We returned on Monday from touring our mission. This is a HUGE mission and we took plane flights and drove and drove and drove. We saw beautiful open spaces, and met the most loving and open people I have ever been privileged to know. We gave 3 firesides, spoke in Sunday meetings, President interviewed over 50 missionaries and many members of the district for whom he functions as a quasi-stake president. I will post photos to share that experience within a few days. Tonight I wanted to share stories. Just a few ways we see the hand of the Lord in this work.
President Hansen reads MANY letters each week. We have 264 missionaries in our mission, and they are all supposed to write each week. He often shares little snippets of stories from the letters in his talks, I wanted to post a few here.
One pair of elders were weary after a long day with no lessons. They prayed silently to find someone to teach. Soon a young child came up to them and asked "do you know how to pray?" "Yes", the elders replied."Could you come to my house and teach my family how to pray?" The elders were welcomed into the home by the parents and were able to teach this family how to pray.
Two sisters were visiting with a family and asked the family how they were doing with the challenge by the area presidency to read the Book of Mormon before years end. The father of the family replied that they were doing great. When he told the sisters where they were in their reading the sisters were surprised. This family was doing really well. The sisters asked if they could read with the family and asked if the father would like to start. A little embarrassed the father admitted that neither he nor his wife could read. But their children had read to them every day. It was the children who accepted the challenge and were helping the family meet their goals.
We have seen that it is often the children and the youth who are stepping forward here in Bolivia. We have many missionaries who are the only member in their family. They serve missions because they have testimonies. They often serve without the support of their family. They are strong, and valiant. President often tells a story of one of our elders who was invited to play soccer with the church youth. He came, played, learned, and joined the church at age 17. He then invited his friends to come play with the church youth. Six of his friends came, played, learned and joined the church. Currently all 7 of these youth are serving missions.
One last story. We had our first 'cambios' (changes) a few weeks ago. It is a daunting task to assign missionaries to the areas that the Lord would have them serve, and to break apart and make new companionships. President Hansen fasted, prayed and stood before the transfer board with photos of our 264 missionaries for hours and hours. And he made the changes. In the missionary letters the next week he read a letter of a sister missionary who was very unhappy about having to leave her companion, and area she had grown to love. . . but she was faithful and did it anyway. The next week President received another letter from this same sister. She was from Brazil and spoke Portuguese. She excitedly wrote to the president and thanked him for placing her in her new area. She loved her new companion, AND they had just found 3 new investigators from Brazil who spoke Portuguese. She was excited to be able to teach the gospel in her native language to these new investigators. President Hansen did not know there were people waiting to hear the gospel in Portuguese in this area . . . but the Lord did. And the Lord sent a sister who could teach them.
What a joy it is to see the Lords hand in His work. We are blessed to be here.