Another craaaazy week here in Libertador this week.
As I mentioned last week, the mission had a goal of 150 baptisms in the month of June. So this week everyone was going crazy trying to make their baptisms happen. We were especially blessed to be able to participate and to see our friend Cynthia get baptized !
Hermana Morán and I met Cynthia, along with her mother, Cecilia, and her son, Antonio, back at the end of April, like our second week together in Chillán. We were knocking doors on their street looking for an old investigator who lived near them when they came walking down the street and we started talking to them. They invited us in to their house right then to share with them. At first they seemed interested, but they didn´t come to church right away and when we went back to visit they couldn´t meet with us and they didn´t answer our calls and so eventually we lost track of them for a while. Then a few weeks later we just passed by one day and they let us in. We had a really great lesson about repentance and they seemed to be a lot more interested at that point, so after that we started teaching them pretty regularly, but it still took quite a while for Cynthia to prepare herself for baptism.
Before we met Cynthia, she had been through many physical and emotional trials, including serious and chronic illnesses, abuse, depression, and alcoholism. She used to work as a nurse, but due to brain injury from one of her illnesses she can no longer work in that profession and she was left with poor memory and a slower learning curve. But despite all this, she is a kind and positive person and we were so happy to see her face gradually light up more and more as she learned to apply the principles of the gospel in her life.
Cynthia´s major trial as far as getting ready for baptism was that she smoked. She was willing to quit, but she didn´t seem to be really progressing in that regard. We tried setting various types of goals and made several calendars and other "quit smoking" plans. We bought her candies to eat when she wanted to smoke, we covered an old cigarette box with pictures of the Savior and things like that and filled it with "spiritual cigarettes" (rolled up slips of paper with scriptures and hymns and spiritual quotes written on them), we went into the "smoking area" in her house and put pictures of Christ up everywhere, we took her cigarettes away from her and were proportioning them out to her day by day based on her daily smoking goals. Our zone leader even gave us a cigarette (taken from one of his investigators) he had soaked in milk and then set out to dry (Supposedly if people smoke this or a cigarette dipped in vinegar it makes them sick and they do not want to smoke anymore. We never did resort to that and we have heard horror stories about it anyway so I am not sure that we would have given it to her regardless....). Cynthia had "entrevistas de apoyo" (interviews of support) from two different district leaders and our zone leaders and everyone was doing everything we could think of to try to help her.
Though it was a long and difficult road (we almost gave up on her a few times and she even tried to back out once or twice), eventually we all got on the same page and she left those cigarettes behind! We were calling her several times a day and making daily visits to her house to help support her and encourage her, but it was worth it! She got baptized!
We are so proud of Cynthia and so happy to see her growing in the gospel. She has the gift of the Holy Ghost now to help her stay on the right path and in her confirmation she was promised that it would also enlighten her understanding, so that her brain injury will not impede her too much from learning and growing in the gospel. I am so excited for her!
Anway, that is pretty much the most important thing I could talk about this week, I think! Love you all and hope you are all well and happy!
For your commitment this week, I want you all to read 2 Nephi 32 because it´s awesome and I love it. And I love you all!
Until next week!