From the Parent of a Missionary
That amazing word can be my motto for this week! Everything is moving forward. Even though the Devil puts forth obstacles and stumbling stones, he can’t stop the work of the Lord!
I am gaining a strong testimony of something that President Monson said: there is no sweeter feeling than responding to a spiritual prompting and knowing afterwards that you were the answer to somebody’s prayers. And as we follow more and more the spiritual promptings in our lives, God comes to trust us more and more with his Spirit.
I´ll share a couple of the AWESOME experiences I had this week while in the work of the Lord.
On Monday I had the privilege of going to one of the most isolated families in the branch, the Batz family. (Isn’t that an insanely cool last name?!) I had just wanted to get to know them and their house, since they live in a kind of distant village named El Aguacate. Of course, when we needed to leave, it was raining and we were running late, so we got there wet and tired. But they were so grateful for our presence because we were the first people EVER to go to one of their family home evenings. And it turned into a very special experience. We had planned to talk about the Plan of Salvation, but I decided at the last minute to talk about missionary work due to the worldwide broadcast last Sunday. To my surprise, Sister Batz said that she wanted to share a message, and started talking about missionary work! It turned into a highly spiritual lesson that ended with a very powerful prayer by Brother Batz praying for an opportunity to share the Gospel in El Aguacate. Why do I feel like that was the start of a future branch there?
On Tuesday the Lord surprised me as we set out to go look for a new house to live in, since the one we are currently using isn’t ¨good enough. ¨A lady had told us to go look in a certain street of the city and I felt like the spirit was shouting in my ear, ¨You´ll find a house there!¨But God sometimes has other purposes in mind. We got there, and, sure enough, there was a sign saying that they rented a house. We knocked, and a lady came out, saw us, and said, ¨Hola Elderes! You fell right from heaven when I needed you. Do you have the branch president’s number?¨We were kind of shocked, but gladly gave her the number. Her name was Mercy and had recently moved into the area, and had a lot of family problems. We came right in her moment of need and offered a powerful prayer.
We had a pretty incredible family home evening with one of the families in our ward that has kind of adopted us as their sons since one of their sons is on the mission and they want to treat us well so that their son gets treated well. (hehe) We managed to get 3 less active families and a new investigator present, and the message and game we played invited a spirit of happiness and joy that I am sure every felt. We now have a new investigator named Benjamin whose wife left him a couple of years ago and has been sad ever since. The happiness filled up his soul a bit and he now wants to hear more.
I also did divisions with my new district leader this week, named Elder Darrah from Oregon. He’s a big guy with a great heart and a giant stomach. I watched in amazement as I ate 3 tostadas (a fried tortilla with stuff on top) and he ate an astounding 12 with some extra beans on the side. But ya know. That’s life. Together we had an amazing appointment with one of our investigators, Mario, the husband of a recently reactivated member named Michelle. He basically retold us the entire story of Joseph Smith and then read the Book of Mormon with us, praying to know that it was true. I have no doubt that he can be a future member of the church (please!)
We followed another spiritual prompting to go and visit the Vasquez family, whose daughters are less active and whose parents were never able to get baptized because they couldn’t get married. We went to visit them with Hermana Mendoza, a friend of the family. We got there right when they needed us, because they basically shouted with joy and said, ¨Elders! We’ve been wanting to go to church!¨They also explained that they had passed an important 10 year deadline which would make their divorce and marriage much easier, opening up the path to baptism. The Lord has prepared so many people. I love it!
Another day Elder Carvalho and I were just completely astounded at how the Spirit guided us. Almost all of our appointments fell through, but all with a purpose! After one fell through, we found a less active member in need and helped her with a service, and then we found another guy that we had been looking for. Then we were standing on a street corner after a different appointment fell through and a guy came up to us and contacted us. We set an appointment and I asked, ¨What made you talk to us?¨ Ï don’t know…¨He said. Then we showed up at a member’s house, but only the wife was there so we went to contact while the husband came. Right as we walked outside, one of our investigators walked by and we managed to talk to him. And a bagillion gazillion more things happened that I could just bore you all day with. Sigh.
I did make the mistake (or blessing?) of praying for challenges again. This area just seemed to easy. And sure enough, God answered me. On Thursday we had an amazing zone conference where we learned how to teach like the angel in Nephi´s Vision in 1 Nephi 11-13. But afterwards we got called to the mission office and we had to wait hours for the secretaries and then took two hours to get home in the HORRIBLE Guatemalan traffic. Yah, if you thought I-15 was bad, just come to Guatemala. It was a trial of patience for sure, but we were able to deal with it cheerfully. And then on Sunday morning, my alarm didn’t go off for some reason and we woke up at 7:30, and branch council was at 8:00! We ran around, got half ready, and had to pick just a couple of investigators to go invite them to church. It was raining and not a lot of people wanted to leave their homes. There was a grand total of 4 people in the branch council when we got there and we had a big drop in attendance. Challenges. But I know that the Lord is going to bless us even more next week! But we had blessings amidst the challenges. Two of our investigators, Brandon and Raul, came to church on foot, which is like an hour and half walk. But they loved church and we will be setting a baptismal date with them later on tonight. Hermana Miriam, my favorite sister, continues with plans to get married with her husband on Saturday and get baptized on Sunday morning. If we can get her marriage papers ready in time, everything will go well! God has really prepared that woman.
God is doing miracles. And there is no better feeling that knowing that God can do them through you. I hope we can all search for the guide of the Spirit so that we can be instruments in His hands to bring salvation to many souls.
The church is true!