Voy como cordero al matadero

Hola familia y amigos!

This week we made headway in the branch.  Remember I said that we were lacklusterly received when we first arrived here…but that’s changing.  We’ve gotten to know the members here, have spent time with them, my companion the Branch President has been having good interviews with them, giving out callings, we are delegating, allowing them to be their own agents to do good, putting the branch in their hands, and having activities.  All of this has been giving a new hope and energy to the branch…they are smiling more, more open in conversation and ideas, more coming to the activities, more participation during church meetings and classes.  A lot of GOOD flippin stuff basically for the branch in Feliciano!  We are seeing that the people have ideas and energy and want to put it to use!  And that they love the church.  Our poor reception was due to rough experiences and happenings in the past that have knocked them off course a little bit (some mistakes by others, some misunderstandings, some natural life heartaches).  But we are helping them find their foundation on Christ and Christ only! (Helaman 5:12) so that the winds of the adversary don’t knock them down again but only makes them stronger!  and stronger together!  So we have high hopes for the growth and general welfare of the people and the branch here.  Good stuff eh!?
Photos below are of some members (notice our humble meetinghouse), some asados, and of course photos of THE SHIRE!
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There is this one family that were basically the pioneer members of the ward.  Their name is Kavafian…it’s armenian. They are the backbone of the branch.  All the children are adults now and have some small families of their own. The head of the family and the one that brought them all to the church and made them strong in the was the father.  He passed away a year ago and it was a very rough hit for the family.  Now the mom is the head of the family.  They are a confident family, strong in familial ties, blunt, sturdy, to-the-point, are well-off because they work for it, AND have very strong and deep testimonies of the church!  Because they are the backbone of the branch…much of the bad experiences in the past have been directed to them, but they continued going to church because of their testimonies but basically shut off much communication with the other members because of how much they have been attacked, and also some mistreatment of the past missionaries towards them. But now, due to what I believe is our help, Elder Lopez and I have been showing to all the members equal love and willingness to work with each one of them, and to put the branch in their hands.  And now they have been responding back positively!  Like I noted earlier, much more hope, energy, and love is entering the walls of the little house chapel here and in the hearts of the members!  Onward and upward!!!
Funny story: At the end of an activity when we are hanging out, eating and chatting, one investigator of ours yells out, “Okay, I’m leaving!!!!!  And I want to say that if I don’t get baptized by the 20th of November…I WON’T be baptized!!!  Okay…see you all later!”  Everybody was like, “whhhhhatttt???”  Background on this woman…she has been taught by the missionaries for ages…she’s 60 something, quite a funny character; stubborn, and because she is, doesn’t understand basic doctrine.  She’s had about 4 baptismal dates in the past but they have all fallen through for some reason.  We have been teaching her here and there, but she’s a stubborn one.  She said…”I’ll be baptized, BUT I ‘ll only come to church sometimes because there is always something to do Sundays!”  “Well that’s what you think huh” we thought among ourselves.  Well now she has put her own baptismal date…but we are not inclined to do it because she hasn’t put forth any works.  She’ll always be around and once she puts forth works we will be happy to baptize her then.
This morning we witnessed something LOCO.  Elder Lopez and I headed to a member’s house to witness the slaughtering  and skinning of one of his lambs.  He’s going big as it is his birthday today.  Later today, we will go back to eat it asado style!  It’s not the tastiest meat there is, and he doesn’t prepare it with tons of spices, but it’s an experience.  I’ve already eaten heart and kidney.  And boy was it an experience to watch upclose and personal how meat is REALLY prepared from the beginning.  I’m not going to include the pictures in this email but I’ll make one for my family.  Let me know if you want to see pics.
The slaughtering and skinning happens much different then I thought!  It was…if it’s weird to say…pretty spiritual!  Our friend, captures the lamb with his lazo, ties one leg to a rope, and hoists it up.  The lamb makes a couple “baaaaas” but is really calm.  Our friend grabs one of his big knifes, situates the neck, and swiftly and accuaretly slices the throat…the lamb doesn’t make a sound nor moves!  Only twitches because of natural nerves.  The blood drains into a bucket and the lamb quickly and peacefully dies.  WoW! we thought.  Just like that!?  And then he begins to skin it and it’s a completely clean process!  I was expecting blood to fly everywhere! But there was none.  Our friend quietly removes the skin, humbly and respectfully it seemed.  He then opens the stomach. It was amazing to see EVERYTHING.  He takes the insides out and we see the lamb completely skinned.  He takes off the head…I take off a foot (my souvenir!) and then takes the lamb inside. WOW.
Spiritual point of view…CHRIST is the LAMB of God.  He was perfect, innocent, white, and when taken to the slaughter…was as peaceful as a “may morning.”  He did not fight but allowed the will of the Father to be done.  Read Doctrine and Covenants 135:4 for what Joseph Smith said right before his death.
Don’t let Christ’s sacrifice be for nothing!  It was done so that if we had faith in His name and repented, we could be saved from spiritual death!  I thank God for giving His Son for us.
Hey!  Love you all!  Onward and Upward.
Elder Orme IV
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Hogar

