From the Parent of a Missionary
I had a pretty exciting week here in Guatemala!
First of all, in the week of October our mission had an all time low for mission wide baptisms — 38 for the whole mission. There should be on average around 110 baptisms. So you can imagine that President Stay was a little bit frustrated, and in our zone meeting on Tuesday we got “chicote,” or a little bit of chastisement. So Elder Torres and I have been working hard this week to push our investigators to baptisms and to find new people to teach, and we had a little bit of success and a few troubles a long the way.
We started contacting people like mad, and had several good appointments and found new families to teach. But a lot of our current investigators had problems come up. We haven’t been able to find Ruben this week to teach him, due to his new business of selling candy. It’s good that he is occupied (which will hopefully keep his mind off smoking) but we can’t find him to see if he has been smoking or not. We also learned that two of the other families we are teaching, Estela and Eduardo, aren’t married. Living together is a universal problem, it seems. But all of these investigators continue to show a desire to be baptized, and I am sure the Lord will prepare the way for them if they have the desire.
We also had a small miracle with one of our old investigators for whom we had lost hope — Denis, the 15 year old orphan. He showed up out of the blue on Sunday to church, even though we thought that he had moved to another area. He told us that he wants to keep coming to church even though he no longer lives here. Now it’s just a matter of finding where he lives so we can teach him! He already has some really good friends among the young men of the ward. I’m excited for him.
We had a few other interesting events this week. On Wednesday, there I was, sitting at my desk innocently and doing my language study. Elder Torres was sitting behind me on our little couch. All of the sudden my desk started to shake, so naturally I put the blame on Elder Torres and turned to ridicule him. But when I looked, he was just as surprised as I was, and the couch was shaking as well. The shaking got more intense, and I started yelling, “Terremoto! Terremoto!” (or Earthquake) and I ran for the nearest doorway. Luckily it didn`t turn into anything more than shaking, but I watched as the walls and tin roof of our little house moved back and forth in a very unnatural way. The quake lasted for about a minute and a half, and then it passed. It wasn’t long before a member told us that a 7.2 earthquake had happened off the western coast of Guatemala. I would say that where we were, it was around 4.5 (but don’t take my word for it.) That was pretty exciting!
The more exciting event happened the next day. Our zone leaders called us out of the blue and told us to drop all of our appointments for a zone service project. We went in a bus to the airport, where Mormon Helping Hands had set up a supplies station. We spent most of the day packaging and organized relief packages and then shipping them out to little planes to be sent to western Guatemala. The church really is the first to respond in most of these situations!
A nice perk to the situation was that Aztec news showed up, one of the national news stations. They pulled me and a couple of other Elders to the side for an interview, and asked us why we were performing the service. In my gringo accent and stuffy nose, I explained that we were serving as missionaries to the Church and that we would always be willing to serve. I thought for sure that my interview wouldn’t show up, since the other elders were much more capable, but I just found out that I was supposedly on national television… so that was pretty cool.
Unfortunately, I still don’t know if I have changes. They’re going to tell us in our district meeting, which is right after email time. It’s killing me right now, but I won’t be able to tell you anything until next week, as far as I know. One of four things could happen: both Elder Torres and I stay, he goes, I go, or we both go. And any one is probable. So more news on that next week!
My testimony continues to grow, along with my teaching ability. I can see how the Lord has prepared me and is helping me every step along the way. I hope you can all take the time to recognize at least one way that you saw the Lord’s hand in your life each day in your nightly prayers, and ask for help every morning. The Church is true!