Saturday, October 18, 2014

La Paloma-Training a New Companion in a Brand New Area

Hola Familia,

This last week and a half has been super fun. I'm finally out of the offices and I am here in La Paloma training my pro (new missionary from the MTC) Elder Rollins. Elder Rollins is super funny and has a great attitude about everything and he's working really hard to learn Spanish.

I hope everyone enjoyed conference, I loved it! 

I am now in La Paloma. This will be probably one of the best experiences I will have on my mission. 
This is a map of the southern part of Uruguay. Ben was in Montevideo in the mission offices for the last 6 months, which is at the center bottom of my map. He is now on the southeast coast of Uruguay (red marker)
It is a super small branch located in a super small touristic beach town.
Here is a close up image of La Paloma
The average attendance every week is about 12 people (including two missionaries) There is one Sister who is on special assignment from the district (not stake) to teach the Sunday School classes and run all the Women's Auxiliary functions, and a member from the district presidency who visits us every other week. 

As far as priesthood holders, it's the missionaries, one young man and the branch president (85 yr old man who was inactive most of his membership and just 2 years ago reactivated and was sealed to his wife). Yesterday I taught Gospel Doctrine and blessed the sacrament and gave a 25 min talk/testimony because everyone had already gone and we still had a bunch of time in our testimony meeting. 
Ben in front of the Chapel

My companion did his very best to talk in Spanish but eventually ran out of words. In order to help him to continue and take up more time, I translated for him while he taught some more during the fast and testimony meeting. It's a really special place, and the people are so kind. I translated everything else from Spanish to English for some tourists from Canada that were visiting with us.
Elder Rollins in front of the Chapel

We arrived in White-wash (both of us were new to the area) and have been spending a lot of time just in the street trying to find new people to teach and trying to get to know the area. The streets rarely have names, and not a single house has a number (sometimes the owners give the house a corny name like captains give their ships). We took some pictures this morning of the lighthouse here in the town. It is turned on every night and is super pretty.

It's been a little difficult to find people that live here the whole year. Honestly, in our 4 days here, we've talked to a German, Texan, Canadians, Brazilian, a bunch of people that live in Montevideo and even an Italian.

We have been lucky to see the Lord work a lot of miracles. For example, yesterday we went after church (2:30-5:30 pm) to give the sacrament to a few of the people in the branch that can't attend for health problems. Afterwards, we only had about 55 min in the street to do regular proselyting. Normally one in every seven people we talk to will give us time to say anything. Yesterday we had put the goal to find 2 new people to be able to pass by in the future. We were able to find three! 

The La Paloma Chapel
Of the 5 people we spoke to in those 55 min (everything is very spread out and the town is almost deserted this time of the year) 4 of them listened, 3 promised to read and gave us a description to be able to find their house along with their contact information, and two said that they would give a serious effort in praying to receive an answer of the truthfulness of what we were sharing and said that if they receive an answer that they would seriously consider being baptized by someone who possesses the restored priesthood authority of God.

Our branch is amazing and I'm so happy to be here, and humbled by the trust the Lord has in my companion and I, by putting us here.

I'm sure you already realized, but the church that we meet in is actually a house donated by the last branch president when he died. It's located about 50 steps away from the beach. Yesterday the primary (the teacher and a little girl) went to the beach to go talk about the creations of God.

This whole experience is going to stretch me a ton; training (someone who is still learning Spanish), giving a talk a week, teaching a class a week, doing almost all of the home teaching, and meanwhile finding more and more people to teach. It's going to be amazing!

I love you all so much, I am always praying for all of you. Take care!

Élder Benjamin Taylor

No comments:

Post a Comment