It has been so awesome to hear everyone´s experiences about the temple open house. I am so proud of all of you for being good examples to people and helping them to have a good experience with all of that. It really is way awesome and I am mad I am missing it! haha But for now I am going to work hard so one day Oberá has a temple. haha
It has been a pretty great week! Marcelo and Lily are getting married this week so they can get baptized this next week! We have been working with them and talking with them and they prayed about it and today we have been running around to do all the paper work and such and they are way excited and way happy! They are going to be awesome members of the ward and I am especially happy for their kids who will be able to grow up with the gospel. She is way pregnant and should have the baby like the week after the baptism so this will be a crazy but amazing month for them!
On Tuesday Elder Muñoz and I were wondering if we should try to go to an area that we haven't really worked in a lot, called San Miguel. It is kind of far and pretty poor and we have heard it was kind of dangerous so we weren´t sure, but we prayed and thought and decided we would test it out the next morning. And when we got there the first like 5 people we tried to talk to said we were spies from the U.S. or had bad things to say about the church or just wouldn´t even listen, which is pretty rare for here in Oberá. At this point I was about to just abandon this area and go somewhere else, but we kept walking and went down this dirt street. We saw an old man working on the side of the rode and he smiled at us and we shook his hand and invited to sit down in the shade with him. As we were walking over he said "es un milagro que usted están" or "its a miracle that you are here." I asked him why and he began to tell us his story. His name is José and he is like 70 years old and was baptized in the church 38 years ago. He has a super powerful testimony of the church and was super involved in missionary work in his area a long time ago. They even had little meetings at his house about 18 years ago where more than 20 active members of the church would meet. But he told us that about a year ago the missionaries stopped working in that area and none of the members had visited anyone in San Miguel since then (there are no active members in San Miguel right now but a bunch of inactive members). The night before he prayed that God would send his messengers to him and the very next morning we showed up. He told us he knew it was a miracle and I know it was a miracle as well. He is sick and so we gave him a blessing and set an appointment to return. It was so incredible and I am so grateful we followed the Spirit in order to arrive to help this man of faith.
But this story doesn´t end there. About a week ago I was weighed down with a lot of the problems that the branch was having and prayed that the Lord could send someone to help fix things. As I prayed this the thought came into my mind "I sent you." We talked to José Benitez again on Saturday and he told us the history of the branch of Oberá from his very enlightening perspective of 38 years. The branch was created 40 years ago but still only has about 70 really active members. There have been lots of baptisms but few retentions. From hearing his story I know what we need to do in order to help this branch grow. Because the Lord will not trust this area with more baptisms if we are not caring for those who have already been baptizing. So Elder Muñoz and I are beginning the rescue of San Miguel and as well as all of the other less active members who really just need to be shown that they are needed and to feel the love of the branch. I truly feel this is why I was sent here and I am excited to do all I can to help build the church here in Oberá.
Anyways, sorry that this letter got really long. But I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support!
Con amor, Elder Hawk