Life here is crazy, let me tell ya, but I love it! Well, except for the fact that we didn't have power for almost 3 days, which makes things a bit harder and hotter, but it's all good, makes life more of an adventure! The apartment has running water most of the time, yeehaw! It doesn't even matter that hot water doesn't exist because we just sweat 24/7 anyways:) (But you know it's pretty bad when someone simply looks at you and hands you a napkin to wipe yourself off.) This area is super big and super hilly--we're getting an awesome workout every day! I'm glad we walk and don't ride bikes; let's be real, they'd just get stolen anyways haha:)
There's still so much of the area that I haven't seen, but from what I have, it's classic Dominican: colmados (bedroom-sized convenience stores) and hair salons and mini lottery banks on every corner, music blasting all day long, tiny homes crammed together, everyone sitting outside on plastic picnic chairs, motors driving on sidewalks, fresh fruit and vegetable carts and trucks, the smell of car exhaust and fried garlic, roosters and naked babies running around, and oh so many God-believing people. I love it!!! My amor for this country has already grown so much in this city. It's a nice mix of everything here: apartments, middle and lower class homes, shacks, constant noise, but also a calm, pretty, green area because Los Caobas is the edge of the capital before you head to the South (reminds me of Ocoa, especially because I can see the mountains in the distance ;D). It really is the greatest area EVER!!!
Training Hermana Vazquez is going splendidly! Her confidence in teaching has grown so much, and she has adjusted incredibly well to mission life. She has what we call the "finding fever;" she takes every opportunity to contact and find those who are prepared to accept the gospel. We found 14 new investigators this week and had 11 investigators in church on Sunday!! MIRACLE!! These people are so amazing! I can't believe how kind and accepting they've been. It's definitely been a change from my past 2 areas; I know that my job there was to plant the seed, but it does feel good now to physically see so many people act on their faith, follow the example of Jesus Christ, and progress towards baptism:)
During the week, the zone leaders came to district meeting with President and Hermana Nuckols. We set a goal to get 5 references from each recent convert within the next 2 weeks. Story behind all the recent converts we have: there has been a boom in baptisms this past month like never before because the missionaries of the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission did a big recommitment to being obedient. We followed the formula of faith+obedience+works=miracles, so the Lord sent many blessings, and there were more baptisms in one day (the last Saturday of last transfer) in the mission than we have ever had in an entire month! 5 in the Ivan Guzman ward were part of that, and it is wonderful to see that bright light of Christ in their eyes:)
Someone who is progressing towards that step is 15-year-old Estarlin. It was him who gave the reference of Anthony, the teenager I talked about last week. We had a great Law of Chastity lesson with Estarlin on Saturday, which he totally understood and accepted. He wants to be baptized as soon as possible--I love his animo! His parents, who we are also teaching, have noticed the change in him since he started learning about the restored gospel. Super cool: his dad, Marino, actually helped build the baptismal font in the Santo Domingo temple! So Marino is curious about what all happens inside the temple, and we're helping them prepare to be worthy to enter as a family someday:)
15 "Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, acccording to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me."
P.S. I found out that Jasmine, an investigator I found and taught in Los Angeles, got baptized on Saturday! Church is true, people! Miracles are real!:)