July 17, 2017 “Church Audits, Junk Food, and Baptismal Interviews”

Elder Bravo and I embarked on our journey this last Friday to go do church audits of 4 branches that don´t belong to the mission, being that they don´t belong to a specific district. Due to some difficulties on Friday we ended up leaving really late (8pm) but we arrived fine 4 hours later in the city of Chañaral. We stayed in the house of the only 2 elders serving in the whole city. Even though they are far from other missionaries we could tell that they still had lots of excitement for doing missionary work. One of the elders there, Elder Santos, was HILARIOUS!!! He is from mexico and before being a missionary he was basically a gangster hahaha and he has sooo many jokes,  oh man I was dying. hahaha

  When we woke up in the morning we got back in the car to travel another 2 hours into the mountains to visit a small town named “The Savior”. You could say that I was pretty pumped to visit the Savior hahaha yeah ok cheesy jokes sorry. El Salvador is an old mining town that was established by an American Mining company. The city and housing designs are all “gringo” based with big front lawns and wide streets. To get there you have to drive up a huge mountain and the altitude hurts your head at first.
  When talking with the Branch President he told us he needed help with his computer. I know nothing about computers , but with the help of the Holy Ghost …..and well….a youtube video we fixed the problem!hahaha, I was grateful to be able to help him out.
  Going back down the mountain we passed by the town of Diego de Almagro where I served for 2 short months! We had a few hours of extra time on our hands so we visited ALL the members(being only a handful). It was amazing to be able to talk to them again and see how they were doing. Those members are so faithful, I don´t know how they do it honestly!! They are are alone in a little old ghost town, but they still maintain their testimonies strong as can be. We were able to teach a family who was visiting one of the church members while we were there and invited them to read the Book of Mormon and to be baptized. They accepted to read…..and that´s it hahaha, but I had to try! We also visited some of the recent converts and my old investigators. It was amazing to see the 7 month old baby of one of the women I taught of which was pregnant at the time I had being serving there previously, it made me realize how much time has passed by.
  It was painful to me, as we visited the ward members and investigators, that everyone said the same phrase: “Oh! The Elders are back!! Oh you guys are going to be working here now, we have missed your presence so much!!” It was awful telling them that we could only stay for the day. I know the Lord has a special place in his heart for those people.
  We stayed another freezing cold night in Chañaral Saturday night and in the morning assisted church with them. While doing the Audit the Branch President expressed ALL of his stresses to my companion and I. We assured him that the church has not forgotten the Chañaral Branch and that they are watched over and prayed for. They recently had a flood that destroyed part of the chapel.
  Sunday afternoon we made our way to the coastal city of Tal-Tal, Elder Bravo had previously served in that city so we were able to set up a lunch appointment. It made me happy to see the joy of my companion as he was able to talk to his converts and friends. My companion told me that when he left the city that there was a family that was ready to be baptized and for some reason the new missionaries had not passed by them for a long while. We passed by and soon enough I did 2 baptismal interviews and they both passed and they will be baptized this next Saturday!!!! We tried to have them be baptized that same day but the Branch President desired to wait another week. At any moment the Mine could call them to go to work so we are praying that they can be baptized this week and that the mine stays out of service for a week longer!!
  The Lord was able to work other miracles also while we were there for a few short hours, it was amazing!!
   On the way back home we were passing through a very isolated part of the Atacama Desert know for its visibility of the stars. We stopped for a few minutes to look up and marvel at God´s wonders. It was one of the most amazing night skies I will ever see I think.
  All in all the trip was awesome and we were able to do much good!!!
I have a strengthened testimony that Christ lives and that Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone of His children.
Love you all!!! Have a good week!!
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