Saturday, August 9, 2014

Service and Staying Warm

Here is Ben's letter from July 28, 2014

Hola Familia,

It is so exciting to hear back from y´all this week. It sounds like everything seems to be going well with band camp and getting school started.

This week has been great! I´m emailing on Monday because we changed p-day to Monday to be able to do a service activity with the Elders Quorum. We divided up into three groups and did three different service activities. One group helped a Hermana who needed her grass cut really bad. Another group helped a recent convert that had a stroke who lives alone. She needed help doing some deeper cleaning around the house. The third group put some lighting in a dark passageway that leads to another Hermanas house to make it less dangerous at night for her. Overall, it was great and well organized.

This ward is probably closest to a fully functioning ward back in the United States. Everything is done by the book and the numbers are high enough to where everyone doesn't need to have 5 callings. 

This last week was spent preparing the payments for this next round of rents. In other news, me, my companion and Elder Burnett are working on a new larger project for the mission. For everyone to heat their house, they either uses a fireplace or a propane furnace. Ever since I've been here, the mission has only handed out little tiny electric heaters, but no one ever uses them because they're really expensive to use with the price of electricity in Uruguay. So, we are now investing in propane stoves, which are much cheaper and more effective.

We are also getting tanks of propane for the missionaries to be able to actually use heating in their house. The concrete houses maintain themselves at a fairly constant 40°F even when it's a little warmer outside. The mission president had no idea that the missionaries didn't use any kind of heating because they were afraid to raise the electricity bill. This way we'll just contract with the gas company to do refills for the missionaries and everyone will not need to silently suffer through the winter. Surely by next winter, we should have every house loaded with a propane stove. Whoo Hoo!! sometimes it's about the little things.

These last two Sundays were amazing! The first Sunday, we had 2 investigators in church (a real struggle to achieve for us), and this Sunday one of the original two came back. We had President Cook visiting our ward. He came to the Gospel Principles class and there were 3 Recent Converts and 9 Investigators and 2 less actives in the process of reactivating in the class. The work is really accelerating here in Malvín. We recently had a family baptized along with two other people in the last 3 weeks. The ward has really done their part to help them stay active. The ward is just booming with the excitement of growth. It had a small dormant period when the two wards joined and everyone was getting to know each other. It's super exciting! The weekly attendance has gone from about 95 when I first got here to 120 this last week. This has been the goal for the South America South Area: Substantial and Measurable Growth in the Church Attendance. The work is progressing here. I know that it is the same for all of the world, and back home. The Lord is preparing hearts, ours and those that are getting ready to receive the gospel.

I love you all so much!

Élder Benjamin Taylor

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