From the Parent of a Missionary
I must say, I had a pretty event filled week. Missionary work never gets boring!
First things first, I need to apologize to my dad. Every year he buys a carton or two of eggnog, and I have for some reason never been inclined to try it. I thought it would taste gross and all egg-y. But our cook lady bought some eggnog for me and said, “Look what I got just for you, Elder See! All of the US missionaries like this stuff.” So of course, I had to drink it. And I now realize how delicious eggnog is. It took a trip to another country, but hey, now I know.
I also came to know about a couple of Guatemalan traditions this week. Apparently the 7th of December is “The Day of the Devil” here, which is some Catholic tradition. At 6:00 PM, all of the Catholics go out and buy a little devil piñata and stuff it, not with candy, but with firecrackers, and set it off. Then they watch in pleasure as the devil goes up in flame and explodes, and then continue to light more firecrackers and fireworks. We went to a member´s house for the occasion, and even though we didn`t burn the devil (*shiver*) we had a good time lighting our own fireworks. Unfortunately, afterwards the entire town was covered with a haze of toxic smoke because of the amount of firecrackers that were set off.
The next day was a bit happier. The day after Devil´s Day, there is another catholic holiday that celebrates the Virgin of Concepciòn, who is the patron saint of El Pajon. There was a big parade and everything, and at night all of the Catholics came out to carry around a gigantic float that had the virgin on top. The tradition is that if you feel the pain of carrying the float, your sins are forgiven through the Virgin.
There were also some more murders here in town this week. It seems that there in an entire extortionist ring that has taken hold of the public bus system here, and the buses have to pay a certain amount every day at a secret checkpoint that this gang has set up. One of the buses didn`t have the money and tried to escape, and they killed the driver and his assistant. Now there is this huge investigation that is trying to root out the gang. Oh, Guatemala!
Now a bit about my investigators this week. Antonio continues to be the star of the show, We visited him a few times this week, and between various visits we found out that he got an answer to his prayers, that he drinks (or drank) coffee, and that he now carries around his book of Mormon everywhere in a little backpack that he has.
We also started to teach a family that came to church last week, the Ortiz family. They really want to go to church with us and even defended us against their old pastor who said they would go to hell if the went with the Mormons. Unfortunately, there was a little misunderstanding with them on Monday. There was a robbery in the church parking lot a few weeks ago, so they started assigning one person to watch the parking lot during church every week. The Ortiz family showed up late, so the gate to the church was already closed and they didn`t know what to do. They started walking around outside the gate, and the security person decided they looked suspicious and called the police! They were asking for identification when one of the members luckily walked out of the church and saw and scolded the police until they went away. But that was a nice little welcome for them.
We also heard a funny story about a reactivation. One of the sister companionships went to a less active family`s house (the Guzman family), and one of the sister missionaries was asking about the ward family home evening that for some reason they thought was at their house. The inactive member sister said, “No, of course not. I`m inactive.” And the other sister missionary said, “And why would you want to be inactive? Come to church with me!” And she did. You never know how the Lord will work!
I wanted to finish off with a little spiritual thought that came from an amazingly spiritual lesson that we had this week. A less active family really opened up to us and told us all the reasons they weren`t going to church and all the challenges they were having. The Lord really guided us to be there right when we needed to, and Elder Torres and I both opened right up to scriptures that we didn`t even have marked and haven`t even read before, but we somehow found them. Here is Elder Torres` scripture:
“Sed de buen animo, hijitos mios, porque estoy en medio de vosotros, y no os he abandonado; y por cuanto os habeis humillado ante mi, vuestras son las bendiciones del reino.” D&C 61:36-37
I don`t have it in English. You`re going to have to look it up.