Dear Everybody Fabulous,This week was great! We held a capilla abierta (or an open house) in our branch here in Mar de Ajo. It was great seeing the members work so hard together to create a great event. All week long, Elder Bavelas and I worked hard to invite people and get things ready for the open house. As the day rolled around for the open house, all the missionaries in our zone came over and helped us do everything we needed to. We had 12 missionaries here! It was wild and fun! Our zone leaders spent the night in our apartment, and that was excellent. I love them!
The capilla abierta was a sucess. Not that many people came (26 in total, but only two non-members) but not only did our branch learn to work together, but one lady really really felt the Spirit. Now, she wants to be taught by us! She just talked about how all of our teachings made so much sense, and it was awesome. Even though not many came to the open house, the branch loved it. There was a spirit of unity in the church that I felt that was incredible!
Besides the capilla abierta, not much has been happening. All of our focus went to that event. It has been getting a lot colder here this week! So, that has not been fun. Summer is my favorite season.. and I miss it! But when Christmas rolls around.. You will all be inside in the cold.. and I will be outside because it will be a good 100 degrees 100% humidity! Haha it is so weird how everything is opposite here.
My thought for you all this week comes from Alma chapter 17 verses 4 and 5.. At this part of the book of Mormon we read:
"And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth... Now these are the circumstances which attended them in their journeyings, for they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the spirit."
These missionaries, in ancient America, had "had much success" but as we read in the second half; "they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the Spirit."
Success does not come without a price. For these men, they sacrificed 14 years of their life, went hungry, went tired, and worked very very hard. Success comes after the struggle. Success is the end result of hard work and smart planning! My challenge to you all this week is to give up more to follow God and help His work, and I can promise that success.. in one form or another.. will come!Â
I love you all so much! I pray for you!
Hurrah for Israel!
-Elder KeeleyAdditional information from letter to Mom and Dad:This week has been great. Work is hard here, as usual. But it is very rewarding. I am learning a lot and I really enjoy it here. I will never have an opportunity like this again, so I am trying to seize it and see all the good in every second! It has been cold.. and I murmured a bit about the weather.. but I got over it. I definitely have enough clothes and gear to last the winter. In fact, I probably brought more than I'll ever need. The Coast is the coldest zone in the mission, and most days I can get by with just my windbreaker.
We have 6 baptismal dates set for July. We got all of these dates in the past two weeks!! Two of them are Sebastian and Nicholas, ages 23 and 19. They are buddies of a member family in a town called Pavon we ride to sometimes. Then, there are Cristina and Nestor. They are a pentecostal couple that lives here in Mar de Ajo. And the last two are Renso and Soli, a couple in San Bernardo. If they go to church, receive answers to their prayers, and do a few other simple things - they are going to be baptized in July! (Sebastian, Nicholas, Cristina, and Nestor on the 11th.. and Renso and Soli on the 25th.) I think Sebastian and Nicholas will make it.. but the rest do not seem to have much faith. I am praying and working hard for them though!!
If you guys can, I would love it if you sent me US stamps so that I can send letters home! I found out that is all that I need.. so yeah! Also, send me pictures of the family and of me! The people here really really love to see photos.