Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week 75 Angels With Backpacks May 18, 2015

Monday after our district meeting we decided we'd look for our investigator Carlos. We haven't been able to find him in a while...he doesn't answer our phone calls anymore and hasn't come to church. Normally we would've stopped trying to find him but something kept telling us that we should keep trying. So, we knocked on his door and there he was, absolutely drunk. Right as he opened the door you could smell the alcohol. It was actually pretty surprising to us because he had told us that he didn't have a problem with alcohol. He admitted that he had been avoiding us because he didn't want us to see him like that. You could see the pure sadness in his expression. He told us that he needed help and that he knew we were capable of doing the job. We left pretty disappointed but we made an appointment with him for the next day; ready to do whatever it took to help him.

Tuesday was an amazing day. In the morning we stopped by with Gustavo (convert) to take him with us to the appointment with Carlos. (Gustavo was an alcoholic before and we figured he would be able to help us help Carlos.) We knocked...nothing. Knocked again...nothing. Finally a woman answered the door and told us that Carlos was there but that he was really drunk. My first thought was that we should make another appointment...but Gustavo walked right through that door and went to find him. We followed, and sure enough there Carlos was...drunk. Bottom line...he has a HUGE desire to change. I was pretty happy about that. We invited him to attend an addiction class that night (Adolfo teaches it) and Gustavo offered to pass for him. Sure enough later that night he and Carlos were there at the class! Progress!

Later we went to see our investigator Bertha. When we got there her husband was there and wasn't too happy to see us. He told us that we were just a bunch of hypocrites and that he wasn't too fond of us teaching his wife. But, he let us stay and left to work as a mototaxi driver. We got talking to Bertha and ended up setting a baptismal date for the 7th of June. She accepted it before I even finished asking the question! That doesn't happen too often! She then told us about her brother (member) and how the other day she was in the car with him driving to the store. They passed an LDS church and she said, "I'm a part of that church now!" (this was before she had even been to church). He thought she was making fun of him and asked her to not joke around like that. She said, "No! I'm serious!" He couldn't believe it. Apparently later that night he called her to check to see if it really was true and then said, "When you get baptized, call me. I want to be there." Isn't that amazing???

That night we went to visit our other investigator, Alejandro, who expressed his need to know more before getting baptized. We found out that the Elders hadn't taught him any of the commandments and nothing about the Plan of Salvation. There was a lot he needed to learn before he was ready to be baptized just a few days later. He paused and said, "Listen, I trust you two girls. If you think I'm ready to get baptized this weekend...I'll do it. But you tell me." Both Hermana Taylor and I felt better about waiting until the next weekend. So, we moved it for this Saturday. He has changed so much. He started out as the most "machista" man ever. He used to tell us that it was hard for him to even listen to us because we're women and he was raised to think that women were created to be beaten, commanded, to clean, cook, and nothing more. (That's really common here) He told us how hard it was for him to love his wife and kids...but that by listening to us and by feeling the spirit that we bring, he has finally learned to love his family. It's the first time he's felt that way. Now he understands that women are worth something!

Wednesday we finished the last 6 months of the Training Plan for 2015-2016 with the President , his wife, and the assistants. The missionaries are going to learn so much in these next 12 months!
Flooded Streets
After having returned to our area to work we got out of our 1st lesson to flooded streets. Let's just say that the drainage system here in the State of Mexico doesn't do anything... What happens is that the garbage clogs the drains and the water builds up in the streets. But you want to know what else happens??? Since the water can't drain where it should, it drains into the sewage system instead...and, well, the sewage system only holds so much until it too begins to overflow. So as we were leaving that lesson, the sewage had already overflown, and it smelled AWFUL. And the worst part was that in order to get home we had to walk right through it...so gross! Once the water disappears...the street is covered in a layer of black sludge (I don't even want to know want it consists of) and men dressed in yellow vests come and shovel it up...I'm just grateful that that's not my job!

