Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Week 76 The End of the World as We Know It... May 25, 2015

Monday we went to Heroes (my previous ward) to visit the Ayala Family. They are doing really well! Especially Ernesto...he now teaches the priesthood class! He has come SO far! The rest of the family is also doing awesome and I love any time I get to spend with them. Later we went with the Lopez Family for dinner. They are some of my favorite converts here in the mission. You'd think they had been members for years! Both Omar and Patricia are busy with their kids, work, and church callings and the kids are busy with school, seminary, and preparing for missions. I still remember the day when Hermana Bennett and I first taught them like it was yesterday. And, well, from that day on they've just been golden! I can't wait to go through the temple with them in just a few short months!
Lopez's little boy
Tuesday we visited Bertha and she is more excited than ever for her baptismal date. She mentions it all the time! Even in her prayers she prays that God helps her to prepare...THAT'S how you know that they really have a true desire.

Carlos is also progressing really well. He has written in his Book of Mormon "June 7th" as a constant reminder of his goal. He hasn't drank once! He also has almost every one of his books all marked up: his Book of Mormon, his Liahona magazines, Gospel principles..he LOVES the gospel.

Tuesday we also met a member for the first time from the Elder's old area. Her name is Guadalupe and she's dying because of a softball-sized tumor she has on the side of her neck. She was almost literally a skeleton sitting there on her bed. There were around 20 people there visiting her (she could die any minute) and none of them were members. We sang a hymn to her, prayed, shared a scripture, and what we hadn't noticed was that everyone in that room was crying. Because of the tumor she could barely speak...it was really really hard to make out anything she said but you could tell she absolutely loved us being there. As we got up to leave she said, "When I die, I want my funeral service to be in the church and I want the both of you to be there....tell that to the bishop for me." It was REALLY sad but it was amazing to see how happy she was despite what she was going through.

Wednesday Alejandro had his baptismal interview with our District Leader, Elder Lee but needed a special interview. Luckily, the President was in the stake center so we were able to go with him almost right away. He passed and we headed back out to our area to teach some more lessons.

Thursday morning we started divisions..I went to Juan Estutia with Hermana Tirado (newer Hermana from Tijuana) and Hermana Bennett went to my area with Hermana Taylor. I LOVE Hermana Tirado...she works hard and she's just a blast to be around. She has A LOT of potential and I know that she'll be able to help a lot of the Hermanas here in the mission.
The end of the world...
As we were walking to divisions we noticed that EVERYONE was looking up to the sky. As we looked up we saw it too...I've never seen anything like it...there was a circular rainbow surrounding the sun! It was so strange! People here thought the world was ending...literally. There were people praying in the streets asking God to forgive them of their sins...(it was similar to what happens when there's an earthquake here). Everyone was asking us to interpret the meaning of it, if we were all going to die, etc. At lunch the lady couldn't stop looking out the window begging God to not let anything happen to her family and to forgive her of everything bad she'd ever done. I said the closing prayer, ended, and she panicked and said, "You didn't ask Him to protect us from whatever is about to happen!" So, she made me pray again! And the world didn't end.

Friday we finished divisions and headed back to our own areas just in time for lunch. First off...they forgot we were eating with them so the dad had to figure out what to give us...and he gave us the absolute worst option possible: chicharron en salsa verde. When he handed us our plates I looked at my companion and mouthed, "I'm not doing this...." You all probably think I'm really dramatic...but it is so gross...it's like eating giant loogies...(that's the best way I know how to describe it). I think God answered my prayer because the dad left us to eat alone (that never happens). Hermana Taylor quickly grabbed a plastic bag from her bag, we both emptied our plates into it, she sealed it up, and quickly stuffed it back into her backpack. Just as we finished it the dad came back in and said, "Wow! I didn't know you two love chicharron so much!" I had to act like I was super full so that he didn't force me to eat another plate.
Hermana Taylor with our emergency bag
Later we got a text from Alejandro telling us that he wasn't ready to get baptized the next day. Of course we went right away to his house to see what was up. He invited us in and told us various things: First, after his interviews he felt embarrassed for whatever it was he had done in his past and he didn't like remembering it. Second, he started to search things on the internet and found a lot of anti-mormon literature which brought up a lot of doubts. I have no idea what he went through in his past...but it REALLY effects him even to this day. We talked to him for a while and came to the conclusion that that night he was going to pray and read to know if tomorrow was right for him to get baptized. Satan works SO hard...I can't stand it! One of the hardest things about being a missionary is not being able to control the decisions of others. I have such a HUGE desire to help these people and it is so sad to see someone make a choice that isn't right. I just want them to understand...but it's not that easy. Everyone has their free agency...and that's the worst sometimes. It's hard to explain...but I know that everything happens for a reason and sometimes we can't do a whole lot to change the situation...but God can and sometimes all we can do is trust in Him.

Later that day it rained SO HARD. Within 3 minutes we were absolutely soaked from head to toe. And that's how we had to teach English class. To make it a little better I went to the bathroom and wrung out my shirt and my skirt. Mission life...;)

Saturday we visited Alejandro...and well, he had pretty much decided that he wasn't ready to get baptized. We tried sharing all kinds of things...but it was to no use... Turns out he still has a few doubts about whether or not Joseph Smith is a prophet (thanks to the anti-mormon literature). He told us that he was going to work double-time this upcoming week on getting an answer and that he'd have an answer by Thursday. He used to be a professional marathon runner...he was sponsored and everything! He got paid to run marathons all over the United States and ran marathons in 2 hours and 40 minutes (that's running at about a 6 minute/mile pace). He told us that in those days, if he wasn't fully prepared for a marathon, he would work and train twice as hard to make sure he was more than ready to compete. So, that's his plan...but instead of training for a marathon he's training for baptism...I have faith that he's going to do it! Pray for him!

Sunday Bertha, her daughter and her left-handed son came to church! Alejandro also came at 7:00AM (an hour early) for a priesthood preparation class. Can someone tell me why this guy isn't baptized already?!;) He even showed up in a white shirt and tie for crying out loud! Edith came (she always does). Rosa, Israel and their son Victor also came. Unfortunately, Carlos didn't show and we couldn't get ahold of him...hopefully he's ok!

Overall this week was a great week! I can't believe that I only have 2 weeks left...I'm full of mixed emotions! I think I'm going to go crazy! ;) I love the mission SO much but at the same time I can't wait to see my family!
Dinner with the Lopez family

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