Sunday, March 15, 2015
Conferences & Baptism of Nefi
March 2, 2015 Letter
Hola Familia! ¿Como Están?
Congrats Plainfield High for your first IPA Contest. That's super awesome! Hopefully the first of many.
This week has been great! We had some conferences this week. We met with Élder Viñás (Élder Viñas). It was great and has challenged us to focus our work on the establishment of the church. We have been trying to work in such a manner, but he gave us some wonderful councils and provided an environment in which we could receive more inspiration to be able to accomplish the overall goal of making Uruguay a strong point in Zion and not a stagnant area.
He pointed out that the "real growth" has been halted because we have not focused on increasing the amount of active worthy priesthood holders. He taught us from various examples from the Book of Mormon that before the church was ever officially established or reestablished there must always be a strong base of priesthood.
Verse 1 "And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it." [Focusing on priesthood holders]
Verse 2 & 3 "Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins. And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end." [Obviously all the women and children were not denied the same opportunity, but it was not the focus of those early establishers of the church, because they knew that if there was not enough priesthood the church could not continue. At that time, the worthy priesthood holders who could exercise their priesthood was 1:50 ratio. Now a days the church is requiring a 1:20 ratio.]
Right now we are still in a stage of growth and development as with almost every other country except for the USA, Peru and Mexico (who are currently sending more missionaries than what they receive). And that ratio is far out of balance which is why in these years the growth has been far smaller and less retainable. So our focus now is to strengthen families, especially the head of the house, through reactivation and rescue efforts.
This has been something we for the last few weeks have been trying to do. We have seen many blessing in the way of people that have returned to church, that are now working with the bishop and us to put their lives back together. One was recently ordained to the office of an elder and is preparing to go to the temple. Another has left behind years of Word of Wisdom problems and is now reading and praying with his family every day.
The most amazing part of making this change in our focus is that every other aspect of our work has improved. We've found families where not everyone is a member. Using references from these members, we've got a few people that are starting their family tree and already have some names to take to the temple. It's been at least more than a year since our ward has had such a high attendance, or had so many Less active families, or Less active families that have officially "reactivated" in church.
So until the church is stronger at it's base, it'll never be able to grow well or strongly. Así que, we are responsible for that work, of establishing Zion and giving her a good foundation on which she may build her kingdoms
In other news:
This Saturday we had the Baptism of Nefi (Nephi) Facini Mendoza.
He is 9 years old and is super funny. He reminds me a lot of Talmage, my cousin.
He is the grandchild of two families from here in the ward. One pair active, and the other pair (the ones he lives with) have been inactive for a few years, but not any more!. We've been working with the family for these last few months and now they are considered active because they've gone for more than a month straight and had a few interviews with the bishop [We're going to keep working with them very closely for at least the next three months until they are on a good track towards the temple to be sealed].
They're great, they've completely changed from the first time we met them. They are now working really hard to read the scriptures and pray daily with their 4 grandchildren that live with them.
It's been really neat to see the changes this family has made.
Well I love you all a lot and I hope everything is going well back home for you.
Élder Benjamin Taylor