Cristina is still set for baptism this coming October 12th.  Ramón had an interview with the Bishop and has given the okay that he can baptize her!  It has been difficult for Ramón to quit his vices for the drink and the smoke, but together, Cristina and Ramón have been growing and seeing the blessings of following Christ!
We had an awesome Men´s Dinner activity, a photo is below.  We have such young studs in the ward.  It´s a great blessing because they add fun and energy to the ward.
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Below is also a picture of the awesome Granny that feeds us.  The one that loves eating with us, “chicos lindos.”
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We gave service to an in-active family this week, a picture of their boys on their make-shift cart below!  I hope their hearts will be softened by our service to return again.
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One thing I know is that my nature has changed through my study and application of the gospel.  I detest all types of sin!  My spirit is filled with such joy in the message of repentance and faith.  The message of the Restoration of the Gospel is beautiful and soul-satisfying.  My only wish is that all would be humble to hear this message and not cast it out due to their unbelief!  But apply the words of Christ read in the holy scriptures and spoken by the words of holy prophets.  So much uncomprehended joy is found in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
I will remember to detail more exciting stories for the next week´s letter :)
Transfers are next week.  I don`t want to leave Baigorria!!! But let the Lord´s will be done!
Love you all!
Elder Orme IV
Capitán EO

Monumento

Hola wonderful family and friends!

Today for P-Day we received permission to go to the Rosario Monument!  An adventure! I felt like I was in Washington, DC again!

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We had a cool experience with our investigator Cristina Martinez and her husband Ramón this week.  Remember how I said that they made the goal to be sealed in the temple?  Well this week, of course she is completely willing to be baptized. In our lesson, we asked her how she thinks about all this.  She related to us this short story: The night before she took a shower…while bathing she was pondering about everything, and because she had a solitary, quiet moment, she felt a strong need to pray.  She did so.  In her prayer, she asked forgiveness of her sins.  One in particular which was her thinking she didn’t need the gospel, and only her less-active (now re-activated) husband needed it.  She asked forgiveness for being, “egotistical” in her words, for this type of thinking.  After she expressed these things to God, she felt a rush of relief come over her and a strong and very warm feeling enter her chest and fill her whole being.  She knew that it was her Heavenly Father answering her prayer and accepting her humble plea for forgiveness.  What an experience huh!?  We spoke with her how even Jesus Christ, he being perfect, was baptized by immersion; which is a sign to us, being sinners, of how much WE need baptism (2 Nephi 31-Book of Mormon). She totally understood this truth, and easily accepted the baptismal commitment and a date for October 11th.  Ramón finally came home from work right after we set the committment.  He was a little frazzled from the long day of work and spilled out some stories of the day.  Once he was calm, we expressed to him that we had a great talk with his wife, and that she has accepted baptism for October 11th. At this moment he was silent, removed his glasses, and began to cry.  He expressed how it’s been a long journey for him.  Going years alone in the church, then falling away because of lack of support and strength, falling into drinking and smoking, and now his wife, after years of missionaries and members, has finally chosen to accept the Gospel for herself as well.  All he could say really was, “Gracias Mamá”, looking into his wife’s eyes across the table.  He said something about his patriarchal blessing being fulfilled too.  Each of them both have expressed that their relationship has been incredibly better!  They both look so much more bright and happy and peaceful!  When we ask “How are you Cristina?” “De diez!” (of 10!…meaning, really really good! haha)  Whereas before it was “acá andamos” (meaning: “here we are going.”)
Wonderful progression for the Martinez family!  Let’s make it to baptism, the temple, and forever onward!
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Antonella is doing well.  She told us how she wants to be baptized but is thinking of doing it after she gets married to Cristian.  Her parents are of other religions and wants to be “independent” or “out of the house” rather when she is baptized.  She’s 21, but resides in her parents home for now.  That would take a lot of time!  We want her to enjoy the blessings of living the Gospel now, but we’ll see.
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Fernanda and husband put off the wedding for November!  They’ve procrastinated their plans.  But they are still, going.
José has been doing little jobs but still needs a real job.
So some good news, some not so good news.  We need to find new people to keep things going strong.
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I know the Gospel is what saves our lives today and what will save the world in the end, and the true church of Jesus Christ is found within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And that Baptism within the true church of God is necessary for salvation.
Love you all!!!! It’s springtime here now!  Awesome weather! Enjoy every moment, show love, visit people!
Elder Orme, El Capitán EO.