Wow, we had a miracle in church. We broke our record!!!!! which was 69! We had 74!!!!! Part of it was that one of our members went to the temple on Saturday and got sealed to his wife and so he had some family there, including his brother who is living in the States with an American. They came down to Paraguay for Semana Santa (holy week) (they come down every 4 years) and so there was a family from Salt Lake City there and their daughter spoke in English and it was so fun talking to someone in English that understood us! I have lost soooo much English and how to say things in English.
Wow those are cool photos! It looks like you guys had a great time. Looks like it was a little hot out!
In Paraguay one of the major fruits is grapefruit, but not pink grapefruit. It looks like green on the outside and almost yellow when it is ripe and yellow inside. The way that the people drink the juice is peel the outer layer off so just the white stuff is left, but you can't get to the juice yet. Then they make a hole the size of a bottle cap or a coin, then use a knife to stab the fruit on the inside to loosen it, then squeeze the juice and drink it. IT is SOOO ADDICTING!
Mothers' Day is coming up and we have been talking a little about where we are going to be calling from. I talked to Elder Benitez about using his computer and using Skype and he said that was okay. So for right now I think that is the way we will be going. If you have any questions or concerns tell me. But if you guys could figure out how to use it that would be great, because personally I have never used that program before and I would hate to waste time figuring it out when the time comes. I'm sure that Elder Benitez is aware of how it works because, as senior missionaries they can talk to the family through that, so we'll see. Let me know. If that doesn’t work for some reason, here is our cell phone number - 0972104697 (that is without area codes), just so you guys can have a backup plan.
I have been thinking a lot about our purpose here as missionaries. A lot of the time we feel that the success of a missionary is when they return after baptizing 100 people but as Preach My Gospel says under the heading “ A Successful Missionary”:
“Avoid comparing yourself to other missionaries and measuring the outward results of your efforts against theirs. Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message. Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true. You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation.”
“You can know you have been a successful missionary when you:
• Feel the Spirit testify to people through you.
• Love people and desire their salvation.
• Obey with exactness.
• Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you
where to go, what to do, and what to say.
• Develop Christlike attributes.
• Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek
earnestly to learn and improve.
• Help build up the Church (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work.
• Warn people of the consequences of sin. Invite them to make and keep commitments.
• Teach and serve other missionaries.
• Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message.”
“When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you.”
We may not be baptizing. In fact it is not only here all our mission is having trouble. That is why Elder Foster has come 2 times and Elder Arnold came to talk to the leaders (Well the first time elder Foster came it was for everyone). The other two times was only for DL's and ZL's the only reason that I didn't go was because I am far away and we would loose some working time if I had to travel like that. Our zone leader has baptized 3 times in these two changes and they have all been 9 - 12 year old kids. So it is not just us. Elder Walker did have a baptism and a wedding planned, but at the last moment the bride got cold feet and canceled all of it. We keep saying that if Concepcion will be a stake there will be a time when the elders will be baptizing every week. But maybe it is our responsibility to find the people that are lost to strengthen the church. It’s like Helaman 5:12. If the foundation of this stake is not founded in Jesus Christ it will fall. I think I mentioned this in an earlier letter. So we are working to strengthen the rama. There are some people that have made a commitment to go to church every Sunday that we have been working with and the miracle is that they are doing it. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember our purpose is "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." That is "invite others to come unto Christ", not invite only non-members. It is for everyone, even our own companion. I desire to baptize, but all people need to come unto Christ, even the less-active. I always like explaining that the doctrine of Christ is just that: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The gift of the Holy Spirit, and Enduring to the end. But that is not all. You have to start over and keep on with your journey. You have to always show you have faith, by renewing your testimony in the Book of Mormon and in the Church. When we know the Book of Mormon is true we know everything else is. Always repent EVERY DAY. Take the sacrament (holy supper) (in Spanish-Santa Cena). Be obedient to our covenants, keep your covenants and live the commandments. When we get discouraged we just have to look at our manual (the scriptures) and see where we are in life and what we need to do to improve.
On Sunday the couple that went to the temple were asked to come to the front and bear their testimony. They did, in a way that the spirit entered the room. I felt heavenly messengers in the room testifying that what they were saying was true. My testimony in the family has been growing daily. I KNOW our family will be forever and I don't have doubts! I know the church is true, sin dudas. Yeah, maybe we have not been having baptisms, but as Preach My Gospel says, that is not a key indicator of success. As a mission we have been reading Preach my Gospel daily. We have a schedule of what we have to read every day. It is really helping me understand the importance of many things. I have been changing many things in my teaching to try and improve it.
Thanks for your letters. They are dearly appreciated. Look forward to talking to you guys too. Lots of love from the south to all the family.
Con amor y cariño,
Élder Lucas Rodgers