This week we reestablished contact with one of our firm fechas for the Noche Blanca, A**** and his girlfriend C****. He knows a lot about the Gospel already--he was meeting with missionaries regularly in Los Guandules a year ago--but we don´t know much of the status of C****. They have 2 kids (ages 5 and 3) and are all but married (they have an "Acta de Unión Libre," signed by a lawyer and everything else short of a legal marriage). Unfortunately, it seems A**** is a little afraid of commitment--he loves his "wife" and kids and all, and he likes talking about the Gospel, and even reads his assignments, but even upon asking him on a night if he would attend Church the following day, he told us a huge backstory about building a house in Las Americas and needing to check on it (even though he said it´s not progressing because he´s been out of work, and even though they went there last week). However, we have a Noche de Hogar planned for this evening (about which C**** is SUPER excited), and we are going to try to visit them every other day this week, if not every day.
We´ve been looking for our other firm baptismal date, R****, but we´ve been unable to find him. His cell phone is damaged, he never gave us the house phone, and passing day, afternoon, and night he has not been at his house nor at his uncle´s house. We´ll keep trying, and we managed to get his brother to take an #Aleluya passalong with our number on the back and to promise to have R**** call us. We will see what happens there.
We have another investigator, E*****, who is all but firm for this coming Noche Blanca as well. He is husband of a member who lives in New Jersey, and he wants to be baptized, and he reads the assignments and more--he just won´t commit to a date yet. We´ve tried 2 times now, and we´ll try again this week.we asked the questions for a baptismal interview to show him just how much he knows and to give him (and his daughter M*****, who has also been in the lessons most of the time) the opportunity to bear testimony of the things he´s been praying about. He still says he wants to be "completely convinced," so when we return we´re going to talk more on prayer and faith.
Cr***, his "wife" A****, and this time 3 of their children were able to come to church, and again they loved it. They too are almost completely ready for baptism, but they need to get married, and every time we ask we get a different reason from each. We´re going to focus on marriage and the law of chastity (again), and we plan to let it be after that. By that I mean, let the Lord speak to their hearts so that it´s not pressure from us to get married, but rather a desire and conviction from within that they feel.
We´ve almost lost contact with Ce**** and his wife L****. L**** is having a tough time with her pregnancy and is sick many of the times we pass by. Ce**** has friends all over the place, so it´s been difficult (even at night) to catch him at home. We´re going to refocus on them this week, because L**** shows a lot of potential, because she was progressing when we were able to visit with them regularly, and because they live with 3 or 4 nonmembers who could be potential references. We need to focus a lot on getting Ce*** reactivated first, because if he doesn´t become active, she won´t have an example to follow for getting to church, and they won´t be able to reach their goal of a temple marriage. We will definitely make sure to focus on that point this week.
So yeah. Life is pretty good out here. We even have a couple more investigators than that progressing, which is the best I´ve had in the mission insofar. We even had 7 investigators at church today! 7! That´s more than all the investigator attendances in my entire first transfer. Also we got to go to the temple this week, and I learned a lot more than I think I ever have to this point. TEASER: when we cover our sins, inadequacies, or lack of effort with something other than the Atonement, we don´t "hide" somehow from God. Complete and open honesty and accountability (in prayer and to Him though leaders) is the only way to have our "weak things become strong" and to have joy in EVERYTHING we do, not just in the good stuff that happens.
Elder D***** and I are getting along super well. Better, I think, than I did even with Elder M****. We both do the cooking (I now know how to make a whole lot of Dominican standards), and it´s been a great feeling to be able to help him out with District Leader responsibilities where I can.
This week I´m going to start "ponderizing." I´ve been wanting to do it for a while, but I have been working on other stuff first. That´s the really cool thing about a mission--there never comes a day when you have nothing to improve, and there is always material to study if you study deeply and slowly enough.
Also, there´s a guy in Santiago who does bags for the missionaries here. I´ve been communicating with him to get a sick custom bag with a waist strap and everything--and it´s less than 50 bucks! It will be green camoflauge (he is out of straight-up green) and will have my last name, a US flag in leather, and a DR flag in leather. My other bag will still be used, but for meetings and intercambios where I need more stuff, since it´s bigger. I will send pics when I get it.
Love you guys! Study your scriptures. Pray honestly and openly. Ponder LIKE A BOSS. May the Lord bless and guide you in everything you do.