From the Parent of a Missionary
I have officially decided that the mission is 1: the best place to grow closer to Christ and 2: the best way to get to know drunk guys better. And believe me, they are closely related.
I had a couple of good experiences with some drunk friends this week. I may have mentioned in previous letters that there is a member of the church here that we see in the street all the time. His name is Ernesto, he was ordained an Elder, but he’s a little bit caught up by alcohol. Ok, a lot. But last week we dragged him off the street and took him to his house to do a prayer and give him a blessing to get him out of the hole that he dug for himself. We had a beautiful moment as a companionship — talking afterwards, we both agreed that we were able to see him as God sees him; not as he is now, but what he can become. Every time we see him in the street we try to get him away from his “bolo” buddies and into his house. On Sunday morning, we walked out of our house to go wake people up and take them to church when we saw him turning the corner. We ran to catch up to him, told him that it was time to go to church and got him to go home and eat breakfast. We went by his house a little later, and to my great surprise, he was going to church! Even though he hadn’t shaved, washed his clothes, or taken a bath, we proudly took him to church with him at our side. The members gave Ernesto a warm welcome, and even though he left halfway through the meeting complaining about his ingrown toenail, it was a good experience for him. 🙂
We continue to see miracles in this area as well. I continue to try to live the Lord’s promise in Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 — for he is bound when we do what he says. Mission president says we have to contact 5 families a day: we do it. Mission president says to have a lesson in a member´s house, we do it. Zone leaders tell us to have at least 5 families to teach, we get it done. He says to challenge investigators to baptism in the first lesson, every time, and we do it. And boy, did we see results this week. Even though I was feeling kind of depressed because of our lack of progress last week, we really kicked it into gear and we broke a lot of our key indicator records. I have felt the strength of my savior and the help from all of your prayers. I know that there are angels watching over us.
I have learned another sacred truth about trials. We always think it’s hard during the trial, and sometimes we complain. But without fail, every time I look back on the hardest times during my mission, they have been when I have grown closer to the Savior, developed Christlike attributes, and was blessed afterwards. I joy in my trials. I joy in my Lord! I’m not gonna lie. I still don’t know why my mission has been as hard as it is. I thought I was going to convert entire villages or something (yah, good joke.) But I NEVER imagined that I would change as much as I have. God knows what’s best, always.
Another awesome miracle this week was when I contacted a family in the street. Their names were Cesar and Lilian. I contacted them with all the spiritual awesomeness that I could mustered, and asked them how they were doing. They told me that they were having some problems, and they wanted solutions. And let me tell you folks — never tell that to a missionary! We whipped out our agendas and set an appointment. Turns out that they live in an isolated valley floor. We literally descended the cliffs that surround Satelite to get to their house. But they loved the Gospel, and we are hoping that they get to church this upcoming Sunday!
A lot of our other investigators are progressing as well. Raul continues to come to church but continues to have doubts. The big step we got this week was that we got his mom and dad (who are less active members) committed to wanting an eternal family. I want to give a big thank you to my mother — your example literally softened the heart of Reyna, Raul´s mom. She was telling me about all the problems that she has with her sons, and I was able to give a sacred testimony of how the Gospel can bring families together. “My mom is going to have 3 children on a mission! And even though we are separated by thousands of miles, there is nothing that can stop us from being together forever.” Reyna started to cry, and awkwardly Raul came home from work right at that moment. Go spirit!
Our Noche de Sion was quite the experience this week too. It was raining so hard that we couldn’t even walk out into the street, seeing as how it had turned into a river. We were in a house helping a sister to make the food for the activity, but the electricity went out. We mashed up some tomatoes by hand, and then knelt down in prayer so that the activity could happen. About 10 minutes before the activity was going to start, the rain stopped. Now all we needed was light. We set the first hymn as “Divina Luz,” or divine light. (I have no idea what it´s called in English) As we were finishing up the last verse of the song, reading our hymn books by candlelight, the light came back on. GO HYMNS!
I know the church is true. I am officially the most excited person in the whole world because tomorrow I’m going to the temple for the first time in a whole year. And now I feel like I’m going to understand it a LOT more.
Peace. (Like the Christ kind, not the worldly kind.)