Thursday we visited Carlos...and he was completely sober! Woo hoo! It sure is a lot easier to teach sober people;). I forgot to mention the reason he had gotten so drunk in the first place. His first job is repairing electronic devices...his other job (which he hadn't told us about) is that he sings at events. He puts himself into situations where there is a lot of alcohol and he doesn't stop at a few drinks...it lasts for days. Anyway, we got talking and he had just gotten an offer to perform on Friday. He accepted, and the guy paid him right then and there. The same guy showed up this morning and told him that the event had been moved to Sunday. He paused, grabbed the money he had been paid, handed it back to the man and said, "I'm sorry, but I have a commitment this Sunday." As he was walking away Carlos called out to him and said, "And don't worry about coming back...I quit!" He's no longer going to sing because he knows that that's the only way he's going to quit drinking. What a sacrifice! Later he told us, "Ustedes son ángeles que han llegado a mi vida. No traen alas...traen mochilas!" (You are the angels that have come into my life. You don't have wings but you have backpacks!) He's a funny guy.

In the afternoon we taught Alejandro the commandments. In the past he was an alcoholic and drank 15 cups of coffee a day. Now? Nothing! We started talking about paying tithing and he shared a story with us. In the past here, the catholic church had people pay tithes. Alejandro was the leader of an anti-tithe group that ran against the Catholic church. Because of that group, the catholic church here no longer requires its members to pay tithes. In my head I was thinking, "Oh great....he's not going to accept this commandment...we're doomed." But no! He said, "I know that his is the true church! And whatever it asks me to do, I'll do it!"

Our last appointment of the day was with Bertha. The first thing she mentioned to us was that she had a few questions on keeping the Sabbath Day holy (that's what we had taught her in the previous lesson). They are in a tough financial situation. Her husband works as a mototaxi driver, they live in a TINY apartment (bedroom and kitchen combined and an outhouse outside...tarp roof to keep the rain out, etc.) and they are about 9000 pesos in dept. That is a TON considering they make on average about 60 pesos a day here...about $4.50. She said, "My husband wanted me to ask you two your opinion on whether or not we should work on Sundays. He wanted to know what we can do to dedicate every Sunday to the Lord." That's the same man that called me a hypocrite! Miracle! What an act of faith...they are having HUGE financial problems but are absolutely willing to drop work on Sunday and count on the promise in Doctrine and Covenants 59: "Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours..." THATS how much she trusts in the Lord!

Saturday morning we visited Bertha again. After teaching her we got talking about her 2 year-old deaf son. The times we've visited both Taylor and I have avoided talking to him knowing that he woudn't be able to hear us...we usually just waved at him or gave him a high 5. Almost every time she talks about him she mentions that he's "sordo" (deaf). Even when we first met them she introduced him and said, "This is my son Jonathan. He's 2 years old and he's "sordo". So, right from the start it was clear that he was deaf. Today, as we were talking to her, she once again mentioned something about him being "sordo". That's when I decided to ask how he became deaf and how they realized. She responded, "Oh, it's because he uses his left side for everything. He draws with his left hand, eats with his left hand, and even kicks with his left foot." In my mind I was thinking, "What does that have to do with being deaf??" I was so confused and so I asked, "Your son is "sordo"?" She busted up laughing and said, "No! He's "zurdo"!" (That means left-handed.) All 3 of us started laughing hysterically. This whole time I thought the kid was deaf! And who introduces their son like that?! "This is my son Jonathan...he's left-handed." And she mentions it almost every time we see her! I was crying I was laughing so hard! So anyway, Bertha, who is right-handed, is progressing really well. We love their right-handed daughter, Allison. She talks a lot about how she wants to be a missionary like us someday. And their left-handed son Jonathan is cute too!;)
Israel, Victor, & Rosa


Saturday afternoon we went to the temple visitors center with Gustavo (convert), Alejandro, Rosa, Israel, and their son Victor (investigators that can't get baptized yet). That place is amazing! You feel so happy just by stepping foot on the temple grounds and almost every person I've taken there mentions the immediate difference they feel. We took a tour as a group and we saw an amazing video about how families are forever. At the end we started talking about what we liked about the video and Victor (7) raised his hand and started talking. It wasn't more than 5 seconds later that he was totally bawling. He started talking about how he really missed his little sister and how he wanted to be able to see her again. (His little sister was murdered a little over a year ago.) It was SO sad. It had almost everyone in the room crying too...but it was awesome to teach them in that moment that someday they would be able to be sealed for time and for all eternity in the temple and that he would be able to see his little sister again. I love that family so much! I can't wait for the day that they can be baptized and start to prepare to be sealed as a family!

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