From the Parent of a Missionary
Oi, Bom Dia! (Yah, that´s Portuguese baby!)
My love for missionary work continues to grow every single day, especially as I learn more and more here in Nueva Vida 2. My testimony of the growth of the gospel is really growing as I see the Lord performing miracles through me and my companion every day. It really is a privilege to be an instrument in God´s hand to help others feel his love. It´s what I call a win-win-win situation: I´m happy, the people I teach are happy, AND God is happy! There´s nothing better, folks.
God´s little miracles this week were many. I´ll try to relate a few.
After being taken around to visit all of the members last week, I have gotten to know the area pretty well and we were able to start contacting and getting investigators, setting appointments, and working hard. The area really isn´t that big, but there are loads of members in a small area and a LOT of work to do to build up the Lord´s kingdom. The members, not having had missionaries for so long, are pretty much desperate to give us references and introduce us to their family. And they are desperate to invite us to dinner, too. That´s another win-win situation: The members are blessed by the missionaries´ visit, and the missionaries are blessed by a full tummy. 🙂
For example, one family invited us to their family home evening on Monday, and we told them that we would come if they invited a friend to be there with us. We managed to get one of their neighbors to come named Katerine, who recently had a baby. She kind of awkwardly sat there as everyone got the family home evening ready, so we made here feel comfortable and began to teach her. We ended up having a great FHE with games, candy, and a great lesson!
Sometimes the Lord doesn´t give us the blessings we expect, but instead blesses us more than we imagined. One member told us to go visit a less active member whose father had died a couple months before. When we got to the house, there were some people hauling dirt and cement to make a new floor, and we just started helping. Eventually we learning that the member no longer lives there, but we made an appointment with the family and the two other kids who were helping us to move the dirt, because they wanted us to teach them English and Portuguese. We ended up giving a small language class and then having a powerful lesson on the Restoration, and now all of them are reading the Book of Mormon (and learning a bit of Portuguese on the side.)
We had visited a nearby town called el Aguacate (the Avocado) with our good friend, Hermano Valiente, and we set an appointment with a man there. We planned to visit him with Hermano Valiente in his car, but Hermano Valiente was running behind. He had to hurry and get ready, and we screeched out of his parking lot to run to the appointment. When we got there, the man said that he didn´t have time, and we headed back, content that we had done our part. Hermano Valiente went to a church activity, so me and my companion had to start a long walk back to Satelite, the city where we live. Not one minute had passed when a police truck passed by and they told us to hop in. Turns out that one of the policeman was a member recently moved to the area and he didn´t know where the chapel was. We told him and he dropped us off right at our house. It´s funny how the Lord works!
Another member, Hermana Batz, called us, saying that she wanted us to give a blessing to her sick aunt. We went to visit her and had a powerful blessing, and the sister invited them to her family home evening tonight. We will see how that goes today!
There was another member, Hermano Queme, who we had tried to visit once but were unable to find. He´s an ex missionary but is now divorced and went inactive. I had managed to get his phone number from his son, Ergil, so I called him one night and I asked if we could visit. He immediately became excited and told us that we were the first people to offer to visit him in four years. He excitedly invited us to dinner in Saturday night and he started to tell us all of his mission stories, including one time where he apparently got shot! The bullet burnt a hole in his shirt but didn´t pass through his garments, and he just ended up with a bruise. After an amazing visit, he promised to go to church.
We also managed to get an appointment with another family (yes, there´s more!) called Familia Yoc. They were once very active but slowly fell away from the church, and we did their first FHE in over a year. We reminded them of how important the sacrament was if they want to be cleansed of their sins, and they all started remembering their baptismal covenants and asking us questions about things. They all felt the spirit reminding them of their responsibility, and committed to going to church. Like Elder Packer says, “When doctrine is understood, behavior changes.” I have definitely seen that principle here!
I could go on all day boring you about stories with the Ramirez family, the Monzon family, Michelle, Melissa, and more who are committing to come to church simply because we visit them. There has been a spiritual drought here in Satelite for a long time, and now the rain in finally falling. I don´t know if any of you went to the worldwide meeting called the Work of Salvation, but it was such a testimony to me that God is hastening his work. I feel so much more motivated to do missionary work, and I think that changes are coming to our mission. We don´t have the privilege to use internet and phones like the missionaries in the US, but whatever. We are in the work of the Lord!
I think the highlight of the week might have been my mission birthday. I am absolutely stunned at how fast time has gone by. I would not think for a second that I have been here for a year if I didn´t have a calendar that told me so. They say that time flies when you´re having fun, but time flies even faster when you serve the Lord. The tradition in the mission is normally that you burn one of your shirts, but I decided to save the shirt and a burned a paper that said “ONE YEAR IN THE MISSION!” instead. It was fun. 🙂
I love you all. The Church is true. Christ is our Savior. And I love being a missionary.