From the Parent of a Missionary
Definitely a week of mixed emotions. It`s amazing how being in the mission can give you life experience that you can`t find anywhere else!
It all started on Monday night, when we had a family home evening with the Oritz family. They`re an interesting family because their daughter is Relief Society President and a returned missionary, but her dad is non member and her mom recently became less active. This poor famliy is being torn apart, and us missionaries knew that we needed to help. We came with a killer lesson in mind and sat down the whole family. Neither the mom nor the dad really wanted to listen, but we got them to participate. Elder Ramirez, Elder Maldonado and I all gave powerful testimony about the strength and happiness of eternal families that are united in Christ and invited them to repent and come unto Christ. Unfortunately, the reaction didn`t go quite as planned. The mom said no and the husband started to criticize the church and blame us for his wife`s problems. Yah, I wouldn`t have any of that. I got mad for the first time in 2 months (yah, I have the times I get mad counted now.) I gave them whip, as we say here in Guatemala, and rebuked them for their false ideas, and they just kind of stayed in a shocked silence. I don`t know what came over me! I wasn`t me! And afterwards I got mad at my companions for being new and not teaching well. I had to pray hard to calm down and ask for forgiveness. After that, and many other things that happened this week, I realized that maintaining a true conversion is very difficult. I can easily see how the people in the Book of Mormon were able to go from righteousness to complete wickedness in a matter of a couple of years, because maintaining Christlike attributes requires constant prayer, trials, patience and diligence.
That same night we got a long-dreaded phone call. Elder Ramirez, my Guatemalan companion, has been waiting for his Visa to Mexico for over a month and it finally came in. At 10:00 monday night, they called us and told us that we had to be in the Capital at 7:00 AM the next day. Yikes! That requires a four hour drive, and meant that we had to be on a bus at 3:00 AM. We grudgingly set the alarm and went to bed. That night, of course I had a dream that we were going to be late (typical Elder See brain) and woke up with a start. I looked at my watch and it was 3:00 AM! I frantically woke up my companions and we got ready faster than I have in my whole life, and ran to the bus stop, our bodies of adrenaline. Luckily for us, the bus decided to pass at 3:15 that day and we got there right as it was leaving. I learned that the Spirit makes for a good alarm clock!
We left Elder Ramirez behind in a sad farewell. The worst part was that he didn`t have time to pack or say goodbye to the area. We got back, packed his stuff for him, and sent his suitcases in the mail. And then we told all the members that he was gone. Now it`s just me and Elder Maldonado. I miss our trio — not only we were able to get a lot more work done, but it was really fun and exciting. But now I can focus more on Elder Maldonado and his specific needs, which was very difficult in a trio. And the two of us sure have work to do!
The work in our little branch has skyrocketed. On Monday we got the amazing news that they were going to give us a computer, something that the branch has never had. We had been using good old filing cabinets and mailed in our financial reports every week. This computer should make things a lot easier in the future, but right now it means a lot of work! Our branch president has never used a computer in his life and there are only a couple of members in the branch who know how (Guatemala, folks.) So not only do we have to teach them how to use it, but we have to transfer all of our paper records to the computer. Good stuff! We are also planning a branch temple trip for this upcoming week, and we have turned into the branch shoppers and planners. We have been running all over the place running errands this week and have hardly had time to do real missionary work. But it`s all good and fun!
I also had the great opportunity to participate in two marriages this week. A less active member we have been working with, Marisol, surprised us this week with the news of her marriage, and asked us to be the witnesses for her marriage. It was a very small and humble ceremony in the city hall, with just her and her husband, her mom, and me and my companion. A boring city secretary read the conditions of marriage out of a textbook and asked them to sign, and then asked us to sign as witnesses. I had honestly never imagined that a marriage could be so boring. But it was a happy moment for the little couple, and the goal would be to teach Marisol`s husband and have them get married in the temple to have their REAL marriage.
The other marriage was of two of our beloved investigators, Juan and Vilma. Because they don`t have work, I essentially planned and paid for their wedding. We bought the food, the decorations, contracted the lawyer to do the marriage, and handed out invitations. And after a very stressful couple of days, we finally got it done! On Saturday afternoon, Juan and Vilma came to the branch house along with several of the members, and we had a beautiful little ceremony. They are now a very happy couple, and after 23 years of living together they finally managed to get married. I was glad to be a part of it. And the goal is for them to get baptized on the 30th of March!
Well, I`ve written enough already. Even though I have felt extremely stressed this week with all the stuff I had to do, I have recognized that the Lord was putting me through the pride cycle a bit and I have tried to deepen my conversion and put my confidence in God. I know that he will help my, for his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.
I know this church is true. I know that without a doubt. And no matter what happens, I know that if I dedicate myself I can work miracles in the lives of others, and true joy comes when we help others and ourselves to come unto Christ.
Lots of Love!