting to “bible bash”, but Isaquiel, the member of the bishopric, incredibly helped us bring the spirit into the lesson and also resolve all of her doubts. Her church is a lot different. People babble in tongues, fall trembling on the ground, and suddenly stand up in church to “prophesy”, and she was having a hard time seeing how the church could be true if it didn´t contain the “miracles” that she thought the church of her husband contained.
After an extremely powerful, spiritual, and scripture-laden lesson, she tearfully told us that ever since Stake Conference on Sunday she knew the church was true and the we have prophets on earth today. She told us she was just scared to leave behind her husband´s church; that she needed the confidence that the scriptures could bring her. The lesson taught me the importance to FOLLOW THE SPIRIT.
I know the church is true. I cannot deny it. By logic, it all just makes sense! But beside the logic, the spirit constantly reaffirms in my heart that the church is true. Every time we teach the Restoration. Every time we talk about the temple. Every time we teach the Word of Wisdom or Law of Chastity. Every time I partake of the sacrament on Sunday. And these constant whispers of the Holy Ghost in my life are much more powerful than a string of scriptures that make sense or a recent archaeological finding that proves that ancient Indians performed baptisms. The spirit testifies of truth.
I LOVE EVERYONE! Have a good week!