i learned quite a bit this week. unfortunately, i learned it the hard way but sometimes that's life.
first off, significant events. President Agazzani finished his mission on wednesday, and now President Wilson (from Uruguay) has taken his place. on tuesday the entire mission had lunch together in the office, to say goodbye. we ate lasagna, and then President Agazzani gave us all nifty temple recommend holders that have a scripture and a picture of President and Sister Agazzani on them.
now for investigators. on wednesday Esteban had has baptismal interview, and everything went fine.
on monday, we went to teach Adilson and Sara again, and Adilson's brother, Eduardo (inactive member) was also there, and had a lot of questions. we had a pretty good lesson but right when we wanted to confirm their date for the 18th, Eduardo started asking a ton of questions about cualquier cosa and when we answered all of them, we tried to committ Adilson and Sara to prepare for the 18th and they didnt accept. on friday we taught them again, and had a great lesson. they expressed that they didnt want to get married until they had a house of their own, with furniture and stuff (they're currently living in the home of Adilson's mother), and we read with them the first chapter of the book of Jonah. we explained that when Jonah realized the error that he had committed, he repented without delay, throwing himself out of the ship. he didnt know what was going to happen but he knew he had to repent. and God prepared a fish, and he ended up living, and being okay. so then they, now that we've explained them that living together without being married is a sin, should repent immediately, without taking into account the possible consecuences. and they accepted being married on July 18th! but then they didnt go to church cus it was cold and they didnt want to take their baby out in the cold. but we committed Adilson's mom to take care of the baby next sunday so that Adilson and Sara can go to church, to be married and baptized July 25th (my last saturday in paraguay)
we werent able to teach the Aguayo family this week, as Emelia was in Asuncion all week, and her mom got a surgery done on friday so all weekend they were in the hospital and couldnt go to church. but we did find and teach the two grandchildren, Mariano and Patricia, who were present when we taught the plan of salvation last week. they had had a baptismal date for the 18th, but hadnt gone to church and we hadnt been able to find them that sunday, so their date had fallen. we went on thursday to their house, and the first thing they did was ask about their baptism. we explained that they wouldnt be able to be baptized the 18th, and invited them to prepare for the 25th, and they accepted without any problems. so we taught them a bit more about the gospel and baptism and stuff and left.
as we were walking away, and towards our next appointment, we felt that something was wrong, and that we should go back. i felt, as i also described in the email sent on april 6th, that that was the price we should pay to help them, and to show the Lord that we truly do have desires to help in his work, and to baptize his children. and we didnt go back. we didnt know what would happen, or why, but after ignoring that impression and finally going back home at the end of the night, i started to feel terrible. nothing had happened to show us that there was a problem, but i knew that i hadnt followed the Spirit, and that the miracles that we had been having were likely going to cease. i also began again to feel regret for the experience in the email from april 6, demonstrating clearly to me the principle found in Doctrine and Covenants 82 7. I felt faithless, hopeless, and without escape. i knew that repentance was available, but that my mission is rapidly coming to an end, and that that may have been my last opportunity. i looked for peace in the scriptures and i only found more consternation. on saturday Esteban sent us a text saying he wouldnt be able to be baptized that day because he would have to work, and Emelia said that she wouldnt be home, and she wouldnt be able to go to church, because her mom was in the hospital, and nobody else who had committed to attend went either. everything came falling down around us. i begged for forgiveness, prayed that we could baptize, but i couldnt change what i had done. I had told the Lord, with my actions, that i didnt want to baptize. then i started to study about weaknesses. and grace. in Ether 12 27 it clearly states that if we come unto Christ, he will show us our weaknesses. to every one of us. its impossible to go unto him without starting to have a greater awareness of ones own faults. but in Jacob 4 7 it tells us why. he doesnt do it so that we may be condemned, or so that we feel bad. he does it so that we can be humble. so that when we are able to work miracles, we realize that it's not us - it's him. inspired by the question in Jacob 4 17, i decided to read Jacob 5 and 6. to see how I, after having rejected the guidance of the Holy Ghost, could newly start to build upon the rock of Christ and work miracles by his grace and condescension. and something called my attention. in trying to understand Jacob 5 as an analogy for my mission, i realized that it would probably be better as an analogy for my life. having been born of goodly parents, i had good promise to be a good tree, that would give good fruit, but i didnt. throughout my youth i continually gave bad fruit. and it grieved God that he should lose this tree. so he sent me on a mission. he planted me in a far away part of the vineyard, to see what would happen. and i started to give good fruit. i repented, i started to change, i started to baptize his children and give good fruit. but then things changed again. maybe i got a bit negligent, or maybe i just didnt understand the importance of the small things that i did, but i stopped giving so much good fruit. so He started to prune. He cut off a few branches, and threw them into the fire. not to hurt me, but so that he could preserve the roots for his own purpose. i stopped looking at my failure from the perspective of my mission, and started looking at it from the perspective of eternity. yes, maybe i wont give good fruit right now. but God, in Jacob 5, was always more worried about the tree itself than about the fruit. the fruit was just an indicator of the well being of the tree. and God decided to show me that i had a weakness, so that i (with His help) could start to change that. He has a purpose later on for my roots, for my conversion, for my knowledge, but He first needed me to change a little bit more, to be a little bit stronger. and it would be easier to do so while i'm completely immersed in His work, having opportunities to progress and grow and learn spiritually every moment of every day, than when i'm back doing more things of temporal importance than of spiritual importance. if we dont baptize anyone else, i must admit that the judgements of the Lord are just. i didnt do what He asked. but He has a wise, eternal purpose in everything, and he wanted me to be better. unfortunately, i didnt take that opportunity to grow and avoid all the pain, but i have learned. and now i'm going to give everything i have in these three weeks so that i can learn and become everything that He wants before i get home. so that i can prepare my roots to give good fruit when i return from the far away part of the vineyard.
also on sunday we talked to the mother of Mariano and Patricia, who on thursday hadnt wanted to get baptized, and she said that her husband (Emelia's brother) was looking for a new church. we invited her to be baptized and she accepted, and we have an appointment today to teach the whole family. it's really a tender mercy from the Lord, because if the whole family gets baptized together, they only need to attend twice, and Mariano and Patricia can still get baptized on July 25th. i dont know if God will grant us that privilege, but i'm going to do everything i can to show him that i truly desire to help in these three weeks.
so basically it was a pretty tough week, but i learned a lot. i realized that my time will very shortly be up, and unfortunately, i realized it only after losing everything that we had. that as President Agazzani always said, you cant run a whole marathon in the last 10 minutes, and you cant live a whole mission in the last three weeks. i suppose that as Nephi said, only the wicked take the truth to be hard, because that statement never hurt me until i stopped giving everything that i had. i regret my failures but now have a greater resolve to not repeat them, and a plan to be able to do so.
I know that my Redeemer lives. His purposes and plan are perfect, but many times we can only realize that when we have a perfect perspective, which we as mortals many times cannot have.