The woman in the picture I sent two weeks ago is Olga, a less-active member we have been working with for awhile. She has 3 kids who are members and 2 that aren't. She is really nice but doesn't really like to progress. She currently has a boyfriend and is almost always out with him. Her oldest daughter, Laura, is the mother-figure of the household
(20 yrs old) and is amazingly responsible given the kind of background she's from. We continue to go by because it seems they come to church more often when we visit, and we're trying to focus on Olga's two oldest daughters Laura and Cecilia. They are the only ones who aren't members but also the only ones who seem to understand the standards of the church (not that they necessarily keep them) and the significance of making covenants. I don't know why the Olga got baptized but she isn't a great example to her kids. Her daughters always get on her case for drinking coffee and breaking the rules because they know what it means to be baptized in this church. We actually had a sweet lesson with them (the 2 daughters and Laura's boyfriend) last night where we talked about faith and trials with them. Laura used to be religious when her grandmother was alive but stopped going to church when she passed away. We shared a couple of scriptures with her, but the one that hit her the most was found in 1 Peter 4:12-13* in which Peter makes known that "fiery trials" await us and counsels us not to be surprised. I testified to her that trials are necessary in this life and we grow stronger because of them. I used the example of how she has become a blessing to her siblings as their mother-figure and she has developed many attributes because of the trials she has faced in the past. We all felt the Spirit and she started to cry. We invited her to ponder these things in her heart and to pray to God that he would strengthen her faith. It was a pretty good lesson.
Other than that I would say our week was below average in effectiveness. There were just a lot of things out of our control that wasted our time. We didn't get to teach the people with baptismal dates enough and two of the baptisms are for this upcoming Saturday. They are still really solid investigators but we are going to need to teach them a lot more before they are prepared for baptism. Our baptismal dates for the 25th are super solid. It's a family we've been teaching ever since my first week in the area, the Garcia family from El Salvador. They really want to get baptized in a lake or a river. We tried to tactfully persuade them into doing it in the baptismal font due to the hassle it causes those who wish to attend, but it's a really big desire he has so we're thinking of doing it in the Salt River in Mesa. Elder Hiatt, our Zone Leader, knows a High Councilman who owns a lot of land on the river so we're hoping he can provide us with a spot that also has bathrooms for changing clothes. We are going to figure it all out this week so that we can announce it in Sacrament Meeting next week and give people time to plan rides and such.
Elder Nielson is doing really well and improving fast in terms of his Spanish. He still has a long way to go but has improved considerably since leaving the MTC. It's still baffling to me the number of teaching methods and activities they appeared to have done away with; methods that were primordial in my being able to establish a strong Spanish foundation I could build on when entering the mission field.
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy your vacation in Puerto Rico. Send me some more pictures!!!
P.S. - Isn't really looking too good with the Cervantes family. We found Gabriel drunk last Monday night, and then we went back again last night. I don't thing he really trusts us anymore because we kind of caught him in the act and now he can't really play the victim card with us anymore. It is really upsetting, but he still thinks the church is true. I don't really know what good that will do him given the way he's acting. The whole situation is really intricate and would be very arduous to explain. We will continue to go by every once and a while to see how he's doing, but other than that we are going to move on to those who are more prepared.
* 1 Peter 1:12-13
12 - Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.