From the Parent of a Missionary
Wow, what a sentence. I must say, I`m proud of that sentence. I`m in a good mood. 🙂 😀
But first, I have to explain the build up to the climax! This week has passed by really really really really fast thanks to all the things we get to do! I come home every night completely exhausted, and I laugh to myself every morning when I see what I was writing in my agenda the night before because my handwriting is terrible thanks to my sleepiness.
This week I really tried to practice how to delegate responsibility. Like the Lord promises us in Ether 12:27, if we humble ourselves enough to admit our weaknesses, the Lord will make them our strengths. I`m really trying to put that principle into practice in my mission, because I`ve come to a point where I could continue as a pretty good missionary, or continue to break barriers and become an excellent one. So one Wednesday, we had our weekly Branch Home Evening, and as usual, all of the planning responsibility seemed to come upon us missionaries. We planned the activity in the home of our investigators, Juan and Vilma, to try to get them more involved in the branch. But they didn`t have any money to buy snacks, they couldn`t prepare a message, and they didn`t even have a light in their living room. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed when the thought just seemed to pop into my head: “Delegate!” I started making phone calls and within 5 minutes — whualah! I had everything assigned. We had a great home evening, highlighted by the first rainstorm of the winter here in Guatemala. (Yah, winter is just barely starting.) It was raining torrents, combined with furious wind, lighting every second, and huge cracks of thunder. The light went out and we had a lesson using my tiny little BYU flashlight. Go Cougars!
I also learned an important lesson about sarcasm this week. One sister came a bit late to an activity a couple of weeks ago, just as we were handing out the food. I happened to be distributing the food and jokingly remarked, “What luck! You came just in time for the food!” and gave her the plate of food with smile. She mysteriously didn`t show up to church that sunday and her sister later told me that she was offended by what I had said and didn`t come to church because “They`ll just say that I came right in time for the sacrament.” When I found out, I was like “WHAT?!!!” I could hardly believe that my innocent sarcasm had caused some to inactivate. I promptly went to talk to her and personally invite her to church. But if her sister had never told me, who knows what would have happened. We need to be alert. There are people who are introverted, shy, and very prideful in their own way. We never know if something we say might offend them. I know that I`m going to be cutting back on my sarcasm a bit and that I will be asking some people for forgiveness.
Like I said, the weeks highlight was the branch temple trip on Saturday! After weeks of planning and inviting, we woke up at 2:45 AM to get ready and meet the bus that we contracted at 3:45. We were going to meet some members there and then drive to a series of bus stops to pick all of the people up. Of course, things didn`t turn out quite right and a lot of members decided to cancel at the last minute. Out of 28 who were planned to go, we went in a measly group of 18 on our sleepy three hour drive to the capital. But we were a content group. It wasn`t until that I came to live in a place so far from the temple that I really learned to appreciate the sacred spirit and blessings that come from the House of the Lord. The members sacrificed a day of work, a significant amount of money for transport, and a sack lunch. We endured 6 hours of travel time. We had been planning for weeks. And it was all worth it! Elder Maldonado and I were able to be the witnesses for Axel and Maria, our beloved converts, as they did their first ever baptisms for the dead. (If you don`t know what that means, ask the missionaries! They can help you!) The Spirit was SO strong, and tears came to my eyes as I saw the joy that they felt. Since Elder Maldonado and I didn`t have permission to do anything else in the temple, we had a nice picnic with Axel and Maria and contentedly enjoyed the Guatemalan sun.
We also got to watch Axel pass the sacrament for the first time in Sacrament Meeting. He is already magnifying his priesthood and preparing to go on a mission. He is so awesome!!!!! I love being a missionary!!!!!
A lot of our investigators are doing amazing as well. To my surprise, the Lord continues to bless us with more people to teach even though I already have a completely full schedule. We found out that the non member dad of one of the members had once read the entire Book of Mormon in three days and had a testimony that it was true. We are challenging him to accept the answers the Spirit has given him and to go to church with his daughters. Evelyn continues to try and get permission from her parents to get baptized, and has come to have an amazing testimony that the Church is true, something that she didn`t have a month ago. We also met an old investigator who suddenly came to church on Sunday and has sincere desires to repent and change his life. His name is Misael, and we will be teaching him this week. Juan and Vilma are still struggling to get answers to their prayers to know if they need to get baptized. They seem to be content with the baptism they have in their old church. But oh well! The work moves on. I wish I could tell you all the things that happen in a week, but it just isn`t possible.
The Lord is shaping me.