haha... I don´t know whether to laugh or cry these days.... mostly for happiness... sometimes for nerves... but predominately.. overwhelming joy.
This week... was again... just so wonderful. I wish you could experiene it with me... I feel too spoiled to be able to experience this every day... but I´ll take it! :)
The family Martinez was married friday and baptized saturday... and it was some of the most blissful moments.. of my life. We saw SO many changes in them this week as they continued to read and pray personally and as a family ( Just imagine this beautiful family gathered around their little oil lamp in their adobe house at night reading the scriptures... ya... it´s that good.) - we got to spend some really precious time with them... and every day this week... their light and joy grew and grew. It´s hard to remember now how resiliant they were to marriage... and that Berta didn´t want Javier going to church in the begining.... because by thursday night... they were SO EXCITED to be married. I will never forget the closing prayer that Rigoberto offered with us... when he asked for forgiveness... and so graciously thanked the Lord for the opportunity that they were going to have friday and sunday to complete His commandments and progress with his family. ... I wept just a little.
This family... is SO beautiful. They have so little... and now... they have everything. They are SO Christlike... it blows my mind. They don´t have electricity.. .and are always fighting to have the barest minimums... but somehow we always walk out of there with something- with tortillas, oranges, or even Papusas! They are always so eager to serve US... it makes no sense.. but yet.. perfect sense. Time flies SO under that sheet metal roof when we´re singing, reading and talking.... and when we are trying to make our way out of the bushes in the dark... I am always so befuddled by how that happens! I love them SO much.
Their wedding was so simple and sweet... and the ward was really supportive. They were super stoked to have cake... but sincerely more excited to be doing what was right... and with such faith and excitement for the blessing that it would bring! Their baptism was even better....... and I am SO excited to see them in white again. :) They were radiating all through church.. and when we did the baptism afterwards... they were just giddy... and when we saw them last night... they were still glowing. I LOVE IT.
We have other people that are really jumping out of no where... and people that are totally progressing and really on the brink of aqua! We have a baptismal date for the 13th for Oscar... and though he´ll need permission from President or more... I know that it can happen. He hasn´t drunk (wow... I just spend 2 minutes trying to find somet to help me remember that word... drunk... what´s happening?) alcohol in 5 days... and we´re really starting to see the man that I have felt and known is there. The Atonement is SO real. The Book of Mormon has SUCH power... and we are seeing it´s effects every day. (PEOPLE HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!) When he reads it... his desire to drink doesn´t exist... and he´s learning to rely on it every day. He´s assisted 2 baptismal services... and has such a sincere and now manifested desire to be baptized too.
We had talked with a girl with 15 years about a month ago when we were teaching her uncle. We gave her a Book of Mormon and made an appointment to visit her in her house a few days later. When we came... she wasn´t there... but her mom was- a devote menonite. She nicely gave us the boot... and we couldn´t change that. When we saw Joana in the street later... she ran up to us very excited and said, ¨When are you going to visit me? - I LOVE that book you gave me!¨ we asked if she knew it was true, and she said, ¨I have read the bible all my life with my family.. and I know that it´s true. And... I did what it said at the end of the Book of Mormon.. I prayed... and I KNOW! When are you going to visit me?¨- WOAH! YA! Yet... we got the boot from her mom! The plan is to go back to talk to her mom with the Young Women en Excellence program and explain it to her. Random.. but I feel like it will help.
Yet... I won´t be the one returning...because... we had transfers.
I am now sent with Hermana Fuente (I think that´s her name? I haven´t met her yet).... to OPEN PAJONAL!
I can hardly begin to describe the mountain and mixture of emotions that I have with this... and it feels like they´ve all been stuck in a blender on high speed.............. and still going.
First of all... this week we really started seeing even MORE how the Lord is preparing the area for the work. Thursday we met a strong, faithful, and complete member family that had moved to Pajonal. Really... they are supposedly just there for now in hiding (ya... ok... I´ll admit, the gangs here are DANG DANGEROUS... but the manifestations of our protecting angels are a whole ´nother long tangent that someday I´ll touch...) - but truly the Lord has a plan and a hand in all of this. This family is SO excellent... and will be such a benefit to starting the work there.
When we returned to the house of the Exhume familia en Pajonal on thursday... we ended up teaching almost the whole family- 8 adults!! (Random note of mystery: they all look WAY older than they claim to be. One sister we really thought was like, 28.... was 16. The men looked like they were in their 40´s... were 28, 30, 32... WEIRD. BIZZARE. Like we were in a different relm) We spent the morning making tortillas with them... and as we taught they were so receptive and smart- everyone can read and understand everything! Yet... they live over an hour away.. and transportation is hard... so the likelihood of coming to church... was a hope. Yet... as I fasted on saturday that they would progress..... that hope became more of a knowledge and a comfort. So... when we came to church on sunday... one of the brothers- the most devote Jehovahs Witness of them all- was outside... dressed up and waiting for us! WOAH!!!!!! My fast and prayers were SO clearly answered. Jose stayed for all three hours... and the baptism afterwards... and was actively participating in the third house with excellent comments... and of course- he liked it! He said that he was sent by the family to scope it out... and if he liked it... that they wuold all come the next sunday!
Yet... I don´t know if they will be coming to Candelaria next sunday. Because.... with this new assignment that we have... we´re going to start a branch out there. Now that that family is here... and we have a priesthood holder.. and whoever the stake may call out there... we´re going to start having our meetings in a house... whoever is out there.. and whoever we can find! These next 6 weeks are a test. If we´re not successful here... Pajonal isn´t going to have missionaries out there. No pressure... ah! I just have to remember that it´s not ME that is starting the branch...it´s the Lord. I keep remembering the first time I went there... the overwhelming impression that I felt that the gospel would flood this area... but in that moment... I did not think that the Lord would start so soon! NOR... did I imagine that I would be sent as his instrument to start it! I doubt myself...my spanish... my wits..whatever............. but in this... I can never doubt the Lord. I am so humbled and grateful for this opportunity to do something that looks really hard right now. I am SO excited to be up in those mountains everyday knocking every door to really break the news- THAT THE GOSPEL IS RESTORED! - because almost no one there has heard that.
We´re going to continue to live in Candelaria (woohooo! Hour long bus ride each way every day!).... so... there will be 4 sisters in our little house.... - which really makes me laugh! In the last two weeks... our power is in and out.. but mostly out. (thank you for the big candle mom- you were inspired! We couldn´t study or plan without it!)... and now our water is... sketchy. Haha... it all started in the middle of my shower with shampoo in my hair... when... it totally died. So... imagining 4 sisters in this ever so tiny house without electricity or water many times........ makes me laugh... but excited. I feel... a lot of things for this transfer.... but mostly excitement.
I don´t know all the reasons why the Lord is sending this silly gringa to break the ice up in Pajonal.... but I don´t need to know them. I only know that I have been sent... so I´m gonna try to be like Nefi.... and go and DO!!!!
P.S. Can someone hunt down Victor for me? Can someone tell Kyle Gordon or Andrew Bowers to find him, please????
- How is Kyle Brown? Erick- en Singles ward that was baptized with Kyle??
I get your emails- and I´m trying to respond to them... but between time and accessability to the post office... it doesn´t work very well. Anna.. I have a letter for your that I wrote 3 weeks ago... I´ll send it toady hopefully!!
I´m sending pictures of the wedding, baptism, making papusas, ¨downtown¨of Pajonal!