From the Parent of a Missionary
Yah, it’s a great morning here in Guatemala. I send greetings from the land of eternal spring (even though I live in the desert, and things are just starting to green up). I can hardly believe that 10 months of my mission have already passed by. The time truly flies when you are serving the Lord!
The title of the email is due to a talk in General Conference about a certain roommate who was so optimistic that he was singing “Oh what a beautiful morning” despite the fact that there was a blizzard outside. Even though I’m always having problems, the Church is still true and I love being a missionary.
This week I had some AWESOME spiritual experiences that I would just absolutely love to share with all my friends! I’ll start with one of my favorites.
We talked with one of the greatest sisters in the ward one night and she ended up breaking down in tears because of the lack of support that she felt from her family. This kind of surprised us, seeing as how her family, the Chapa family, is the biggest family in the ward and one of the strongest. We immediately took action and planned a Family Home Evening with them the next day. The Lord put us where we needed to be, and exactly when we needed to be there, because when we got there an ex missionary named Michael had come to visit the family. He was the very first missionary in Ipala, and his first convert was in the Chapa family. Because of that, there was a bit of excitement and the entire family was present. With the help of the RM, we had an absolutely amazing FHE. We acted out the parable of the King and the Debtor (the one that talks about forgiveness) to teach them how important it was to love and forgive their fellow family members and other members of the ward. We pretty much scolded them to the dust, they humbled themselves, and promised to be better. To top it all off, the RM bought us some pizza, something that I haven’t eaten in a looong time (that’s Guatemala!)
Another great experience happened when we were walking home one night. To set up the story a bit, my companion is in the final two weeks of training, which means that he gets to take on the role of senior companion. He has been taking it very well, but is of course struggling a bit with all the new responsibility. One of our appointments fell through and we got home at 8:45, 15 minutes early. He decided to get in the house early to have some free time, but I told him, “Elder, we have 15 minutes of the Lord’s time. We need to use it.” I suggested that we go visit one of our less active neighbors, Vinicio. Elder Maldonado was reluctant because Vinicio is almost never home and it was already late. But eventually I got him to come with me. When we got to the house, there were a whole bunch of people around the house talking in whispered voices. We kind of awkwardly walked through all of the people to knock the door, but one of the people told us that he wasn’t home, but next door. I asked her what was going on, and she told me that Vinicio’s grandmother had died. I was totally shocked and we went to talk to Vinicio and give him support in a moment of great need. We had a nice little lesson and went home, getting there right on time. My companion asked me, “How did you know that his grandma had died?” “I didn’t.” “Then how did you know to go to his house?” “I didn’t. The Spirit did!” The Lord never fails to amaze me.
I could go on all day with mission stories, because they never end. But they help me to know that the Lord is on my side always, in the good and bad moments. We’ve been having some success this week, especially working with the new senior couple, the Sparks. An ex-missionary president is a very good addition to the team here, and he is teaching me that I need to do exactly what Christ would do if he were in my place. Because Christ can’t be here, he sent us, and we need to act like him. I am leaving blessings through prayer in almost all of the houses we are visiting with great success. Even though we had another low attendance this week, we had several less active members come to church again because of the Christ-like visits that we have brought about.
Our investigators are doing great. I thought that Juan and Vilma were hiding from us, but we found out that Juan isn’t even home, but went to visit his dying father in another part of the country. We got Vilma to go to church again and we are teaching her in her husband’s absence. I hope these trials can soften their hearts and help them accept Jesus even more.
Roland and the Ortiz family are also doing great. They told us that they were so grateful that we were visiting them because for so many years people had expected them to visit others because they were strong members, and nobody had ever visited them. We always need spiritual nourishment, and now a family that was once threatening to break apart is healing. Rolando came to church for the first time in a long time and is still pondering on the decision to baptism. Silvia still isn’t coming to church but has promised to come next week.
I love you all! I hope everyone is having as good as a time as I am.
PS The CHURCH IS TRUE!