The natives have some pretty crazy traditions, and marriage has got to be one of the most stressful things ever. First of all, just for the proposal the tradition is to load up trucks full of soda, potatoes, fruit, rice, and pretty much any kind of food and caravan down to the house of the bride to present the offering. That's just the proposal. And for the actual marriage every third cousin twice removed gets invited - which basically means the entire community comes down to party. If they're not members of the church, there are normally copious amounts of alcohol as well.
One of the members of our ward is getting married, and it just so happens that it was his family's turn to give us lunch the same day they were preparing for his proposal. We got to their house and their whole family was peeling potatoes - so of course we started helping. I think we were peeling potatoes for like an hour before we finally took a break for lunch (and there were still several sacks of potatoes to be peeled). Of course, they'd only had time to make a chicken soup, so that's all we got to eat, because we of course had to go out to work since we'd already gotten behind on some appointments. I mean, it was tasty, but lunch is almost never just soup. We could see that they were skinning guinea pig to cook, which I'm assuming was going to be the next plate. But yeah, we kind of didn't have time for that. At least we could do some service.
I'm pretty grateful for my companion - newbies are the best because lots of times they have way more faith than us old geezers in the mission. We went to visit Pamela, an investigator who'd had a baptismal date a few weeks ago but hadn't gotten to her date because she didn't feel ready. We weren't really sure what to do with her - as we started the lesson I prayed to know what to do and felt we should just open the Book of Mormon and start reading. So yeah, we did...but then she opened to like Alma 46 or something, one of those war chapters that just doesn't talk about anything at all. We read the whole thing and not a drop of inspiration had come. I was starting to get depressed about it but somehow the topic turned to baptism, I don't remember how. And then my companion just...invited her to a baptismal date!
And she said yes!
So yeah, she's pretty much locked in to be baptized for the 25th. It was a really spiritual day, honestly. I'm so glad my companion could exercise his faith and show me up like that.
This week we've also been studying testimony in the 12 weeks program, and studying that I've realized that testimonies truly don't need to be flowery or have really crazy experience. I've always liked a story by Brigham Young where he talks about how he listened to the missionaries for a while but never got converted by listening to the "powerful" testimonies others shared. But when he heard a man without much confidence nor eloquence bear his simple testimony, he felt the Spirit.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that this is God's true church. I know that Christ is our savior, and I know that He lives. Those are the things that matter most to me.
Til next week!
|We have to cross this canyon to get to Imantag, one of the far-away parts of the sector.|
|Eating doughnuts in Ibarra today.|
|Imbabura for the millionth time.|
|We went to see this lake, called Yahuarcocha, but it was kind of lame.|